Have you ever had the experience of thinking about a problem all the time, so that you can’t even sleep because it won’t let you go, even in the middle of the night?
The problem is too complicated. Each time one door to a solution starts to open, another two doors are closing.
The solution seems near, but every time you think it through it slips away…
You are starting to get a headache from thinking about it!
Sound familiar? I've been there often enough.
And yet, I would argue that you can overcome this hurdle with a time investment of only 5 minutes! Seriously - that should be plenty. As I'm working on the materials for my workshops, I wanted to share this concept with you.
The big hurdle is the way we typically approach the problem-solving process. I call this your design brief. The design brief is the way you help yourself understand your issue. Without understanding your problem clearly, the solution will be hard to find.
Very often we adopt a single-sensory approach. For example, you only think about the problem or only talk about it. By restricting yourself to a single sense, you limit the number of possible avenues to a solution.
According to a study by the educational psychologist, Richard E. Mayer problem solving can be enhanced by using a multi-sensory approach.
In the study, Mayer found that a group of participants who receive a multi-sensory design brief (visual, verbal, hands-on and connected to more than just a screen) will create 50% more creative solutions to a problem-solving test than a group who receive a single-sensory design brief.
So how can you put this insight to work on your own problem?
If you are struggling to solve the difficult problem that keeps you awake at night, stop just thinking or talking about it. That's single-sensory input for yourself.
Instead, by taking a piece of paper, writing your thoughts down, drawing some connecting arrows or creating a diagram, you can create a multi-sensory design brief for yourself. This will dramatically increase your chances of finding a creative solution to your problem.
By going through this process, you are creating a multi-sensory design brief and therefore enhancing your problem-to-solution process.
It's surprisingly easy to trick yourself into this mode and switch on creative connections in your brain. The crucial part is getting your thoughts out of your head. Quickly.
If you struggle to find a workable solution the first time you try this, don't worry. The habit of doing it more often will help you over time!
If you would like to learn more about this and other visual tools and get my help in putting them into practice, you can join me in one of my next public workshops. They will be hands-on, practical and full of applied learning.
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