The Cultivation Techniques are a series of creative techniques that organise and further develop new ideas into a creative work.

Creative thinking techniques are classed as Mixology Techniques or Cultivation Techniques.

Mixology Techniques are used to generate many new creative possibilities. These creative possibilities then need to be pared back and organised if they are to help in the growth of a creative work.

Cultivation Techniques serve the purpose of promoting the growth of a creative work by sorting, organising and augmenting creative ideas.

How do the Cultivation Techniques work?

The Cultivation Techniques are Attribute Listing, IWWM, So What?, Dry Roasting, Why Why Why, 5W1H, Forward Vision and Springboards.

The first four of these eight Cultivation Techniques – Attribute Listing, IWWM, So What? and Dry Roasting are illustrated in the following sections on this page.

The second four of the eight Cultivation Techniques can be found on Cultivation 2

For the purpose of these illustrations, each technique is used to build a section of text for a creative work entitled The Tailor.

Cultivation Technique: Attribute Listing

Each Cultivation Technique acts like a lens, focussing on one creative component through which the creative work could be developed.

In Attribute Listing the creative work is developed by examining different Attributes, each in turn, that a creative work could explore.

The following Attributes are examined in the first chapter of The Tailor: –

  1. The life of a person dedicated to a craft becomes a lens that colours the notion of family, culture and environment
  2. Our understanding of our world – and our place in the world – comes through the history of family and the nature of the activity that supported family. A farmer, a foreman or a fireman could never fully understand the world as viewed through the eyes of the Tailor.
  3. When a person lives by means of fabric, cotton and a needle, it will inevitably frame the way that person makes sense of life and interprets what is happening around them.

These attributes draw out the following passages: –

Anjali came from a family of tailors.  Tailoring had run as naturally as silk thread drawn by a nimble needle through generations of Anjali’s family.  The work of the needle and the loom had pulled her ancestors through crumpled and smooth history across at least five generations – that her grandparents had been able to determine – and possibly many more. 

Anjali’s uncle first arrived as an immigrant in a grey town at one end of a wet valley, which was bordered at the bottom by the sea. A river ran like a silken ribbon along the seam of the valley and into the ruffled salt waters of the estuary. 

Clothing is loquacious.  It cannot help but give away the nature and intent of the person who wears it.  Some clothing wishes to fit in and some wishes to stand out.  Clothing can be confident and determined, it can be hesitant or unreliable, it can be threatening, or it can be warm and supportive.  

Cultivation Technique: IWWM

Each Cultivation Technique acts like a lens, focussing on one creative component through which the creative work could be developed.

In IWWM (meaning: In What Ways Might) the creative work is developed by asking different questions of the specific ideas being explored in the form of IWWM.

The following passages of The Tailor are drawn out through asking questions in the form of IWWM: –

IWWM….an immigrant respond to a world that is completely different from the one he/she has left behind?

With a skill for organisation, and a skin as thick as a cotton canvas, her uncle was soon successfully stretching the family’s tailoring reputation from the higher and wealthier end of the valley, all the way down to the poorer housing estates at the very bottom edge of the town.

‘Damp and cold are the perfect business partners of any tailor,’ wrote her uncle in response to Anjali’s father’s suggestion that there could be more temperate places to settle.

IWWM….a child’s personality be shaped by a narrow and very distinct environment?

From family visits to her uncle’s home and business, Anjali knew that clothes were her friends.  They brought colour and movement and the warm feeling of a hundred sympathetic materials.   When the family gathered to mark the notable and fashionable milestones of each year and of each life, she sneaked away from the body of the family into her uncle’s workshop, where sleeves and collars and cuffs and bodices reached down to her from mannequins and workbenches.  In the background she could hear the river muttering as it ran beyond the brick walls of the warehouse.  It was a captivating circus of texture and colour and sound and feel.

Cultivation Technique: So What?

Each Cultivation Technique acts like a lens, focussing on one creative component through which the creative work could be developed.

The Cultivation Technique So What? encourages a flow of connected ideas that can develop into a passage or element in a creative work. Beginning from a specific idea – i.e. a state or action that is to be explored – the question ‘So What?’ is posed so developing general ideas that provide a possible direction of travel for the creative work.

The following is an example of a passage of The Tailor developed through taking the described ‘specific idea’ starting point, and repeatedly asking the question So What? in order to construct the narrative.

Specific Idea: –

The establishment of the tailoring business, Threads of Arrow Street.

