Innovative thinking is messy and effortful. Step by step models and formulas exist, but following a method does not mean you will succeed. Situations calling for creative thought tend to be unique in important ways.
When I am asked to help with a project that requires new thinking this is what I keep in mind.
- Plan appropriate blocks of time. Break throughs might seem to come in a flash. In reality, chunks of dedicated time nourish inspiration.
- Hold a dual focus on "what's possible" and "what's expected". "What's possible" expands thinking. "What's expected" keeps effort aligned and pragmatic.
- Counter my tendency to want a quick, logical decision and then move on. In creative thought the challenge is to hold multiple possibilities simultaneously and work against the desire for a speedy conclusion.
- Draw on many sources. Invite trusted collaborators to join and push back against the current way of seeing things.
- Stay committed. Remain confident that deep thinking is transformative and opens new possibilities for action.