Trick your lazy brain
Our brain’s main goal is to think as little as possible. And that’s good. Unless, of course, you are faced with a tough challenge. In that case, you need to know how to trick your lazy brain.
Our lazy brains
Our brains are lazy. The brain’s main goal is to think as little as possible. To make this possible, the human brain is an expert in cutting corners. The second you recognise a familiar pattern, your brain jumps to conclusions. If A, then B. Less likely possibilities are ignored. As I have pointed out before, this capability of recognising familiar patterns and making split-second decisions saves a tremendous amount of time in our daily lives. If you would always take all possible alternatives into account, the most insignificant tasks would become almost impossible to complete. We are often much better off operating on autopilot. Often, but not always.
When creativity is required
If you are looking for creative ideas, for instance, because you are faced with a particularly tricky problem, then ignoring out-of-the-ordinary possibilities in favour of obvious approaches is highly unproductive. The very essence of tricky problems is that they cannot be solved by applying obvious tactics.
No, difficult challenges require something special. They require an unusual approach. They require creativity.
And creative ideas in their turn, require you to break free from the fixed patterns your brain loves so much. Being aware of this is the first step, but won’t necessarily result in brilliantly original ideas. For that, a little more effort is required. You have to actively change your perspective.
But how do you go about changing your own perspective? How do you break free from the thinking patterns you usually fall back on? For this, you use tricks. Tricks to force your brain to abandon its go-to move. Tricks to prevent yourself from looking in the obvious directions. We’d like to call these tricks ‘thinking techniques’.
There are many different thinking techniques which can help you to generate more creative ideas. You could, for instance, choose to let a random image guide you. You could also try to apply a rule out of context, or even look for the hidden wisdom in a random proverb.
Whatever thinking technique you happen to choose, always make sure you only apply it AFTER clearing your brain with a good old ‘Braindump’. Nothing clears out a brain filled with obvious ideas better than vigorously writing them down.
But …this is a hassle!
I agree. Looking for the right thinking techniques to fit your challenge, picking one (or more) that suit(s) your needs and remembering (or looking up) the steps… For crying out loud, can’t someone make this all a bit easier, or at the very least less time-consuming?
Way ahead of you. Over the years, we’ve heard many team managers grumble over their struggles to create productive brainstorm sessions. They rarely succeed. Preparing and organising even a small problemsolving session is often frustratingly time-consuming. And even a well-prepared session, and let’s face it; they rarely are, is hardly ever productive. Without structure and guidance, most brainstorms are glorified meetings. This needs to change.
That’s why we created Brightstorming; the smart way to brainstorm. Brightstorming has a database filled with the wonderful thinking techniques described above …and many more. It asks you some simple questions to understand the context of your situation and, based on your answers, it generates the perfect brainstorm program for your specific challenge. This way, not only do you get a structured, tailored and guided brainstorm-program that fits your needs, it also takes you less than 30 seconds to set it all up!