“Most of my ideas belonged to other people who didn’t bother to develop them." -Thomas Edison
Insights into some basic processes underlie problem solving, design, and innovation: (part 2 of 3)
Problem solving, design and innovation can be judged as successful only if they satisfy the requirements of the situation. To reach this point one has to make use of certain assumptions. Nevertheless one of the most effective methods for achieving results is to challenge the absolute validity of assumptions, boundaries, limits, and specifications. Once an attitude of challenge rather than acceptance has been set, direct attention to these restrictions will show that they are not unchangeable. And in changing them, one escapes to create a new idea.
What has been left out? Creativity is not a matter of whether a particular idea is right or wrong. Creativity is not a matter of finding the best way of putting certain things together. Creativity is a matter of trying to get at what has been left out of the original way of looking at the situation. One can never get at this simply by judging the effectiveness of a particular way of looking at the situation. At best, the rejection of a particular idea is no more than a mild invitation to try again. On the other hand an acceptance effectively blocks further search effort. Creativity requires lateral thinking to go beyond the limitations of the YES/NO system in order to get at what has been left out. It is not a matter of the correctness between A and B but of considering the other paths – and finding them first.
Lateral Thinking for Management
“Whatever creativity is, it is in part a solution to a problem." Brian W. Aldiss
The Impossible Question: Is there a "right" answer for a creative challenge?
Puzzles, riddles, mindbenders, no matter how tricky, usually involve linear thinking and one single correct solution. However, in the advertising and design world a solution to client’s problem may be considered "right" if it works, but rarely takes the form of only one solution. Here’s where the impossible question comes into play. There is no specific right answer, but there is definitely bad, good and great answers. And every client knows it when he sees it.
These "logic puzzles" test such things as bandwidth, inventiveness, creative problem solving ability, outside the box thinking. Such things that are used in coming up with creative campaigns or creative impactfull images. Answering these questions means encountering and surmounting obstacles.
Here’s an example: What way should the key turn in a car door to unlock it?
Hold your right hand out, pretending you're holding a key. Your hand is a fist, palm side down, with the imaginary key between your thumb and the curled side of your index finger. Turn your hand clockwise, as far as it can go without discomfort. You can probably turn your fist a full 180 degrees, easily. The palm side is now up. Try it again, turning the hand counterclockwise. It's tough to turn it just 90 degrees. The design of the hand, wrist, and arm thus makes it easier for a right-handed person to turn a key clockwise (so that the top of the key turns to the right). It is the opposite with left-handed people. There are fewer left-handed people, though, creating a true asymmetry. That provides a basis for saying that the key should turn one way or the other.
Now we're getting somewhere. Or are we? In the long run, you lock and unlock your car door exactly the same number of times. One of these motions is going to be "easy;' and the other one "awkward:' It's six of one or half a dozen of the other. The asymmetry keeps slipping away.
With remote-control locks, people turn the key mainly when the battery is dead or the electrical system has failed. Most likely, a lot of people use the key so infrequently that they forget which way it turns. In that case the initial reason above applies - the first thing they try should be correct. You most often discover a dead battery when you try to get into a locked car. There, the second point applies - it's best to have the easier motion for getting into the car, especially when there's a problem. There are life-or-death situations where it's vital to get into a car. If a maniac with a hook is after you, you need to get in that car. Locks jam, and some people have arthritis or in juries that make it difficult to turn a key. You can imagine a situation where a life depends on opening he car door, and someone has barely enough strength to turn the key. That's when you want a lock that turns in the easier direction. In comparison, locking a car from the outside (the only time you need the key) is simply a matter of protecting property.
In practice, most car doors do unlock by turning the key clockwise on the driver's side. This is the usual convention with household door locks too. Most people unconsciously learn this convention, even if they can't explain it. That provides another reason to think that the driver unlocking a car for the first time is likely to try clockwise first.
In short, both convention and ergonomics say that the key should turn clockwise (to the right) to unlock a driver's sidecar door.
How Would You Move Mount Fuji?