Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How to enhance your creativity to solve problems

Each and every one of us is creative in one way or another. There are so many courses out there that shows you how to think creatively. There are simpler ways comparing to use other sophisticated tools to solve problems - and it is proven by academic research.

We are more creative when we think of others
Have you ever has a problem and you ask others around. Suddenly that others (might be your friends or family members) provide you a solutions to that problem that you might not think of before. And it makes sense... Vice versa have you ever have someone approaching you on their problem, and as a third party you are able to come out with solutions to that problem. It's a simple solution, but why can't he/she think of it? 

Why are these things happening and how we can use the principle to get the best out of our ability to become creative in solving problems?

Professors Evan Polman and Kyle Emich has conducted a research to asked 137 undergraduates the following problem:

“A prisoner was attempting to escape from a tower. He found a rope in his cell that was half as long enough to permit him to reach the ground safely. How could he have done this?”

He separates the two groups to:
1. Those who think themselves as a prisoner locked inside the tower.
2. Those who think someone else trapped in the prison.

The result - Group 1 have less than half (48%) of those who are able to solve the problem. Group 2 has one-third (66%) of those who are able to solve the problem.

There are two related studies done by Polman and Emich which are:
1. Asking the respondent to draw an alien which he wrote the story - and which other wrote the story.
2. Asked the participants to come up with gifts ideas to themselves, to someone close to them and someone that they barely know.
Out of these 3 experiments, they concluded that we are able to generate more ideas when we think of others rather than ourselves.

What does this tells us?
This explains why we have always seen people criticizing others - if I run this company I will do this, do that etc. If I were in the position, I will do this, this, this...
But if you put this guy running that company, most of the time he might not able to run the company well. Or someone might complain that others don't know how to run business, but look at themselves. Are they running their business successfully?

These are the implication of this theory.

Ok, that's the theory part. But how to we apply this?
When we brainstorm something, don't think of ourselves and how to solve our problems.
In business we think ourselves as competitor and what would our competitor do next.
Look ourselves as third party point of view and try to solve our problem based.

In 1970, during his death this
book has sold 70 million copies
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill has shared a technique to made a decision. This technique has been used by Henry Ford, J. Paul Getty and Abraham Lincoln (it's a classic book btw). 

The technique is to IMAGINE that you have a group of expert inside your mind. And the group can be your idol or specialize in any area. And you just imagine about these people helping you to make decision or solve the problems that you are having right now. Imagine that you can have Steve Jobs advising you on what are the next product that you wanted to build, how John Gray solve your relationship problem or how Robert Kiyosaki decide on the next real-estate that you are going to invest.

You see, all those techniques are using your own resources but different way of positioning you mind. You just need to think yourself as other person to solve your own problem and you can get better result out of it.

Now let me see what do you think of this by leaving a comment below, and if you like this post, please share with your friends.

P/s: If you are still wondering how to solve the prison problem, he divided the rope in half, tied the two parts together, and escaped.