Conceptual Change: a “Tool” for Seeking New Ideas in Research

Svetlana Seykova 


This article presents the author’s vision for using the “concept changing” approach as a specific mental “tool” for stimulating researchers’ innovative thinking.

New concepts (or modifications of existing concepts) are ways to distance ourselves from the familiar theories and experience in order to look for new ideas and more effective solutions. Paradigm shift (by T. Kuhn) is a classic example of how the “concept changing“ approach stimulates the creation of new ideas in the area of research knowledge. This approach proves equally fruitful in finding innovative solutions in the area of business, or the activities of social, political and other institutions/organizations. The foundation of the “concept changing“ approach is E. De Bono’s theory about the asymmetry of creative thinking. In this case, it is viewed as a “tool“ for stimulating the creation of new ideas and solutions particularly in social science research.

The author introduces her definition of the term “concept“, specific to the search of new ideas. Following E. De Bono’s ideas, the author briefly presents the basics of the asymmetric thinking g process and the barriers it poses. She reviews the primary sources of ideas for concept changing, as well as a few impressive examples of the effects of the presented approach in research studies. She also examines the key advantages of the approach in looking for more effective ideas and solutions in both science and life.