The Concept Garden - Tools

 In my last blog, I used a gardening analogy for problem solving. This gives a good mental framework for an effective approach to problem solving, but, like gardening, each step is more effective if we use specific tools. Concept Garden is web based software that delivers some of those tools.

The tools available in the initial version are:


Preparation Tools (Study the Problem)

Problem Space: This is a simple tool to allow us to explore what we know about the problem. We can use it to identify what we know and what we think we know; what we don’t know and what we need to know; what has changed; and what does not appear to fit. It helps us to ensure that we know and have evidence for any facts and figures relevant to the problem.

Planting Tools (Ideation)

Brainwriting: This tools helps us to generate a large number of ideas many of which will lead to creative solutions to the problem.

SCAMPER: This tool allows us to generate ideas within the constraints of the resources available to us. It usually gives fewer ideas than Brainwriting but the ideas tend to be more focused on the problem and are often more creative.

Thinning Tools (Idea Selection)

Simple Matrix: This tool allows us to position ideas based on their likely benefit and feasibility. We can then focus in on the ideas that are most likely to deliver our requirements.

Growing Tools (Concept Building)

3 Hats: This is a very powerful tool to help us take a raw idea and build it towards a concept for a solution. It looks at the issues that might prevent us implementing an idea and prompts us to make modifications to get around the issues, without losing the benefits in the original idea.

Harvesting (Idea Recording)

Concept Memo: This tool allows us to record the final concept in a way that will help us to sell it to other people.


I recommend that the tools are used in the order above - Preparation, Planting, Thinning, Growing, Harvesting – but the Concept Garden is flexible enough to allow you to use any tool at any time depending upon your needs.

In future blogs I will look in detail at each of these tools.


Anyone can use Concept Garden for any purpose (as long as it is legal). However, registration allows you to save ideas and move them from one tool to another. Registration is free. I want to make sure that further developments of the software cater for your needs and so your feedback on this first version will be greatly valued.



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