How to be an “Outside-the-Box” problem solver

A solution to a seemingly impossible problem at work may appear by thinking “outside the box.”

This is a learned skill anyone can master, not a mysterious attribute of brilliant minds and cutting-edge companies.To be an outside-the-box problem solver, master these three principles.

Principle #1 

Free the Brain. This means stop thinking about the problem and get some breathing room by participating in a completely unrelated activity—fishing, jogging, showering, or walking on the beach. This detachment frees your brain from the stress being created to find a solution.

Principle #2 

Eliminate Roadblocks. You won’t find solutions with inhibitions, your ego, close-mindedness, fears, and negativity getting in your way. Let loose, and give your-self permission to “get sloppy” and “get messy”—allow discovery to take place without restrictions and prohibitions.

Principle #3 

Be a “Resource and Inputs” Hound. Reading books, studying solutions to similar problems, thinking backward, drawing the problem on paper, and brainstorming with others—all these tactics supply you with informational “inputs” that can speed the way to your solution.

Source: UTEAP FrontLine Employee (August 2014)

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