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QWERTY® is a thinking tool.  It is a staged process that you can use to help you create - or invent - or design - or produce, or simply to do a piece of  work.  The point is, it should help you do whatever you're attempting more imaginatively and more successfully; to do it better.

QWERTY® can be used across a wide spectrum of complexity, from a basic task that should only take about half an hour to ones that will need days, weeks or even months to complete.  On this page, we will look at how to use it for a quick task.  Remember, even the quick tasks will benefit from you thinking before you act, if you want an end product that is effective and interesting.

There are six separate stages.  We'll go through them all below. 

Q is for Question - where you set down what you're aiming to do

W is for Wonder - where you generate your ideas - as many as you can!

E is for Explore - where you blend those ideas into practical solutions

R is for Rank - where you choose the best solution or option

T is for Target - where you plan and produce

Y is for YaY! - where you learn for the future

Stages as a Circle.jpg

QWERTY® is designed to maximise the number of ideas you come up with, then encourage you to combine them into interesting but practical solutions.  You pick the best one, plan the work and execute it (the hard bit) and then review what you have done, to learn for the future and put yourself in a cycle of continuous improvement.

QWERTY® can be used by pretty much anybody, from eight to old age.  When testing it out, we found that children under eight found it difficult to concentrate without parental (or teacher) support.  Older children loved it and steamed ahead.  While we came up with QWERTY® to help children originally, we use it all the time both professionally and personally, so adults can use it too. 


Using QWERTY® can be as simple or as complicated as it needs to be.  The process can take five minutes up to whatever is appropriate for the size of the task in hand.  Below we talk about a five to ten minute QWERTY® for a straightforward task.  If you want to do a more complex task, then there is plenty of advice and examples to be found in our blogs and YouTube clips.  Check out the links to them in the Resources box.

QWERTY® is a simple, but powerful, technique.  You are the only resource it requires.  For a basic project, you could do all your workings in your head.  Alternatively, if you prefer to make notes, then you could scribble it all down on the back of an envelope or a bit of scrap paper or 'go large' with a proper notepad.  If you prefer a bit more structure, you could use our custom paper forms to help guide you through what you need to do.  You could find out more about them on the Forms page of the website, which includes some worked examples.


Detailed explanations of each stage can be found in our blogs:

Overview - QWERTY® A Staged Thinking Plan







There are further blogs that show practical examples of QWERTY® in use such as this one.

If you prefer someone to talk you through each stage, then you can watch clips on our YouTube channel, where we also show you practical examples:

Overview - Creative QWERTY®







“Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” 
                                                   Albert Einstein

Getting Started


Supposing you have a task or a piece of work that should take you half an hour to an hour.  We would suggest doing a Quick QWERTY® of five to ten minutes to help design and plan your work. 

You will probably find it easier if you use a pen and some paper, at least to begin with. 

The following paragraphs describe what you need to do at each stage.

The bullet points of what you do at each stage are in order of importance.  Go down them doing what you can and if you run out of the allotted time before you have considered them all, don’t worry and move on to the next stage.








1 minute

  • Write down what you are trying to achieve in one sentence. 

  • List the kinds of features that the end product must have if it’s to be good/successful.

  • List what things you don’t need to worry about. 

  • Write down any “Wouldn’t it be nice if it had this…”


2 minutes

  • Write down loads of ideas, in one word if you can, never more than a short phrase. You could do it in doodle format if you prefer.

  • Looking at a blank page?  Think of the kinds of features you noted down in the Question Stage.  Write down any ideas.

  • Still looking at a blank page?  Try and remember something that you liked or was important about a similar task.  Write down any ideas.

  • Still looking at a blank page?  Look around where you are right now?. Try and imagine what you see around you being part of your task.  Write down any ideas.

  • Still looking at a blank page?  Stop what you are doing.  The best plan is to do some research online or in books about similar tasks.   Note the time that you will restart your QWERTY. You’re not getting out of it!

  • Still looking at a blank page?  Is there anyone around you can ask for ideas?  If there is, stop the clock and enquire.  Write down any good ideas.



2 minutes

  • Read over your question and remember what you are trying to do and what features it should have.  Get a picture in your mind of what you want to end up with.

  • Read through your ideas.

  • Re-read and select ideas to link up and create potential solutions or possible end products, with all the necessary features.

  • Look at your solutions.  Assess the ideas in them.  Did you select the best ones?  Could you come up with better ones?

  • Could any of the ideas you’ve considered be enhanced to improve the end product? Is there something you could add to make them better, or remove a problem that's spoiling them?

  • Could you construct better versions of your solutions by using better combinations of ideas?


1 minute

Hopefully, you have the option of more than one solution.  If not, move on to Target. 

  • Ring all solutions that have all the features you stated in the question.  Ignore the others. 

If you still have more than one:

  • Tick the one you think has the best chance of working

  • Tick the one you like the best

  • Tick the one you think is the right solution.

  • Tick the most interesting solution

  • Pick the best solution to take forward.



2 minutes

  • Note down all the tasks you will need to do to make your solution real.

  • Draw an arrow between ones that can only be started after another has finished.

  • Write down the time each task will take.

  • Write down all the materials you will need.  Tick all those you have to hand.  Stop the clock and get all those you don’t have.

  • Write down the start times of all the tasks making sure they’re in the right order and you give yourself enough time to do them.


  • As you are doing the work note down when you actually start and finish each stage.


2 minutes

Have you any time left to make it better?  If not, answer the question anyway and ponder if you could have done better with more time.


  • Does it work?  If not, can you fix it?

  • Do you like it?  If not, can you change it?

  • Is it right?  If not, can you make it right?


  • Think about the main features of what you did.  How many out of five would you give each one?


  • Think about using QWERTY®.  How many out of five would you give each stage?


Hopefully, you now have a better product and have learned for the future.

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