Creative thinking connects ideas that haven’t been used together before. Sounds simple when put that way, but gaining a fresh approach is often challenging. Here are some exercises to help you break out of routine thought patterns with any project.
You’re an alien. You’ve never seen or heard of this topic before. What to make of it? How would your alien culture solve it? Is it a problem, or is it something much simpler? Look at questions as if for the first time. Research related solutions from other fields.
You’re a three-year-old. Ask questions. Think of every possible question you can relating to the solution at hand. Then ask a nearly infinite series of, “Why?”
It’s your best friend’s problem. Pretend a good friend has just approached you and asked for your advice on the matter. Often, when you detach your personal investment in the project, you can see more possibilities.
Use a pen. Put pen to paper and draw, brainstorm, doodle, make notes—flowing ink gets ideas flowing. Writing down your thoughts helps you see connections you might have otherwise missed.
Don’t overthink it. Keep relaxed and open with these brainstorming tips. Planning your approach is like knocking on a door. Ideas will answer.