Monday, May 17, 2010

When do you need ideas?

You have a problem that you can solve quite easily perhaps using a routine approach. So why do you need creativity and a new idea? Because the obvious solution may not be the best one.

The obvious solution makes it very difficult to look for solutions that might be quicker, simpler or cheaper. This is what I call 'being blocked by openness'.

Even when there is a routine solution to a problem or a routine way of achieving a task, there is a real need to spend some time in creative thinking to try to find a better solution. You are not forced to do this. But you should want to do it and to invest the creative effort that is required.

Improvements often need creativity. If there is no obvious problem or fault, you do not believe an improvement is needed. Yet a new creative idea can save money and time and provide new value.

Opportunities need creativity. You may need creativity to decide that an opportunity exists when this is not obvious and no one else has noticed.

Even when the opportunity is obvious, a creative approach may be more effective than the routine one. Such an approach would also have much less competition.

In the design of new products, new services and new values there is an obvious need for creativity, yet this is usually applied in a very superficial way.

The human brain is very good at adapting to its surroundings. The brain is excellent at setting up routine patterns. In any organization the most effective people have adapted very well to the culture, idioms and values of that organization.

But that is where the term 'out of the box thinking' comes from. I do not like this term because it implies that the other thinking is 'in the box'. This is very unfair on highly competent executives.

I prefer the term 'main track thinking' for the effective thinking that runs the organization. Creative thinking is then 'new track thinking', which is also needed.

Motorcars need reverse gears as well as forward gears. You choose which gear to use. It is not a combination of forward and reverse gears.

In the same way, main track and new track thinking are both needed. There is an obvious need for main track thinking. There is not always an obvious need for new track thinking.

Although new ideas are usually logical in hindsight, they cannot be obtained through the increased use of logic. This is the nature of asymmetric systems. Logicians and philosophers, who have only dealt with words rather than self-organizing systems, have never seen this point.

The sheer simplicity of some new ideas is impressive. So why have these ideas not been developed years earlier? Sometimes the route to them has been blocked by 'openness' as described earlier. Sometimes a very different approach to the issue only becomes obvious in hindsight.

There is a huge potential for creativity and new ideas. Yet our complacency with existing ideas makes them difficult to achieve.

(Thanks from thinking managers website)

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