Quick Tips to
Shake That Brain!
by Joel Saltzman
According to education innovator John W. Gardner, a creative person
is someone who "will toy with an idea, 'try it on for size,' look
at it from a dozen different angles. ...Unlike the rest of us, they
do not persist stubbornly in one approach to a problem. They can change
directions and shift energies. They can give up their initial perception
of a problem and redefine it."
Like to try a more "creative" approach to solving your problem
or finding a great solution? Here are 12 Top Tips to "Shake That
Brain!" and get you started on the road to innovation.
The more you believe you
can solve your problem, the more you'll keep at it. Know that it may
take some time, but eventually you'll discover one or more solutions
maybe even some extraordinary ones.
2. BE CLEAR
Never try to solve a problem
before you know what it is: Write down your problem in the form of
a clear, precise question and you're halfway to the answer. Then again:
Always pose your question at least two very different ways. For example
ASK, "WHAT'S THE 'OPPOSITE' OF MY QUESTION?"
Remember Tom Sawyer and
the fence that needed mending? Instead of asking,
"How can I do this work?" he asked: "How can someone
else do all this fun?"
QUESTION YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
Make a list of everything
about your situation that you know to be true -- no matter how small
or insignificant it may seem. Now go back and question every assumption
you've made. "Is that really so? Does it have to be that
way? How could it be done some other way?"
5. PRACTICE PIE-IN-THE-SKY
Allow yourself to look
for wild, outlandish ideas -- even if they seem impossible at first.
As Einstein put it: "If at first an idea is not absurd, then
there is no hope for it."
Most of us would go, "That's a crazy idea -- forget about it."
To which Einstein would counter: "Got a crazy idea? Let's take
a look at it!"
6. THINK OF YOUR
ABSOLUTE WORST IDEA
Why worry about
trying to come up with a great idea when it's so much easier to come
up with a rotten idea! Freed from trying to come up with the greatest
idea ever, you might just discover that a terrible idea can be "tweaked"
7. BE PERSISTENT
-- NEVER TAKE "YES" FOR AN ANSWER
Instead of saying, "Yes,
that's it!," learn to say, "Well, that could be it." Then go find
some more ideas. As Walter Lippmann put it: "For every human
problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
Remember: The best way to get a great idea is to get lots of ideas!
Just keep at it.
8. REFUSE TO
ACCEPT "EITHER OR" THINKING
thinking hems you in, limiting your options way too severely. Always
look for a third, fourth, even fifth alternative. Then keep looking
for more solutions. And think of a way to combine solutions.
For example, instead of a gasoline powered car or an electric car,
there's the hybrid car, where two solutions -- gas and electric
-- work together.
ASK YOURSELF, "WHAT WOULD __________ DO?"
Fill in the blank with
the name of a famous person: Groucho Marx, Donald Trump, Madonna.
Or think of someone you personally know and admire. Try their way
of thinking... and see where it gets you.
10. ASK SOMEONE
Want some fresh,
new ideas? Ask other people what they would do!
No one said you had to go it alone.
11. WALK AWAY
Take a walk, do the treadmill,
take a shower. "You go back to it," says novelist John Irving (The
Cider House Rules), "and you suddenly see something that if you'd
been rushing and pushing, you wouldn't have seen." Finally ...
12. HAVE FUN
Let's get serious: Problem
solving demands a sense of fun. That's what loosens us up and gets
our creative juices flowing. Remember: Most of all, problem solving
... is a game!
Joel Saltzman is a speaker,
facilitator and consultant who teaches people in business to Shake
That Brain!® and discover solutions for maximum profit.
A former comedian and the author of three Best Sellers, he can be reached
Toll Free at 877-Shake It! (877-742-5348)
Visit his website www.shakethatbrain.com/wow