This is one of a series of blogs on problem solving, creative thinking and creativity to support a number of public and in-house training courses on the subject with regards to strategy and business development. Please let me know ( if you would like further details of half and full day workshops or services to design and facilitate sessions.

There are many books on creativity that will help you develop your creative thinking skills. Here is a selection of my favourites but please let me know which books you recommend:

Techniques of structured problem solving by Arthur B Van Gundy – This was one of the text books I used when I originally studied creativity and innovation during my MBA. It includes a comprehensive range of techniques for use throughout the problem definition and analysis, idea generation, idea evaluation and selection and implementation phases.

Hegarty on Creativity: There are no rules by John Hegarty – For those who want to see how an advertising legend works with creativity. He explores 50 provocations and themes at the heart of creative thinking. It’s nicely written, beautifully laid out and has cartoons and graphics to illustrate key points.

Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity by Edward de Bono – As a psychologist, I have to have this book in my selection. Six thinking hats is also a favourite. 

Best Practice Creativity by Peter Cook – Peter wrote this book after studying the same creativity and innovation course I did during his MBA and before he launched his successful career as a creativity and innovation consultant with an emphasis on music. 

Creative Thinking for Dummies by David Cox – This provides an interesting and fun introduction to the subject. Whilst I would have liked a little more attention on the problem definition stage, it provides a comprehensive review of the main creative thinking techniques.

Creative Whack Pack Cards by Roger von Oech – Rather than a book, this is a deck of cards that provides numerous techniques to support creative thinking. The 84 ideas are organised into decks including explorer, artist, judge, warrior and Heraclitus. The iPhone app (at just £1.89) is good value and includes instructions, images and stories to help you use the techniques.

The back of the napkin by Dan Roam – I reviewed this book back in 2008 and it is an excellent way to learn how to develop your drawing skills for problem definition and problem solving. I also like Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards.

Other books that I have found helped creative thinking include those by Malcolm Gladwell and Nudge by Richard H. Thaler. Others have recommended Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon and I like the sound advice of being an early adopter of Tom Peters’ “creative swiping” concept. And “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Hardcover” by by Ed Catmull will appeal to those who love the Pixar story.

One of my former clients – D&AD – is a not for profit educational organisation that specialises in providing professional development and experiential training in creativity by creative masters for the creative industries. I wrote a review of the art of art direction masterclass a while back