Open Your Mind To Solve Problems Creatively

Everyday problems usually respond to tried-and-true solutions. But sometimes you need to go beyond the obvious. Try these tactics when you need to take a more creative approach to problem-solving:

• Do some extra research. Don’t assume you have all the facts you need. Before trying to solve the problem, dig deep into the background and the issues surrounding it. You may uncover something new that will lead to a fresh approach when nothing else has worked.

• Set up the problem correctly. In your rush to find a solution, you might treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause. Seek perspectives from other people, and keep an open mind about what’s really going on.

• Consider the impact. Who else does the problem affect? You may gain valuable insight by including others in your analysis and solution. You’ll also build support for your solution by drawing in your co-workers and other interested parties to help you implement it.

• Try a lot of solutions. Instead of zeroing in on one approach and hoping it works, experiment with as many different options as you can. Keep track of what you’re doing so you can identify what worked or combine promising aspects of different attempts.