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Creative Thinking Tools for Innovation

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Creative Thinking Tools for Innovation

  1. 1. Howard Eisenberg explains... Paradigm Perceptual Bias We tend to automatically process new situations in terms of the old and familiar. This tendency restricts our awareness of other possibilities. Try the following exercise: Convert the figure I X into the number 6. IX • Only use the existing figure I X (i.e. you cannot use only a portion of it, nor alter it in any way.) • Only add one single line to the existing figure I X. • The solution must contain the figure I X.
  2. 2. Howard Eisenberg explains... Subconscious Presumptions... If you are having difficulty discovering the solution, reflect on what you are presuming about the IX parameters of this situation. By becoming more aware of your subconscious presumptions, you can directly challenge them and go beyond their constraints. If you think you have a solution, then proceed to the next screen...
  3. 3. Howard Eisenberg explains... One Solution... One correct solution to this problem is “SIX”. SIX Notice how easy it is to see and understand the solution in retrospect? What prevented you from seeing this solution by yourself? Perhaps you presumed the I X signified roman numerals and consequently you confined your thinking to this system, instead of seeing it more neutrally as just a single line and two crossed lines. Or...
  4. 4. Howard Eisenberg explains... Assumptions... Perhaps you presumed that since the figure I X consisted of only straight lines, that the additional IX line also had to be a straight one. Now, given the same situation and rules, develop a different solution to this problem. Again, if you are experiencing difficulty in discovering the second solution, reflect on what you are presuming that constricts your thinking of other alternatives... Proceed to the next screen when you think you have a second solution...
  5. 5. Howard Eisenberg explains... A Second Solution... Surprised? What prevented you from seeing this solution by yourself? IX6 Is there a similarity in your presumed constraints with the first solution? Once again, you had to free yourself from presuming an answer confined to the roman numeral system and using a straight line. Additionally, you had to free yourself from the presumed constraint of a simple graphical representation of the number itself, so that you could entertain the possibility of a computational solution.
  6. 6. Howard Eisenberg explains... Problem-Solving Principles... What principles have you learned about general problem-solving from this exercise? Can you think of some real world problems where such presumptions restrict awareness to better solutions? For example, at the beginning of the 20th century, physicists ruled out the possibility of airplanes because the concept contradicted the Law of Gravity. Similarly, the Swiss watchmaking industry rejected their own invention of digital watch technology, because they already dominated the world market with their older mechanical technology and consequently lost most of their previous dominating market share. And, if you came up with yet another solution to the I X problem, I’d be interested to hear from you! Please email me... Howard Eisenberg howard@syntrek.com

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