Last Updated on 11 August 2019

A best practice for creative problem solving is to form an Imaginary Board Of Directors.

The Imaginary Board of Directors is a “…fantasy board of powerhouse business leaders and innovators who will assist you in overcoming your business challenges.” (from Thinkertoys)

This board may consist of any person you admire most, living or dead. The instructions Michael Michalko offers in Thinkertoys to form and use this board are as follows:*

  1. Select three to five business movers and shakers, living or dead, whom you admire most.

  2. Get photographs of your Board and pin them up to constantly remind you of the talent at your disposal.
  3. Research your heroes. Read everything about your heroes that you can get your hands on.
  4. Take notes on your favorite passages. Pay particular attention to the creative techniques they employed to solve problems.
  5. When you have a challenge, consult the members of your board and imagine how they would solve it.

One of the fellas on my Imaginary Board of Directors is Walt Disney. I have admired him all my life.

Others on my list include: Henry Ford, Tom Edison, Al Einstein, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Steve Martin and the McVicker brothers.

When trying to solve a business or marketing problem… I’ll ask myself… what would Twain say? What would Edison do? How would Martin handle this situation?

Who would be on your list?

*Paraphrased from the great book:Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1991. pg. 178