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Jul 1, 2012

Creative Problem Solving Techniques

Do you ever need to find some good ideas, or come up with a solution for a persistent problem? Learn some simple problem solving techniques, and start applying them. Choose a few of the methods below, and get in the habit of using them in your personal life and your business. Problem Solving Techniques 1. Clarify what a successful solution is, and that will guide your efforts. In fact, sometimes just clarifying the desired outcome will suggest immediate solutions. 2. Get opinions and/or advice from several people. They might have good ideas, and you'll be sure you're not overlooking the obvious. Also, you clarify a problem when you explain it, and that may help in itself. 3. Challenge assumptions. Are you trying to solve the wrong problem? Do you really need a vacation, or is your job the problem? Don't let your assumptions limit your possible solutions. 4. Break it into parts, and solve the parts individually. Many problems are really a collection of smaller, easier-to-solve problems. 5. Change perspectives. What would the problem look like if you were rich, poor, or from another planet. Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light, which lead to his theory of relativity, so this technique has been known to work. 6. Solve the problems while you sleep. Leave a tape recorder or pen and paper next to the bed for those middle-of-the-night ideas. 7. Write it down, and then find another way to express the problem. Write down all solutions and ideas that come to mind. Later you can pick the diamonds out of the dirt. 8. Try "random presentation." This is a fun one. Randomly pick an object and ask what it might teach you about your problem. A speed limit sign might suggest that you're growing your company too fast, for example. Don't be too dismissive of all the silly ideas this technique creates, as they'll sometimes trigger more useful ideas. This is also great for putting driving time to good use. 9. Look at what others have done. Problems aren't usually unique in every aspect. What have others done in similar situations? 10. Look at ways to cause the problem. Too much stress? Find ways to cause more stress. Over-promise, sleep poorly, be constantly interrupted, leave many decisions unmade, and so on. Each way to cause stress can suggest solutions: Fewer promises, sleep more, don't allow interruptions, make decisions now, etc. The Key To Solving Problems Some of these problem solving techniques will work for you. The key is to get in the habit of using them. Do they require a little work? Sure, but isn't work better than worry?