Ideas are the currency of the 21st Century.
Learning to create, cultivate and communicate innovative solutions is one of the tasks at hand for leaders of today and tomorrow. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, it’s never too late to develop or improve on ways to grow and share your ideas. Here are three of our favourite tips for creative problem solving.
1. Zoom out and consider all angles
Consider the perspectives of those experiencing the problem you are trying to solve. What are their hopes? What are their needs? Empathise with their current experience, and look at all angles for possible solutions. The first idea may not be your best! Try all solutions on for size with your team. Imagine the possible outcomes, and be prepared to let some ideas go. Even solutions that fall short will teach you something new.
2. Go for quantity over quality
…at first. When brainstorming, give time and attention to capturing as many ideas as possible, even those that seem ridiculous. Some of the best solutions and innovations have come out of seemingly wild ideas. Did you know the first invention of the car was at first ridiculed and considered impractical? Who’s driving that criticism now?
3. Swap those words
Been in a brainstorming session with someone who points to the problems in everyone’s ideas? Perhaps you are that person. Try swapping words. When ideas are being thrown around, try replacing ‘but’ with ‘and’. While ‘but’ shuts an idea down, ‘and’ gives ideas some room to grow. The bonus? Everyone in your team feels validated, positive emotions follow and creative burstiness hits a peak!
The next time you’re tasked to find a solution to a tricky problem, remember: think outside the box, capture all ideas, and embrace the “and”. You’ll be amazed by the creative solutions that follow!
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