Innovative ideas don't usually come overnight in the heat of a eureka moment. It usually takes hard work, but sometimes it's easy to get stuck on something and have no place to go with it. When that happens, Psychology Today recommends you explore solutions you know are wrong.
Photo by Jason Evans
It might sound counter-intuitive, but when you're trying to solve a problem it's worth digging into the reasons why a solution isn't working. Psychology Today explains the process:
For example, you could explore a possible resolution to your challenge that you already know is definitely wrong, and yet explore that path in great detail. The point is that studying a solution that you know is mistaken or will not work is definitely an action that you are able to do. Now you could isolate each mistaken feature of that erroneous 'solution' and carefully examine exactly why it is wrong.
If you were as specific as possible in where the defects lie, you would force yourself to be clearer and more insightful about the situation at hand. The mistake is directive, it forces you to think more clearly about correct approaches and often forces you to confront the sticking point of the whole issue.
The idea is not just to learn from mistakes. It's to open up those false solutions so you can exploit them and find an innovative workaround. If you're ever stuck on something, whether it's a personal problem or a professional one, it's worth the time to dig into false solutions to see what comes out.
Inevitable Genius [Psychology Today]