Substance-Free Mind Expansion: A Key to Innovation and Problem Solving
17th June 2010
... Comments

A key strategy for problem solving or innovation is to build on someone else’s idea. Sometimes it’s simply about developing that idea in another direction, other times it’s about a novel application of the idea, inserting it into a different context. That is when things get really interesting.

Using the input of others  is one form of provocation. A usage of the word framed by Edward de Bono; provocation is about having something from outside of your frame of reference, your tram-lined thinking, cause you to see things differently. It’s crucial for overcoming blockages and gaining insight into problems and challenges, ending up with a good problem statement as well as arriving at novel solutions to the problem.

Do Things that You Would Not Normally Do

How can you do this, provoking your thinking, to gain the greatest impact on your creative thinking?

One way is to pre-empt the need by regularly feeding your mind with diverse experience. A kind of substance-free mind expansion!

Become an eclectic ideas scavenger. Do things that you would not normally do. Visit exhibitions and galleries you might otherwise not visit. View different TV programmes than is your normal diet. Read books and magazines on a wide range of topics. Devour blogs – how about a blog of the day. The list  is virtually endless.

Each of these will broaden the input to your mind, which in turn gives your mind more to work with and changes your perspectives, a kind of pre-emptive provocation.  All of this can be drawn on when problem solving because you will have a have broader, richer experience based on other people’s insights and creativity.  By definition this will not be in line with your normal thinking and will enable you to find different solutions than might otherwise have been the case.

Substance-Free Mind Expanison

One of my Tweeting and blogging strategies is to contribute to this richer tapestry of insight by pointing to other people’s insights and developing an eclectic mix of experience. In this blog I want to point you to an amazing video interview with Krysia D. Michna-Nowakan, an artist who gives insight into her background and motivation, for instance why she paints cats instead of vases full of flowers. She also demonstrates her favourite artistic technique.  It is a captivating, moody video well worth 20 minutes and and a cup of coffee.

The video happens to be made by a friend of mine, Chris Rees, who does all sorts of creative, design and development new media work at Zone1Media. It’s not shown to give him a plug nor simply because it is a superb video but because it offers entrancing  insights into a world that most of us would never see.  So get that coffee and enjoy….

The Video

For more on creative thinking, problem solving and innovation see The Creative Leader


Popular Categories