What is the best way to structure a mini framework to answer a Mckinsey Creativity questions

McKinsey Mckinsey Creativity Questions
Recent activity on Feb 25, 2018
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Stephane asked on Feb 25, 2018

I know I have to come up with a mini framework to structure my response. S since there is a ton of possible creativity questions, I am finding it very difficult to come up with a good general approach that I can easily apply/customize while solving my cases.

Thanks in advance for your responses.


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updated an answer on Feb 25, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Stephane,

I would recommend the following steps to develop a good framework:

  1. Recap the situation till that moment
  2. Ask for one minute of time to structure your thoughts
  3. Identify some key MECE areas. Potential division includes: Number of units - Price per unit (eg to identify the components to reduce costs); Current-New (eg to structure product, customers, distribution channels); Financial-Non financial (eg to compare ways to enter a market)
  4. Brainstorm inside each of the areas. Your creativity in this area is directly correlated with the number of cases you have done

I provided an example below:


Interviewer: So, generally speaking, how would you decrease the cost of raw materials?

Step 1: Recap the situation

Interviewee: So, if I understood correctly, you would like now to move to the elements that could decrease this cost. If it is fine for you, I would like to do a small recap and then move through the key elements that can help to do so. At the beginning you asked me what brought a decline in profits. We have identified the problem lays in Product A, and in particular in the cost area. We then found out that the main increase in cost was related to raw material.

Interviewer: That’s right.

(Notice you may have gained 30 seconds of additional time summing up information)

Step 2: Ask for one minute of time to structure your thoughts

Interviewee: Do you mind if I take 1 minute to think about it?

Interviewer: Please take your time.

Step 3: Identify some key MECE areas

Interviewee: Thanks; I believe there are two key areas to decrease the cost of raw material; we may decrease the cost of each unit, or we may decrease the number of units we buy. I would like now to go a bit deeper in these two components.

(Notice that even if you are brainstorming, you are first presenting a list of the MECE areas. This is fundamental to brainstorm correctly)

Step 4: Brainstorm inside each of the areas

Interviewee: Well, in order to decrease the cost per unit we may do a couple of things, keeping in mind we want to maintain revenues at the same level:

  1. we may use lower quality material;
  2. we may negotiate with the supplier;
  3. we may look for someone else as supplier.

In order to decrease the number of units, we may do two things:

  1. we may start to use a more efficient technology for our raw material, so that we have to buy fewer units;
  2. we may also substitute some of the units with other type of materials, ideally cheaper.


Hope this helps,



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replied on Feb 25, 2018

Hey Stephane,

There is no such thing as a best framework to approach McKinsey creativity questions, in fact you should approach is question in a different and tailored way (no standard mini frameworks!!). Thus, think of what's the best structured way to approach them (just think on different concepts that you can use, such as, the value chain, the customer journey, the 4C's, etc).



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replied on Feb 25, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi! There is not single framework. I recommend the following approach:

1) Ask an interview for a minute to think

2) Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible

3) Narrow down to each bucket and generate as much ideas as possible

4) Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

Creativity is in direct correlation with you business judjement that can be trained by solving more various cases with partner / studying various frameworks / reading industry reports / reading HBS cases (google them)


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Stephane on Feb 25, 2018

Thanks, Bruno, Francesco and Vlad for your responses. I now have a better picture how to approach these creativity questions. Thanks

Francesco gave the best answer


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