Use your creative mind to find solutions

Use your creative mind to find solutions

Having a difficult time finding solutions for work or personal challenges? 

How we think about the problem will make a difference to whether we can find a good solution, or feel stuck. A lot depends on how we define the problem. 

One strategy is to reframe the problem and view it from a different perspective.

Instead of viewing it as a problem, think about it as a challenge: something that you are curious about and that you want to solve to improve things. To generate new ideas, consider the situation from a variety of angles so that you can come up with novel solutions. For example, experiment with combining ideas in random ways and explore the variety of options that become available.

When problem-solving, it is helpful to consider our beliefs about taking risks. If we worry about possible negative outcomes, we may stop ourselves from experimenting with ideas that could provide a possible solution, but that can have unexpected consequences.  So, how can we deal with the unexpected outcomes? One way is to view them as having potential, something that can be an opportunity. 

After having come up with a variety of options, we can choose one of the alternatives. It is normal to feel some apprehension as we don’t know how things will turn out.  At first, there might be a tendency to imagine possible negative scenarios. If this happens, consider how these can help to problem-solve the situation. By using your imagination, you can explore options and anticipate what could go wrong so that you can identify what we need to do to prepare and prevent such scenarios. 

Sometimes we may hold ourselves back, expecting to have some certainty before proceeding. It is not possible to have total certainty, but we can think in terms of probabilities. Ask yourself: How likely is it that the option I am choosing will produce the outcome that I am hoping for?

How can we come up with creative solutions? 

Think visually – imagine possible scenarios through thought experiments. These allow you to consider possible outcomes as a way of testing your ideas, without having to do something concretely for the moment. 

Check underlying assumptions: could there be some beliefs limiting your thinking? For example, as children, we coloured pictures by following the numbers or the lines as expected to keep it tidy.  Are there any imaginary boundaries that are restricting your ideas?

Combine ideas from different fields to create a new idea. 

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” (Linus Paulin)

Use “What if” questions: imagine the situation from the opposite direction, or making it bigger or smaller. What would happen if you added a new element, or took something away?

“The path won’t appear until you start walking.” (Rumi)


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