More than
One Way to Skin a Cat: Adventures in Creative Thinking
How many times have you caught yourself saying that
there could be no other solution to a problem – and that
that problem leads to a dead end? How many times have
you felt stumped knowing that the problem laying before
you is one you cannot solve. No leads. No options. No
solutions.
Did it feel like you had exhausted all possible options
and yet are still before the mountain – large,
unconquerable, and impregnable? When encountering such
enormous problems, you may feel like you're hammering
against a steel mountain. The pressure of having to
solve such a problem may be overwhelming.
But rejoice! There might be some hope yet!
With some creative problem-solving techniques you may be
able to look at your problem in a different light. And
that light might just be the end of the tunnel that
leads to possible solutions.
First of all, in the light of creative problem-solving,
you must be open-minded to the fact that there may be
more than just one solution to the problem. And, you
must be open to the fact that there may be solutions to
problems you thought were unsolvable.
Now, with this optimistic mindset, we can try to be a
little bit more creative in solving our problems.
Number one; maybe the reason we cannot solve our
problems is that we have not really taken a hard look at
what the problem is. Here, trying to understanding the
problem and having a concrete understanding of its
workings is integral solving the problem. If you know
how it works, what the problem is, then you have a
better foundation towards solving the problem.
Not trying to make the simple statement of what problem
is. Try to identify the participating entities and what
their relationships with one another are. Take note of
the things you stand to gain any stand to lose from the
current problem. Now you have a simple statement of what
the problem is.
Number two; try to take note of all of the constraints
and assumptions you have the words of problem. Sometimes
it is these assumptions that obstruct our view of
possible solutions. You have to identify which
assumptions are valid, in which assumptions need to be
addressed.
Number three; try to solve the problem by parts. Solve
it going from general view towards the more detailed
parts of the problem. This is called the top-down
approach. Write down the question, and then come up with
a one-sentence solution to that from them. The solution
should be a general statement of what will solve the
problem. From here you can develop the solution further,
and increase its complexity little by little.
Number four; although it helps to have critical thinking
aboard as you solve a problem, you must also keep a
creative, analytical voice at the back of your head.
When someone comes up with a prospective solution, tried
to think how you could make that solution work. Try to
be creative. At the same time, look for chinks in the
armor of that solution.
Number five; it pays to remember that there may be more
than just one solution being developed at one time. Try
to keep track of all the solutions and their
developments. Remember, there may be more than just one
solution to the problem.
Number six; remember that old adage," two heads are
better than one." That one is truer than it sounds.
Always be open to new ideas. You can only benefit from
listening to all the ideas each person has. This is
especially true when the person you're talking to has
had experience solving problems similar to yours.
You don't have to be a gung-ho, solo hero to solve the
problem. If you can organize collective thought on the
subject, it would be much better.
Number seven; be patient. As long as you persevere,
there is always a chance that a solution will present
itself. Remember that no one was able to create an
invention the first time around.
Creative thinking exercises can also help you in your
quest be a more creative problems solver.
Here is one example.
Take a piece of paper and write any word that comes to
mind at the center. Now look at that word then write the
first two words that come to your mind. This can go on
until you can build a tree of related words. This helps
you build analogical skills, and fortify your creative
processes.
So, next time you see a problem you think you can not
solve, think again. The solution might just be staring
you right in the face. All it takes is just a little
creative thinking, some planning, and a whole lot of
work. |