Practical Tools and Wise Quotes on All Matters Creative

| Menu | Share | Search | Settings |

The Kipling method (5W1H)


Creative tools > The Kipling method (5W1H)

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use the Kipling questions at any time or when you need to get an extra stimulus.

They are good for unsticking creative session, when people dry up and run out of ideas.

They are also useful to help take different views when defining the problem.

You can also use it to ask questions when selecting an idea to carry forward for further development.



X          Long



  X        Psychological



X          Group


How to use it

Rudyard Kipling used a set of questions to help trigger ideas and solve problems and immortalized them in the poem:

I have six honest serving men
They taught me all I knew
I call them What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who

These questions can be used as stimuli to get thinking going in many situations.

Ask a question

The simple approach is to take one of the questions, either at random or with a more particular purpose in mind and ask it of the situation.

Thus, for example, if you were organizing an office party, you might ask 'Why are we having it? How much fun do we want? What music do people like? Who will come?' and so on.

Extend the questions

You can also extend the use of the raw single-word questions into question phrases, for example:

  • How much?
  • Why not?
  • What time?
  • Which place?
  • Who can?
  • Where else?
  • When ?

Ask a planned sequence of questions

One approach with this is to use the questions in a particular order to help guide you through a sequence of thought towards a complete answer, such as:

  • What is the problem?
  • Where is it happening?
  • When is it happening?
  • Why is it happening?
  • How can you overcome this problem?
  • Who do you need to get involved?
  • When will you know you have solved the problem?


  • What is the problem? My suitcase is too heavy
  • Where is it happening? At the airport
  • When is it happening? In the evening, coming back from France
  • Why is it happening? Because I have bought wine
  • How can you overcome this problem? Get the wine shipped
  • Who do you need to get involved? Winery will do it for me
  • When will you know you have solved the problem? When it arrives at home

How it works

Any questions work because we are conditioned to answer questions that we are asked. They challenge us and social rules say it is impolite not to reply.

The Kipling questions work because they are short and direct. They are also largely general, and 'What' can be applied to many different situations, making them a flexible resource.

See also

Assumption Busting, Challenge, Provocation, SCAMPER, Why not?



Site Menu

| Home | Top | Settings |

| Tools: | All | Definition | Ideation | Selection | Implementation |

| Full Book! | Articles | Quotes | Quoters | Links | Settings |

| Contact | About | Students | Feedback | Changes |

| Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |


And here's our book:

How to Invent (Almost) Anything
Now FREE Online

Order in the UK
Order in the USA
Order in Canada


Please help and share:

| Home | Top | Menu |

© Changing Minds 2002-2015
Massive Content -- Maximum Speed