In search of creative problem solving - part one

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

Have you ever been walking in the woods with someone and they look up and say, "Hey look... a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker".

You then look up and say, "Um, no... Can't see it".

They then come back to you with, "See where I'm pointing, just above that broken branch".

This is what a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker looks like

This is what a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker looks like

You then look a little more intently and say, "Nope, still can't see it".

Then, in a slightly frustrated voice they say, " You see the broken branch, right?"

You say, "Yes". You look a little harder.

They then say, "Ok, to the left and up slightly. See it?"

You reply," Still can't see it"

"Let's move over here", they suggest, and you do.

They then suggest you look up the trunk of the tree about twenty feet and then at the third branch; you shift your gaze about three feet and there it is, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

"Oh now I see it", you say with a bit of relief in your voice,  just as it flies away. (See picture if you missed it)

Creative problem solving, as well as situation analysis can be analogous to that search for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It's all about being able to see the situation and/or the solution.

Let me take a short detour for a moment, but not to worry, we will meander back to the topic at hand. A while ago I wrote a post called "The Lemonade Stand... a way of thinking" (December 10, 2014) offering some thoughts on various frameworks for thinking, such as the 7S Model and The 4 P Marketing Model. Shortly after I posted it, Dave, an associate of mine, asked me "how can you think creatively if you are using  business models that were developed in the last century?" It was a very good question; one that I think the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has started to shed some light on - See, I told you I would bring it back.

 I believe these frameworks are proving the test of time as tools for thinking, particularly in a business setting; where the secret to "creative problem solving" lies is with how you look at the various components of the framework - "How you see". As an example... with "The Lemonade Stand Model", the broadest of the frameworks, we know that the customer is something of great importance. We look at the customer, spend time understanding them, determine ways to know them and ways to see them. We try to put ourselves into a position where we can say, "Oh, now I see it". It's all about how you see within the framework - "Seeing it" leads to understanding and creative solutions.

So now the obvious question is how do you see something that you can't quite see at the moment? Well, like that person in the woods you get someone to help you (either literally of figuratively). Some thoughts come to mind...

  • Put yourself in circumstances where you are outside "your bubble"* - Do something you don't know how to do, meet people you would never meet and literally go see things you normally don't see. This is why I will never travel to an all-inclusive resort again.
  • Read biographies, history and comic books. 
  • Search out experts in fields and disciplines that you have no interest in or would never have thought of. I personally like Chase Jarvis Live as he has guests I would never have exposure to or gain insight from. I have attached an interview with Jasmine Star a famous wedding photographer. Chase Jarvis Live is long format, which means it's lengthy and informative in a way that isn't "sound bites" or simplistic overviews. Sometimes seeing takes a little time.
  • Befriend people who don't think like you, live like you or vote the same way as you do.

As you can see from the title, this is something I am exploring and will continue to explore "in as many parts as it takes".

Let me know what you think, so I may see a little better.



* "Your bubble" in this context refers to your life... the more protected, controlled or isolated it is, the smaller your bubble.