So What?
The family is available to offer the advice and support to ensure the success of the business
So What?
There is a tension between the confidence that Anjali’s upbringing has instilled, and the desire of her uncle to offer advice.
So What?
There exists a tension between taking advice and learning for yourself. Success often comes from the lessons of the past, but creativity comes from the precariousness of the new.
So What?
The analogy that describes how the tough lessons of the past blend with the attractive opportunity of the new.


Anjali was torn by her uncle’s regular visits to Threads of Arrow Street.  Design is about an independence of thought.  She greatly valued her uncle’s support, but his doctrine was always that of firm conformity to the structured business of repair and alteration of valued garments. ‘You will wear yourself out if you continue just to work hard,’ said her uncle on one of these visits.

‘You need to work clever, not just hard.  The difficulty, for a tailor, is in finding and serving a customer. That is always hard.  The opportunity is to get each returning customer to spend more and more, that is clever.’

Anjali was sewing on a button with a bobbin of black cotton for the twentieth time that week, when suddenly her thoughts broke loose and began to run around in front of her.

‘I am in my soul a designer,’ said her thoughts, ‘who sees this grey town and its grey people and longs to bring form, colour and texture to every square and side street.’

She wound the thread tightly around the black button and tied the end firmly beneath the shirt collar.

‘My uncle has the strength and resistance of Herdwick wool.  But this wool of the sheep from the fells with its sturdy fibres becomes softer when it is spun with the wool of the alpaca.  I must find that soft alpaca wool and spin it with my uncle’s firm and resilient business sense.’

Cultivation Technique: Dry Roasting

Each Cultivation Technique acts like a lens, focussing on one creative component through which the creative work could be developed.

The Dry Roasting technique focuses on the raw ingredients the creative work needs to contain, with points-of-departure for a this section of the work being developed from these ingredients

The following is a section of The Tailor that has been constructed using the Dry Roasting Technique, identifying the essential ingredients the text needs to cover and then adding any pertinent creative process to ‘roast’ these dry details into a finished piece.

Specific Idea: –

The arrival of an assistant for the tailoring business

Dry Ingredients: –

  • The essence of assistance
  • The looser rein.
  • Change in the business
  • Consequences of change
  • Unintended Consequences of change


Anjali’s new junior partner, Panya, quickly asserted herself, managing the varying workload and even finding two capable part-time assistants to cover weekly and annual business cycles: the windy weekends, the private functions, the festive celebrations, the parties of the early spring. 

The pressure and worry displaced by Anjali’s new and capable assistant provided further opportunity to design her own garments, rather than rescue the remnants of someone else’s.

‘I need to construct garments from a scribble on paper to the complete structure that enhances the human form and presence,’ Anjali pitched to herself as she sat at the shop’s kitchenette table, a tap dripping effortlessly in the background.  ‘Threads will not thrive unless we can offer a comprehensive tailoring service.’

This thought was attractive to Anjali and, being attractive, seemed correct.

Such a statement is no sooner released into the world, than it is seized upon by doubts and misgivings.  A succession of barriers and blockages surfaced ahead of her

Cultivation Technique: Just Write

The Default Mode Network is an interconnected network of parts of the brain that are dedicated to finding solutions to problems, mixing and combining ideas in order to develop new creative approaches.

There is an anti-correlation relationship between the default mode network and other brain systems, that is to say that when other systems reduce their activity the default mode network increases its activity. In short, the Default Mode Network is in the business of creating those ‘Eureka Moments’.

In order to produce creative work, the Default Mode Network requires an opportunity to present the creative ideas it has formed back to you.

One of the most effective means of allowing the DMN to perform this function is just to start the creative process, whether that is writing, drawing, designing etc.

In the case of creative text, the best thing to do is just to start writing.

How does Just Write work?

The Just Write Glanside Creative Process uses creative techniques to both generate creative ideas, and then to sort and develop those creative ideas in line with the stated creative objectives.

Just Write involves looking through the outline ideas generated from creative techniques, and then writing short sentences or phrases associated or linked to these ideas.

The longer the creative momentum can be maintained when just writing, the better the work that is produced.

If an idea has gone as far as you can take it – for now – then just move on.

With the Just Write Technique don’t worry about the structure or flow or quality of the work produced. The objective is to transcribe the ideas from your Default Mode Network to the empty page or canvas. The development of a formed and perfected creative work can follow later.