Every day we confront a host of challenges. Some issues are quite simple to resolve, while others are extremely complex, and will test your abilities as well as your spirit as you work to find a solution.
As you deliberate the issues, there are a variety of problem solving tools that you can use to help you properly define the challenge and discover potential solutions.
Normally, there are several steps that you will need to follow in order to be able to come to a practical and timely solution to a complex situation. Solving a difficult problem first begins with investigating the issue and ensuring that you have identified the root cause, and have defined the correct problem.
Once you have defined what the problem is, you can begin to look for solutions. Brainstorming is one popular technique to help you come up with many possible answers.
While some potential solutions may not actually be workable or practical, it is important to try to come up with as many unique and creative ideas as possible during this stage of problem solving. When it comes to brainstorming, it is important to withhold judgment as you and others come up with ideas.
As you think about the issue, try to come up with as many original ideas that you can. Release your preconceived notions and assumptions and embrace your most creative thoughts and wildest ideas.
You never know what ideas may hold the key to providing a truly innovative answer to the problem. Later, you can allow these early ideas to form the basis for more developed ones.
Once you have come up with several suggestions during your brainstorming sessions, you are ready to analyse the potential solutions, using various tools to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each. As you consider the options and potential ramifications, you may uncover additional information that will make it necessary to redefine your original problem and potentially need to come up with a new set of ideas and solutions or modify your existing ones.
Accessing your creativity is critical to being able to come up with fresh, ingenious, novel ideas that will help you solve your most complex issues. So many of us mistakenly believe that we are not “creative types,” but the truth is that each one of us has the ability to create something new, different and bold!
Sometimes, all that is necessary to access our creative ability is to mentally “switch gears.” The following tips can help you enter a more creative mindset so that you are ready to tackle your greatest obstacles!
· Redirect Your Attention. If you’ve been stuck at your desk, or in meetings all day, you may need to literally change your perspective to help your mind relax and be open to creative activity. Take a short walk outside in the sunshine or participate in some other physical activity to increase your heart rate and blood flow to your brain and clear your thoughts.
· Focus on Your Breathing to Relax. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga are all great ways to reduce muscle tension and stress as well as increase the amount of oxygen reaching your brain. As you feel your physical body begin to relax and release pent-up energy and tension, allow your mind to begin to wander and enter its creative state so that you are in the proper frame of mind to begin brainstorming.
· Journaling and DrawingCan Help You to Open Your Creative Mind. If you are still having difficulty switching tasks and getting in the right frame of mind to brainstorm, journaling about your feelings for several minutes can help you release the tension and stress. You might also consider drawing or doodling for several minutes to gently nudge your creative processes into becoming more active.
· Switch Routines. You can continue to build up and develop your creative abilities over the long term by switching up your set routines. Consider taking a class to learn a new skill, set aside more time to devote to a creative hobby, or break up the monotony in your daily routine with puzzles, games and brain teasers.
Stepping in to your problem solving mind is really about learning how to access and balance your ability to think analytically and logically with your ability to free your mind from constraints and traditional ways of doing things and relax and allow your imagination and creativity to guide your thoughts and shape your ideas.
By harnessing the power of both your rational and creative mental processes you are more able to come up with solutions that are groundbreaking and revolutionary, and that produce results that are satisfactory for all parties involved.
We’d love to hear about your problem solving experiences and ideas. Please leave us a comment and perhaps we can swap more suggestions!