A Technique to Tap into Your Creative Muscle
Imagination is the difference between the problems plaguing our every day and the future solutions to those issues. Imagination is step one for answers that work.
Imagine that you could work on an app that better informs financial decisions to help users get out of debt; imagine working with technology that helps patients and doctors better manage illness and health; imagine being stuck in the rain with a crappy umbrella and allow the experience to spark the curiosity that leads to a better design – these problems are amazing!
Problems are amazing because of the innovative and creative solutions that often follow. There are so many big, juicy problems out there that remain blank canvases just waiting for the answers to improve the quality of life for us all.”
The problem that often hobbles problem-solving, however, is the “I can’t” mindset, which we all suffer to a greater or lesser extent, she says. It’s the hurdle separating problem recognition and imagination. But if we can get past “I can’t,” we enable wonder, curiosity, creativity and, sometimes, groundbreaking innovation, Patel says.
How do we overcome the “I can’t” mindset? Her I offer a brief summary of my creative- and innovation-enabling process for individuals and teams.
- Believe you can or, if needed, get unstuck. If you believe that you are creative, good. You’re going to need that creativity, so just trust yourself. If you don’t, trust in a process that begins with “Why?” If you’re stuck in doubt and “I can’t,” then attack it with “Why?” – “Why do I feel stuck?” It’s a great device for questioning and can help you understand the root cause of an issue. “Why?” sheds light on a usually irrational belief of “I can’t” and begins to liberate your mindset. The factor causing self-doubt gets put into perspective, enabling you to move on.
- Shift the way you see “The Problem.” The shift is deceptively simple and is similar to how we can get unstuck. Problems are usually perceived to be much bigger than they really are, causing intimidation and avoidance. Be sensitive to this intimidation, and train yourself: rather than allowing anxiety to take root, allow yourself to see problems as an invitation, or challenge, to keep asking questions. See problems as an opportunity to change your mind about what you think is possible.