As part of the HCT project over 60 people took part in focus group activities in the three participating countries. The aim of the focus groups was to help the partners get a clearer picture of how exactly the target groups of the project, craftspeople and other SMEs, VET trainers and apprentices perceive creative thinking, and to find out how thinking tools and other resources could be of use to them.

It was paramount for the HCT team to understand if creative thinking could help the target groups face up to the wide variety of challenges that the current economic climate is generating.

As well as introducing the concepts of creativity and creative thinking through activities, designed to allow the participants get first hand experience of thinking tools, the facilitators also interviewed the groups in order to understand their working lives, what kind of challenges they are facing, how they currently deal with these challenges and their knowledge of creative thinking as a concept.

Also included in the interviews were a series of questions designed to identify the creative profiles and dominant intelligences of the participants.

Although certain key differences between the participating countries emerged, a number of transnational trends were also identified, these included for example, an apparent difficulty to apply creative thinking to everyday challenges, a tendency to have dominant visual-spatial and kinesthetic learning styles, a need to change environment to improve problem-solving and the desire for support tools in the form of coaching and websites.

However, probably the most surprising result to come out of the focus group activities was the amount of time that representatives of craftspeople and other SMEs and VET trainers dedicate to training and self-improvement. In all the countries involved a minimum of 10% of the working week and a maximum of nearly 40% was allocated for self-improvement activities, both formal and informal, which in some way contribute to personal growth. This indicates that autonomous learning skills are therefore probably widespread in the target groups and this fact is a positive indicator for the current project, which will produce tools ideally suited for unsupervised consultation and application to boost the ability to think creatively.

The results obtained are already being put to good use by the prototype development team, who are working on the transfer of the Capture System methodology to the new contexts. The final product will consist of guidelines for the use of thinking tools in the contexts of the target groups as well as modules for self-improvement for VET trainers to use with their trainees.

The consortium will test the first versions of these tools during the third international meeting of the project to be held in Malta in November 2010.

Capture Arts in collaboration with Steve Williams from Finconcept (external researcher) and Joe Woods from the World Centre for New Thinking (creative thinking expert), with the support of the other HCT partners are developing the content for a number of new workshops that will support the introduction and dissemination of creative thinking within the crafts industry.

The target groups of these workshops will be:

– VET trainers and learners

– Craft workers, apprentices and artist makers

More details on the development of these workshop and information on how to participate will be available soon.

If you want to receive information regarding these workshops please contact us.