Top Tips to
Solve It NOW!
by Joel Saltzman
Like to try a more "creative" approach to solving
your problem or finding a great solution?
Here are 12 Top Tips to "Solve
It NOW!" and get you started on the road to innovation.
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.
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
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?"
PRACTICE PIE-IN-THE-SKY THINKING
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!"
THINK OF YOUR ABSOLUTE WORST IDEA
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" into greatness.
BE PERSISTENT -- NEVER TAKE "YES" FOR AN ANSWER
of saying, "Yes, that's it!," learn to say, "Well, that could be it." Then go
find some more ideas. As H. L. Mencken 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.
REFUSE TO ACCEPT "EITHER OR" THINKING
Or" 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
ASK SOMEONE ELSE
some fresh, new ideas? Ask other people what they would do!
said you had to go it alone.
WALK AWAY FROM IT
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 ...
HAVE FUN WITH IT
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!
from Joel Saltzman's book, "SHAKE THAT BRAIN! - How To Create Winning Solutions
and Have FUN While You're At It!," to be published by Wiley 12/05.
Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator and consultant who teaches people in
Shake That Brain!® and discover solutions for maximum
A former comedian and the author of four Best Sellers,
be reached Toll Free at 877-Shake It! (877-742-5348)
Visit his website www.shakethatbrain.com/wow