Presentation by
Horace Flournoy
By Michael Michalko
“Warning: This Book is for Monkeys”
“Your business attitude determines your potential for innovation,
creativity, even genius, and success in your field.”
 This introductory line in text must be realized throughout one’s
reading of the text.
 Some of the Thinkertoys, or creative execercises indetended to
spark ideas and innovation, can be abstract.
 However, there is a reward for open-minded individuals who
can attack this book with a great attitude.
Monkeys vs. Kittens
• Monkey: takes an active role in ensuring its survival as a youth
• Kitten: takes a passive, “do nothing but mew until its mother
comes and carries it to safety” role.
• Mickalko wants active readers to experience this book.
• “Thinkertoys is designed for the “monkeys,” who are willing to
work on themselves, work to develop their business creativity,
and work on coming up with innovative ideas…and are ready to
enjoy the very real benefits of that work.”
 Book stresses looking at some of the same ordinary things that
you experience everyday in a “new and different” way.
 Looking at information differently will generate new ideas and
unique insights.
 Your future will be shaped by innovation occurring right now,
The consistency of new ideas
 Michalko wants the reader to realize that new and great ideas
don’t always come by chance or through luck.
 Author wants to strip the “mystique” away from creativity.
 Like all other things the ability to come up with innovative ideas
consistently takes practice.
 Therefore, this book is indented for all audiences, not just
people that believe they are creative.
Theory behind Thinkertoys
 The Thinkertoys found in this book are a means to generating
great ideas consistently.
 They train the reader on how to get new ideas.
 “They are specific, hands-on techniques that enable you to
come up with big or small ideas; ideas that make money, solve
problems, beat the competition, and further your career, ideas
for new products and new ways of doing things.”
Theory behind Thinkertoys and
• Thinkertoys only suggest the creative experience, but do not
render it.
• Once again, I believe that the success that comes from reading
this book is dependent upon an open and almost childlike way
of looking at things.
• But, even for the individuals that actually do and use the
techniques, are great ideas guaranteed?
• The answer is…
• But first, we must go back to the first line of the book:
“Your business attitude determines your potential
for innovation, creativity, even genius, and
success in your field.”
 Michalko claims that studies have been made that prove that
creative people are people that believe they are creative and for
the non-creative people that opposite is true.
 In order to bring new and creative ideas out of you, you must
control your mind…
Positive Thinking
• “You can condition yourself to trigger a particular chemical
pattern in your brain that will affect your attitudes and your
thinking in positive ways.”
• In order to do this, one must stop FUDs (Fear, Uncertainties,
Doubts) from controlling his/her life….
• 2 powerful levers for changing beliefs and overcoming fears:
1) The belief that one is capable of doing one’s share and
can exert a certain amount of independence.
2) The belief that there is something inside one that makes one
equal in talent and ability to the rest of the world…
 Both of these solutions have the word “belief” in them…but is
this a disguised psychology book?
Playing with the Thinkertoys
• “You can best profit by playing with these toys, in your own
unique style, to stimulate ideas from your imagination.”
• Maybe one or two Thinkertoys work best for you and while all of
them might not work, the author suggest using a variety.
• Solutions don’t stop at the idea or new breakthrough.
• They must be developed…
Developing Ideas
• Some people stop thinking as soon as they have an answer.
• “But some answer are better than others: They cost less, afford
more status, are made better, easier to use, more aesthetic, are
easier to install, or whatever.”
• The creative minded individual must always be aware that there
is a possibility of a better route or invention.
• Use the Thinkertoys! (Work with one at a time, Select one linear
and intuitive Thinkertoy to take advantage of both sides of your
brain and select a Thinkertoy at random.
• In the case of generating ideas, quantity is better that quality.
• You must allow yourself to come up with multiple ways to solve
• Alex Osborn stated that “The more sights that you take, the
more likely you are to hit port.”
• With all the generated ideas, it is important to sift through them.
Steps to sifting through ideas
• Inventory all the ideas in the sequence in which
they occurred.
• Browse through the list
• Develop criteria for judging the ideas. They
should be ideal criteria
Assumption reversal
• Escape from looking at a challenge in the traditional way.
• Free up information so that it can come together in new ways.
• Think provocatively. You can take a novel position and then
work out its implications
• Look for a breakthrough.
Thinkertoy Example
• Da Vinci’s Technique
• Pg. 263