You have a problem. You gather a group of smart, creative people and say, Let's brainstorm. Together, you bounce around a bunch of ideas, whittling and honing them until you arrive at it: The Solution.
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Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
Putting limits on your brainstorming may seem counterproductive, but it actually helps you get your ideas flowing. The Japanese game of shiritori is an easy way to guide your brainstorming session, whether you're looking for ideas for a new project, book or physical product.
Nearly all great ideas follow a similar creative process, and this article explains how this process works. Understanding this is important because creative thinking is one of the most useful skills you can possess. Nearly every problem you face in work and in life can benefit from creative solutions, lateral thinking and innovative ideas.
Distractions aren't ideal for most tasks, but they serve a purpose when it comes to brainstorming. 99U suggests a simple rule of thumb: embrace distractions when it comes to generating ideas; embrace focus when it comes to implementing ideas.
The first step (always the hardest, right?) in solving a problem is recognising you have one. We're all familiar with the feeling of grappling with a head-scratcher for longer than we'd like. It can take a while to connect the time we've lost staring at the screen with the fact that we're stuck on something and it's time to try a new approach.
Timing can affect how well you perform specific types of work. Similarly, your environment can have an impact on certain tasks. For work that requires brainstorming, consider getting up from your desk.
It can be exciting when you have a eureka moment. However, rather than spilling the beans on your ideas quickly, you may be better off writing them down and giving them some more time to quietly develop in your mind to mature and complete themselves.
While persistence is a great virtue, some types of problems call for solutions that simply can't be developed through grinding. If you find yourself stuck on a problem or creative challenge, switch tasks after 15 minutes to take your conscious mind off it.