When you’re struggling to come up with fresh ideas, there are some simple tricks to help you step out of your comfort zone and think in an innovative way.
1. Ask a child what they would do.
With their vivid imaginations, kids are natural innovators.
2. Simplify it.
If you think your problem is too complex for a child to understand, take some time to figure out how to explain it simply. Richard Feynman, the late Nobel Laureate in physics, is attributed with saying, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t really understand it.” Sometimes the very act of figuring out how to explain a complex problem in simple terms results in an innovative solution.
3. Ask “What would I do differently if I were starting from scratch?”
Routine is the enemy of innovative thinking, but so is precedent. Sometimes, we struggle to shift away from the way we’ve always done things. Imagining a clean slate can help you change perspective and think outside the box.
4. Ask why.
Most of the pushback we get—whether from management, colleagues, or our own brains—comes with a simple phrase: “That’s how we’ve always done it.” We’re hardwired to resist change, especially when what we’ve been doing has been working okay, if not spectacularly. When the routine is the roadblock, “why” is the battering ram. Asking “But why have we always done it that way?” can reveal flaws and make way for creative thinking.
5. Flex your brain muscles.
Psychology Today suggests a few surprising exercises that can get your brain unstuck when you’re trying to think outside the box.
Write a word or phrase. Draw a circle around it. Draw a branch and a related word or phrase. Circle that. Repeat. The practice unlocks ideas. It looks like this.
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Culled from: Grammarly.