We’ve all experienced the satisfaction of finding a solution to a problem when we were not consciously focused on solving it at that very moment. These events are evidence that our brains are in drive—making connections and associations between seemingly unrelated thoughts—even when we think we’re in neutral. It makes sense then that those “Eureka!” moments often happen in the shower, while drifting off to sleep, waiting for a stoplight to change, folding laundry, or listening to music.
Those magical, rare and satisfying moments are a good reminder that, if you forget about focusing on your current challenge for a time, you can generate a list of creative fodder that you can then turn around and apply to the task at hand. And, to encourage those rare moments when a solution appears, it’s possible to teach yourself a few creative problem solving tricks that can help speed up the process.
One of those tricks is Forness® thinking. A Forness® response involves first identifying everything that is good about an idea—things you’re "for"—and then identifying a wide range of "wishes" that could improve the idea.
At Ideas To Go, we often use chindogu to teach the power of this creative and constructive response. Chindogu is Japanese for "a kick in the pants." Ok, I’m kidding—it’s actually a term coined more than 20 years ago to describe a useless invention that seems too weird to be really good for anything. The reason for my very loose translation is that chindogu are a great resource for triggering helpful ideas—just what you need when you’re temporarily stuck and not feeling at your creative peak. It’s a fun exercise, and it results in many more new and optimized ideas.
Need inspiration? Check it out: www.chindogu.com. Choose a chindogu and conduct a Forness® response, listing everything about the idea that you’re for and what you wish for to make the crazy idea better in some way. Then, use your lists—and any other associations they trigger—as a creative resource for solutions to your current challenge. Abracadabra time! What solutions do you see now?
Cynthia Ryan is an Emeritus Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.