A systematic way to get genius ideas.
Getting excellent ideas consistently can be hard. The “20 ways thinking technique” is a practical way to continue to get new ideas. It is based on the observation that the act of thinking requires a lot of energy. Therefore, your brain develops automatic thinking patterns when faced with a problem. Getting new and original solutions for problems is therefore difficult.
The 20 ways thinking technique is a quick way to bypass these mental barriers and works as follows:
- Define your problem as a question on a blank sheet of paper (For example, how can I speed up my most important project?)
- Write down and number all the possible solutions to this problem.
If the problem is significant, the first 5 to 10 solutions you write down will be obvious, because they are generated spontaneously by the conscious mind.
Solutions 10 to 15 will be difficult because they require hard thinking and force you to create new associations. Your initial instinct is to give up and name a solution you already wrote down as the ideal solution. Don’t give in to this instinct and continue.
Solutions 15 to 20 are tough to get. However, force yourself to continue until you have written 20 solutions on paper. Oftentimes, the breakthrough insights and the creative ideas will be found in the last 5 solutions.
If you have used the 20 ways thinking technique, pick your best solution. Criteria could be ease of implementation, risk, cost or impact. Then, reformulate the solution into a new question (how can I…?). Perform another 20 ways exercise based on this question and you will be amazed by the quality of the new ideas.
Paul Rulkens is an expert in high performance: the art and science of achieving bold goals with the least amount of effort. More successful ideas, including his popular TEDx talks, can be found on www.agrippaci.com
With love for Researchers,
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