Note from Stephen: This is a guest article from Lloyd Burrell. You can read more about him at the end of the article.
Whether you have a 9 to 5 office job or you are lucky to have a job where you can dictate your own hours and maybe even work at home from time to time, we all go through periods of stagnation. Sometimes its just so hard to get a new perspective on a problem and it seems the harder you work the more you dig yourself in. So what’s the solution? Well here are 8 tips to finding that solution, integrate them into your brain’s hard drive. If you put these easy tips into practice, then fellow workers will truly believe you’re an Einstein, crossed with Bill Gates.
1. Why Mistakes Are Good
Release the hounds and open the floodgates and try and make a few mistakes occasionally. When you strive for perfectionism, open and flowing creativity goes right out the window and it can be a long way down, as well as a long way to recovery. Creative people need to make mistakes. This is how they learn to do something even better. Grab your flood of new ideas, winnow out the bad ones and chaff, and you’ll get a core of strong concepts to have a go at. Set aside five minutes for a free flow of concepts session. Take your challenge for the day, week, or month, and think of as many possible solutions as you can. Do not censor, and afterwards, circle 5 of the best ideas. Pick one, then expand for 10 minutes or so.
2. Practice Alchemy
Be an alchemist and turn lead into gold, or Pb into Au. Do not be bound by any false assumptions or common ideas on any subject. Many explorers never took a chance and sailed into the new world, because they thought they’d fall off a flat earth. A professor gave the future founder of FedEx a C on his paper — which described the concept of a quick package delivery service. Just try and transform limiting assumptions and turn your assumed lead of an idea, into a sparkling gold one. List your largest business challenge assumptions and have a co-worker add a few more things to that list. Put “How can I…” at the start of each sentence. Pick the most intriguing and have a brainstorming session.
3 Its All About Questions
Make sure that the question truly identifies your business challenge. Focus on the real core challenge and not a lot of “splash”. Take that question you are brainstorming and rewrite it 5 different ways. See if you detect a problem behind the problem which has become imbedded in it. Show the newly-worded question to a co-worker and get their feedback. New eyes will see the freshly-worded question in a novel way.
Become fascinated with the question and then the challenge of solving it will inspire you. In fact, being fascinated is often a sign of genius, so follow your enchantment and dig in. Try and maintain this attitude your entire life. This is similar to many adults enjoying something like Disney, even though friends pooh-pooh it and say that’s just for kids. If you are enamored of something, then enjoy it and go with it. If you suspend judgment on something like a problem or challenge, then you’ll be able to proceed. Make three parallel lists: What Makes Me Fascinated; Folks I Admire; and If I Had More Time — What Would I Do? Fill them out and then compare for any connections. Inspired ideas should be circled then brainstormed.
5 Time To Brainstorm
There are plenty of bad ideas and terrible concepts in the world. But, in a brainstorming session — bad ideas can be extrapolated into something better, then the best ones. First book drafts for literature classics may have been just terrible, but the authors worked on them and rewrote and brainstormed until we have our standouts. Occasionally, there are geniuses who can whip off a perfect music score or piece of literature or scientific concept the first time. Mozart comes to mind in the music area. Diamonds began as coal, so think of that pairing as the basic or bad idea and a diamond as the apex of it, after it’s been polished and honed and cut to brilliance and sparkle. Write down the worst thing about your edgy new idea. Then, write down all that’s good about it. Use the most redeemable to spawn 5 new ideas about it.
6 The Power Of Your Imagination
Try a new Halloween costume on for size — not literally, but mentally, so you can become a new persona with a different perspective. See challenges through different eyes. Feel things differently. Think things differently. You may have a creative breakthrough. Pick a celebrity or someone you admire, close your eyes, then think about your business challenge as if you were that person. Jot down anything you think up.
7 Storming The Brain
A lot of people at a brainstorming session will be negative. Use something called reversal technique on them. Get them to find even more ways to trash your idea or ideas. For instance, if the idea was how to increase sales in a certain region, then ask how the group can make sure that sales stay flat. This will shock them a bit. Write down all responses, then reverse the concept to positive, and brainstorm the best of the lot.
8 The Power Of Nature
Mix as many different types of individuals as you can so they can interact, think freely and bounce concepts off each other. Take everyone on a field trip or a walk in the park, that has nothing to do with your business. Ask everyone to take notes. Debrief when you return to the office. From time to time we all get caught up in the humdrum of office life and work, we get stale. But your mind is your number one asset. You don’t have to feel trapped, use these tips to set yourself free.
This is a guest post from Lloyd Burrell. Lloyd enjoys blogging on and around the office theme. He writes detailed reviews on wooden office desk furniture. He reviews both contemporary and modern office desk styles from Bush Office Desk Furniture, Sauder Office Desks, Techni Mobili and other leading brands.