Crowdsource Your Creativity

For many people, this is the time of year for Spring Break road trips.  When traveling with young children this can be especially stressful as parents hear screams from the back seat like: “Stop Touching Me!!!” and “Mom, Alex keeps looking at me!”

Nowadays parents often resort to various electronic distractions to reduce the wear-and-tear that road trips inflict on young families (guilty as charged).  Last week some friends decided to buck the trend and posted this to Facebook:

ROAD TRIP!!: 938 miles, two young kids, two optimistic adults.  We’re going “unplugged.”  No iPads.  No phones.  No portable DVD players.  Just 14 hours of forced family fun.  Wish us luck!!

How hard could it be?  Gadget-free trips were the norm when we were kids, right?  That night I saw this post to Facebook:

HELP!! We are on a road trip and traveling with no “screens”.  We thought we had plenty of gadget-free games but we ran out at the half-way point.  We’ve exhausted the license plate game, I-Spy, 99-bottles of beer and the alphabet game.  Ideas anyone?  We’re thinking about turning around…we may not make it.

Within 90 minutes their news-feed was filled with comments from people near and far.  And the ideas were pure genius.  Fueled by the creativity, the second half of the trip was a success and no one was killed in the making of The Road Trip.

Oddly enough, we sometimes get “stuck” in our organizational problems, too.  We dive into a solution, realize it may not work out, and want to give up.  That’s when we can use some simple principles of creativity to break through the wall and find innovative solutions.

  1. Share Your Problem: Often times the stress of a problem leads us to hunker down and look inward. However, this is the perfect time to break down silos and ask others in your organization if they have faced similar problems and how they have solved them.  And, if people are busy, offer to buy them lunch and discuss your challenge informally over a slice of pizza.
  2. Encourage Hitchhiking: By posting their problem online and making it visible, people were able to see the responses of others and offer new variations of the solution. Sometimes a wild idea isn’t feasible, but a few tweaks can make it a perfect fit. The same is often true for business problems.
  3. Don’t Lost Sight of Your Purpose: In problem solving, much like family adventures, it is easy to lose sight of your main objective and implement solutions that will actually move you further away from your goal.  By asking, “Why are we doing this in the first place?” you consistently keep the end in mind and assure stakeholders (and precious children) emerge from the experience in a better place.

At Action Management Associates, we have over 35 years of experience helping our clients come up with innovative solutions to their most pressing problems.  If your organization is looking for outside the box ideas, give us a call!  We’d love to help.

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Creative Problem Solving | Problem Solving Training | Decision Making | Teaching Critical Thinking Skills | Critical Thinking