Tag Archives: thinking outside the box

How does one disrupt thought patterns?

Free thinking

Does one need to empty their mind to allow new thoughts?

This week we are being challenged by the topic Perturbing Thoughts and how to disrupt our well-established mindsets that seem to dictate so much of our everyday lives. Let’s face it, us humans are creatures of habit, whether it be the route we take to work, where we sit in a lecture theatre or the camp site for our  annual  holiday.

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The road ahead may not be clear but it is the road less travelled.

Of course there may be practical reasons for why we adopt such predictable behaviours but when it comes to finding new ways of  creative thinking and being open to innovative actions; there needs to be a disruption to our usual thought patterns. Easier said than done, I hear you say.

Edward De Bono’s research which produced The Six Hats of Thinking strategy offers some insights into our own ways of thinking and how we can adopt a different coloured hat or bring in others to obtain the missing thought processes to come up with workable solutions and ideas. Being a “blue hat” myself which involves being focussed and keeping the process on track means that I may overlook some other processes that can prove useful.

Since starting this voyage of self-discovery, I have been bouncing different thoughts off my husband. He doesn’t consider himself creative in any way and likes to keep busy with manual work. But his thoughts are not contained like mine which unwittingly have been moulded into the “status quo”. It’s not that I’m not creative but rather I park some ideas to the side while I deal with everyday business of life and work.

Driving home the other night, my husband and I, were discussing lateral thinking and adopting a different approach to solving problems. Living in country areas or semi-rural locations, has created a conflict with wildlife and motorists trying to share the same space. Sadly, this often results in road trauma for our native animals and increased risk  to drivers.  Down our country lane lives four giant wombats who cross the road at night and can be rather difficult to see when they step out from the side of the road. We have lost one large  male this week.

My husband made the suggestion that maybe we should paint the wombats with “high-vis” orange paint so motorists could see them better. I was ready to dismiss this silly idea but then I realise without such thoughts how can one proceed to the next step of formulating a solution to such a problem. His other idea was to fit some sort of sonar device to vehicles to deter wildlife. I’m not sure, but I think there is such a thing in Scandinavia to warn off wild deer.  Our exchange also highlighted to me the need for more than one thinking hat to successful problem solving.

Living on 25 acres, also requires some lateral thinking as well. It is not big enough for large-scale farming so I am trying to think in practical and creative ways to use our land. Exposing myself to new ideas and concepts through alternative farming practices which encompass organic approaches and land management, has been a valuable experience because I add to my knowledge base and network with many other people on small acreage.  This will be a long-term joint project with my “outside the box” thinking husband. Hopefully, it may help disrupt my thoughts in a perturbing way!

 

 

 

 

 

Who wants to be creative?

 

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Don’t let the sun go down on a good idea!

What does it mean to be creative and innovative in a world that is undergoing unprecedented technological change? Why do I want to be creative? I have long understood that creativity extends well beyond literature and the visual arts to encompass a way of thinking that brings about ideas that can be converted into solutions and as a means of tackling previously unthought-of innovations.

As a writer, avid reader and enthusiastic photographer, creative thought is constantly at the forefront of my mind. But how many opportunities do I miss when I fail to act upon those promptings.  Thinking about creativity in the workplace, I have witnessed many inspired ideas, even offered some of my own, which get no further than the last minutes of a group meeting. During my employment with a large not-for-profit over six years, I needed to be open and creative in my thinking, if our mission to help disadvantaged individuals and families achieve positive pathways to better lives was to be fulfilled. Not an easy task!

Watching innovation guru Steven Johnson’s animated clip Where do good ideas come from?” got me thinking about the processes involved. One thing that clearly stood out for me was the need for collaboration to help to fill in the missing gaps in our creative thinking. Being in a vacuum is not much help to fulfil your purpose.  Johnson makes the comment about a “historic increase in connectivity” which is bringing more people together from a wider sphere and more opportunities to share ideas. There is also the aspect of where or the environmental factors that offer a conducive space to create. Staring at a blank screen at my office desk rarely sparks my imagination but transport me elsewhere where my senses can be stimulated and shared with others, may be the genesis of  a brilliant idea.

There is no doubt that that we will see monumental changes in the near future as to how we work, live and play. We can adopt the doom and gloom attitude or embrace the chance to change things in clever and meaningful ways. One of the challenges I see is to ensure that in this race towards new innovations that we do not leave the vulnerable behind. Hopefully, as I explore this subject in more depth, I will be part of the solution not the problem

 

Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. 

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi