This article is about one of the keys to creative problem solving.
It starts with an understanding that the best problem solvers and idea developers, know that most questions have more than one correct answer.
For example, if your question is; how can I write upside down, using a pen and a pad?’, there are lots of correct answers.
- You could spend weeks, months or maybe years, learning how to re educate yourself, so that you can write upside down.
- You could simply turn your writing pad upside down and write normally. Then, as soon as the pad is turned the correct way, your writing will appear upside down.
- You could grab a pen and write the words ‘upside down’ on your writing pad. This is a play on words, but it’s still a possible answer.
All those answers are correct, depending on what you want to achieve.
- If the reason for asking that question, was to learn a new skill, then the first answer is what you are looking for.
- If the reason for asking that question, was to find the fastest way to solve the problem of writing words that appear upside down, then the second answer works.
- If the reason for asking that question, was to develop a party trick, then the third answer is what you need.
Creative and traditional problem solving
Creative problem solvers search for as many answers as they can find. They then determine which answer is the most valuable to them.
Typical problem solvers look for THE correct answer, as if there were only one. When they find it, they stop looking. The challenge with this approach, is that the first correct answer we find is not always the best answer. It’s just AN answer.
Problem solving tip
Once you have clearly defined your question, keep looking for answers. Aim for at least 5 possible answers. 10 is even better. Then, evaluate the answers and determine the one you believe to be most valuable.