Concept Fan

Concept Fan

When trying to think of new ideas and solutions to problems it is very tempting to go with your first ideas. However, first ideas are not always the best. Edward de Bono developed the 'Concept Fan' technique for taking a step back to get a broader perspective and thereby a new view of the subject, what you want to achieve and new ways of solving the problem.

Concept Fan:

1. To start a Concept Fan, draw a circle on a large piece of paper (A3 paper or White Board), just right of centre. Write the problem you are trying to solve into it. To the right of it radiate lines representing possible solutions to the problem. As shown in Figure 1 below.

2. It may be that the first ideas generated are impractical, unremarkable, or do not really solve the problem. If this is the case, take a 'step back' for a broader view of the problem. Do this by drawing a circle to the left of the first circle, and write the broader definition into this new circle. Link it with an arrow to show that it comes from the first circle as  in Figure 2.
3. Use this as the starting point to radiate out new ideas as in Figure 3.

4. If this does not give you the idea you are looking for then repeat the process and take another step back as in Figure 4.