Before we learn ways to generate solutions in the problem solving process, we will prepare the way for creativity. This module introduces common mental blocks to productive brainstorming, as well as techniques for dealing with the mental blocks. It also presents some ideas for stimulating creativity.
Brainstorming can help you arrive at a solution to the problem, even for problems that seem unsolvable or that seem to only have inadequate solutions. However, before beginning a successful brainstorming session to generate ideas, you must remove any mental blocks. Mental blocks can eliminate great solutions before they are thoroughly examined as possibilities or springboards to other possible solutions.
There are many types of mental blocks. Most blocks to problem-solving fit into the following categories.
So what do you do when you identify a mental block? Carol Goman has identified several structured techniques for blockbusting.
The first technique is an attitude adjustment. To remove blocks arising from a negative attitude, list the positive aspects or possible outcomes of the problem. Remember that problems are also opportunities for improvement.
The next technique deals with risk taking. To remove emotional blocks arising from a fear of failure, define the risk, then indicate why it is important. Define what the worst possible outcome might be and what options there are in that scenario. Think about how to deal with that possible failure.
The next technique encourages you to break the rules. Some rules are important, but when rules create an unnecessary imaginary boundary, they must be disregarded so that problem solvers can come up with innovative solutions.
The fourth technique is to allow imagination, feelings, and a sense of humor to overcome a reliance on logic and a need to conduct problem solving in a step-by-step manner.
The fifth technique involves encouraging your creativity. We’ll look at that in more detail in the next topic.
The creative problem solving process requires creativity. However, many people feel that they are not creative. This is the sign of a mental block at work. Everyone can tap into creative resources in their brains. Sometimes, it just takes a little extra prodding.
Creativity is not something to be turned on and off when needed. The potential for creativity is always there. We just need to learn how to access it.
Here are some tips for creating a creative mental space to encourage productive brainstorming sessions.
Once you get your creative juices flowing, keep them going by trying the following ideas everyday:
Hercules, Bill and Richard were brainstorming new ideas for a business venture regarding real estate. They were surrounded by empty sheets of paper and were close to fighting with each other, until Bill suggested they use the method of Identifying Mental Blocks. Richard and Hercules agreed, and they set out defining their blocks, including those emotional and block of distraction, as well as the cultural blocks they were experiencing with each other. Together, they put aside their assumptions, communicated their difficulties and worked towards a better brainstorming session because of this. All three men were pleased when they managed to brainstorm an effective idea for the future of their joint venture.