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IT Needs to Think Outside the Box - Creative Thinking Exercises


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Getting stuck is logical. Getting stuck within the confines of our mind when solving a problem is like battling the white-space bug for the first time; it’s illogical, but it’s what we don’t see that actually matters. This session explores methods, tools, and real stories used to break the shackles of our mind and help solve pesky IT, application development, and programmatic problems. Participants will leave challenged and will have completed practical methods and quick exercises to think outside the box and encourage creative problem solving as a team and as individuals.

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IT Needs to Think Outside the Box - Creative Thinking Exercises

  1. 1. Illogical? IT Needs to Think @ShaunHolloway OUTSIDE the BOX
  2. 2. Inspiration Photo credit: Aaron Petry True Story. The Dev Desk. Meet Mech Gollum.
  3. 3. Inspiration Photo credit: Aaron Petry Visual representation of the mind working SEE how people think Play together. Stronger together.
  4. 4. • 5-Second Memory Test • 8-ball Developer Problem • Box Reduction • Connect the Dots • Room Lights • Perceived Measurements 6 Creative Thinking Games
  5. 5. Warm Up. ACTIVITY 1
  6. 6. 5-Second Memory Test it’s all the time we have Remember as many letters as you can
  8. 8. Now Try Again… Next slide please
  10. 10. What was the difference?
  11. 11. Take Aways • How humans process information matters • Be mindful of the implications to messaging and frequency • It’s all the time we have. Design for it.
  12. 12. ACTIVITY 2 Think Efficiently.
  13. 13. 8-ball Developer Problem ONE ball is heavier than the rest. How many weighings will it take to find it?
  14. 14. 8-ball Developer Problem Most common answer = THREE weighings Divide and conquer approach
  15. 15. 8-ball Developer Problem ONE (weigh 4 vs 4)
  16. 16. 8-ball Developer Problem TWO (weight 2 vs 2)
  17. 17. 8-ball Developer Problem THREE (weigh 1 vs 1)
  18. 18. 8-ball Developer Problem Best answer = TWO weighings Inference approach
  19. 19. 8-ball Developer Problem ONE (weigh 3 vs 3)
  20. 20. 8-ball Developer Problem TWO (weigh 1 vs 1 with one off)
  21. 21. 8-ball Developer Problem TWO (weigh 1 vs 1)
  22. 22. Take Aways • The most efficient method isn’t always the first considered. • Information is known by what is NOT directly measured. • Think smarter with “what if” scenarios
  23. 23. ACTIVITY 3 Use the Void.
  24. 24. Box Reduction
  25. 25. Box Reduction Rules • Using the following 5-box layout, move pieces to make 4 closed boxes • Use only existing pieces or sides • Each box must be closed, i.e. no open boxes or 3-sided boxes • All sides of each box are the same length and stay the same length (like toothpicks)
  26. 26. Box Reduction
  27. 27. Box Reduction
  28. 28. Box Reduction
  29. 29. Take Aways • Learn how people solve problems • Learn how people ask for help. Or… IF they ask for help. • Become “in” with the team. Sense of shared knowledge.
  30. 30. ACTIVITY 4 Scale Up Solutions.
  31. 31. Connect the Dots Draw 4 straight lines to connect the dots. Do not lift your pen.
  32. 32. Connect the Dots
  33. 33. Connect the Dots
  34. 34. Connect the Dots
  35. 35. Connect the Dots
  36. 36. Connect the Dots
  37. 37. Connect the Dots That was easy. Try this. Draw 6 straight lines to connect the dots. Do not lift your pen.
  38. 38. Connect the Dots
  39. 39. Connect the Dots
  40. 40. Connect the Dots
  41. 41. Connect the Dots
  42. 42. Connect the Dots
  43. 43. Connect the Dots
  44. 44. Connect the Dots
  45. 45. Take Aways • Problems can scale up, but so can solutions. • There is a 5x5 with 8 lines, and so on. • Break the self-imposed “box” created by the situation.
  46. 46. ACTIVITY 5 Think Practically.
  47. 47. Room Lights Here’s a story.
  48. 48. Room Lights You are in a room with 3 light switches. Each switch controls one of three lights bulbs in the next room.
  49. 49. Room Lights You are in a room with 3 light switches. Each switch controls one of three lights bulbs in the next room. All light bulbs are off.
  50. 50. Room Lights Determine which switch controls each bulb. You may only enter the room with the light bulbs one time.
  51. 51. Room Lights – Best Answer 1) Flick another switch on. 2) Leave the other switch off. 3) Flick one switch on for 5 minutes. Turn in off.
  52. 52. Room Lights – Best Answer Enter the room… 1 = on 2 = off 3 = warm (to the touch)
  53. 53. Room Lights – Alts What else can be done? Phone a friend. Make a window.
  54. 54. Take Aways • Rely on your senses and not just one! • Inventory and evaluate available resources • Share and/or go with your “gut feeling.” Don’t be afraid.
  55. 55. ACTIVITY 6 Difficult Perceptions.
  56. 56. Perceived Measurement Is there such a thing as “cold?”
  57. 57. Perceived Measurement No.
  58. 58. Perceived Measurement An object can be studied regarding the transmission of energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.
  59. 59. Perceived Measurement There are many forms of heat, even more heat, super-heat, ultra-hot, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called "cold.”
  60. 60. Perceived Measurement We cannot measure cold.
  61. 61. Perceived Measurement According to the laws of physics, absolute zero (-459.67 F) is the total absence of heat. Cold only describes the level of no heat. Cold is not the opposite of heat, just the absence of it.
  62. 62. What is Really Measured? Is there such a thing as darkness?
  63. 63. Perceived Measurement No.
  64. 64. What is Really Measured? Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something.
  65. 65. What is Really Measured? You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but no light constantly is nothing. Can you make darkness darker?
  66. 66. What is Really Measured? Hot and Cold. Dark and Light. Life and Death. Jedi and Sith.
  67. 67. Take Aways • Sometimes, there are absolutes. • Something can “sound true” and be logical without being accurate. • Learn and review the facts given at the time a decision is needed.
  68. 68. Brain Training Final Thoughts.
  69. 69. Speak the same language
  70. 70. Brain Training • Look for answers in spaces you wouldn’t normally look • Solutions are often outside of hard or perceived limitations • Practice to train creative ability
  71. 71. • Practice looking for answers outside of normal constraints • Avoid getting stuck within boundaries that only exist in your mind • Do out-of-the-box thinking exercises as a group for creative team-building Brain Training
  72. 72. Illogical? IT Needs to Think @ShaunHolloway OUTSIDE the BOX