Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Useful Ideas Concept

This is the third post in a mini series on deliberate creativity.

  1. Creativity and Thinking
  2. Problem With Problem Thinking

One of the creative concepts that I use for thinking I call Useful Idea. This is an idea that I can use that doesn't have to be truthful, make sense or be defended but I use to find a different perspective that will change how I look at a problem or solution. 

For example Jennifer at Goodness Graciousness has a post about Truth and Reality that illustrates a useful idea that as we get older our description of the same item gets more specific and detailed and both our answers and thinking reflect that and limit us. There can  only be one truth.

Next useful idea is that we define a problem with our truths. That is our beliefs, past judgements, arguments, perceptions and methods of solving problems determines how we define the problem or solution we are seeking. 

Example adapted from Edward de Bono's books on thinking.

At a drag race there are 73 racers entered. You are the Marshall and have to determine how many races have to be run. How would you go about finding this number?  Most of us would pick up a pencil and paper and start to chart out the number of matches. However, there is another method which will solve this in less than 5 seconds. If instead of looking at winners we asked the question how many losers would it take to have 1 final winner. The answer is 72. (73-1). There would need to be 72 matches. Also works for an even number of players. A shift in perception of the problem.

Useful Idea: We see information through the filter of our perceptions; our truths. The way we hold and use our truths creates the problem of seeing new ways of looking at the problem.

Useful Idea: A child does not have a complex problem solving methodology based on truths to limit them. They are free to create and use any idea with any other idea and thus easily find new ways of looking at the world and data.

Useful Idea: The ability to suspend the need for every step to be true has allowed a possible new belief to be generated.

Perceptions are the glasses through which we make sense of the world and how we choose to deal with it. If we change our perception we change the problem.

Now we have a possible tool for solving those problems that resist our normal methodology.

Tomorrow we will see if this works.


12 conversations:

Comedy + said...

Those darn rose colored glasses. This makes sense to me, but I've been having trouble with this series of posts.

As the years have passed I have become more set in my ways and my ability to look at things differently has lessened also. Now if I could just look at things without every step being true I'd be well on my way.

Excellent mind tickler here Peter. See you tomorrow my friend.

Peter Haslam said...

Glad you got tickled Sandee :)

Maile said...

"[Children] are free to create and use any idea with any other idea and thus easily find new ways of looking at the world and data."

This line reminds me of a show I heard on NPR (This American Life?) recently, about the stories Children come up with, using perfectly good logic, but based on ... er... childlike assumptions/ideas.

Seems like a useful creative tactic, but I'm going to have to stew on it. You've packed lot of ideas into this mini series!

Peter Haslam said...

To see new things from the same old data sometimes requires a chdild-like mind. Then we can use our logic to see if it makes sense. Thanks for joining the conversation Maile

Random Magus said...

For me communicating and getting along with kids is a much easier process than it's with people my own age.
It's so refreshing when you can just be yourself without any masks...

Peter Haslam said...

Yes Random Magus kids tend not to look for hidden motives and are more open.

Comedy + said...

Had to see what others were saying here.

Cleo has never looked lovelier. :)

Peter Haslam said...

Yes Cleo does and she thanks you for the photo update Sandee. She asked if you could do anything about the old man she has to appear with. :)

Theresa111 said...

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Peter Haslam said...

Thanks for the award theresa111 I will respond in the next week

Best Hair Colorists said...

I'm the product of each individual experiences and choices I ever made. If I was creative at all, was almost born in self-defense. Another really thought provoking post!Thanks for sharing..

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