Existing
ideas and patterns of thought can make it very difficult to think of
new ideas and approaches. Fractionation is a technique developed by Edward de Bono to break up an
existing idea or pattern into parts so that the parts can be rearranged
and spark new ideas and approaches. For example if the subject is the design of an apple picking machine.  Then the fractions could be:
 reaching
 finding
 picking
 transporting to the ground undamaged apples
 The fractions can then be reassembled:
 Reachingfindingpicking (then substitute shaking the tree for all three)
 Reachingundamaged
applestransport to the ground (then come up with elevated canvas
platform which could be raised towards the apples)
 Other fractions might be:
 contribution of tree to apple picking
 contribution of apples
 contribution of machine
 Reassembling these could lead to the idea of growing a tree in a special way that would make it easier to pick apples.
Practice Suggested subjects:
 Unloading ships in a harbour
 Restaurant meals
 Catching and marketing of fish
 Organization of a football league
 Building a bridge
 Newspapers
 Collect separate fractionation lists from the students
 If there is time analyse the results in terms of the most popular fractions
 Read out the lists and comment upon the most ingenious
 The purpose is to show the variety or uniformity of the aproach
 Reassembly:
 From the fractionation lists extract small groups of two or three fractions.
 The Students are then asked to put them together again to create a new approach to the situation
 Picking out fractions
 Students
are asked in turn to suggest a fraction until there are no new
fractions (overlap does not matter  ask for the participant to explain
the difference)
 Working backwards
 This is really a game but gets people thinking.
 Take
a group of fractions created by a different group. Ask the current
group to guess what the subject was. (obvious references to the subject
are deleted and replaced with a blank)
 Two unit division
 Each participant is asked to divide the subject into 2 fractions.
 The end results are then compared
 You are looking for a variety and new approaches
 Sequential two unit division
 A subject is given and one participant is asked to divide it into two units
 Then another participant is asked to divide one of the units into a further 2 fractions
 The purpose is to show that it is always possible to divide the unit.
