How many non-uses of a paper-clip can you think of? Most people find this quite hard which shows they are not fluid at activating the right side of their brain. This is a lateral thinking task because you have to get off the track of thinking of actual uses of a paper-clip. This tests how random you can be.
The task is actually quite easy since there are actually very, very few uses of a paper-clip; to clip paper together and to eject stuck CDs from computers. Almost anything else will do, except people find it so, so difficult! You can’t fly to the moon on a paper-clip. You can’t marry a paper-clip. You can’t use a paper-clip to teach snails quantum physics. One of the reasons people freeze up and can’t think of anything, especially in groups, is that someone has said something clever, witty or particlularly good so now they have to compete with that. No. When generating ideas you do not compete with anyone. The point is not to outdo one another or try to be funny or clever. The point is to come up with ideas.
You cannot use a paper-clip to solve world povety…. hang on, perhaps you can. If we do this…. and this… and suddenly a brave new idea has been found that changes the world. And all because ‘judgement’ such as ‘that won’t work, that’s stupid’ has been turned off. Try it yourself.