Are you feeling stuck in a rut or running into the same set of problems over and over? You may benefit from a bit of creative problem solving.
Using creative problem solving can help you shift from an unproductive or frustrating pattern of behavior into one that successfully accomplishes goals. When you run into a thorny problem, try these techniques:
Technique One: Mind Mapping
Mind mapping can help with multi-stage projects, such as planning a vacation, organizing chores or work tasks, or developing a presentation. To create a mind map:
- Write your core goal or task at the center of a piece of paper.
- List key words or phrases related to the core goal. Have them radiate outward from the center like spokes from a wheel.
- Add on more lines as needed, including offshoot lines for sub-categories or related ideas.
- When finished, your mind map will resemble the map of a city, with your core idea (or city hall) at the center.
Mind mapping will help you make connections that might be missing when you try to work through a problem in a linear fashion (such as with an outline or set of instructions). Plus, it’s a great way to see the whole project laid out on one page.
Technique Two: Storyboarding
Storyboarding can help you come up with a multitude of creative ideas quickly while still keeping them organized. It works best with a group. To storyboard:
- Start with three headings: topic, purpose, and miscellaneous.
- Ask people to call out their ideas, no matter how off-the-wall or outrageous, as long as they are positive. (No sarcasm!)
- Write down each idea in the correct category. Use a whiteboard or post sticky notes on a wall. Create new headings as needed.
- For complex problems, create separate storyboards for planning, ideas, organization, and communication.
Why is storyboarding helpful? Breaking a big problem into smaller pieces may make it feel more manageable to your family or team. In addition, zany ideas may create some much-needed laughs, while also sparking more realistic proposals that could help the group move forward.