First so­lu­tion not usu­ally the right one

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - GE­OFF SMITH


How of­ten have you at­tended a meet­ing where cre­ative think­ing was met with, ‘it won’t work’ ‘we don’t work like that here’ ‘you are new and don’t un­der­stand’?

Sim­i­larly, how of­ten have you seen the first idea be­ing the best idea, or only idea?

In meet­ings look­ing for so­lu­tions to prob­lems or in brain­storm­ing cre­ative ses­sions, we have an un­for­tu­nate ten­dency to seize, and of­ten in an act of group think, on the first best so­lu­tion that presents.

And even worse, if on analysing fur­ther, it is not suf­fi­cient to solve our prob­lem, we try to mod­ify the so­lu­tion rather than con­sider al­ter­na­tives.

Re­search has shown that the first so­lu­tion is sel­dom the most cre­ative and only oc­ca­sion­ally the best.

The first so­lu­tion is usu­ally the most com­mon­place so­lu­tion, and the one most peo­ple and your com­peti­tors would adopt in the same cir­cum­stances.

There is a sci­en­tific rea­son why your first idea isn’t usu­ally your best one. Our brains are lazy. The first idea we have is usu­ally the hand­i­est rather than the best.

To get your brain to your best idea, neu­rol­o­gists will tell us, the key to in­no­va­tion is to dis­trust the first an­swer and send it back.

Once we have cleared our minds of the ob­vi­ous, we must push our minds fur­ther to come up with new ideas.

This is when cre­ativ­ity kicks in and pow­ers our think­ing.

I think some peo­ple get in­volved in com­mit­tees so they can in­dulge their predilec­tion to rain on ev­ery­one’s pa­rade. They have never met an idea they liked.

Their per­spec­tives are per­pet­u­ally neg­a­tive, their com­men­tary de­struc­tive, hurt­ful, and non-pro­duc­tive.

In fact their on­go­ing crit­i­cism, cyn­i­cism, and neg­a­tiv­ity can sin­gle hand­edly bring down a group leav­ing a string of casualties along the way.

Re­search in­di­cates that peo­ple who do that prob­a­bly don’t know what a cre­ative idea looks like.

Cre­ative ideas are by def­i­ni­tion novel and that can trig­ger feel­ings of un­cer­tainty that make peo­ple un­com­fort­able.

Un­cer­tainty makes us less able to rec­og­nize cre­ativ­ity, per­haps when we need it most.

Peo­ple dis­miss cre­ative ideas in favour of ideas that are purely prac­ti­cal – tried and true.

By and large, we tend to be threat­ened by cre­ativ­ity, and are ea­ger to shut it down.

Nei­ther in­tel­li­gence of the smartest mem­ber, nor the av­er­age in­tel­li­gence of the group, in­flu­ences the over­all group in­tel­li­gence.

In­stead, so­cial sen­si­tiv­ity, the abil­ity to un­der­stand the feel­ings and thoughts of others, is the most im­por­tant fac­tor that in­flu­ences the over­all group in­tel­li­gence.

There is al­ways an op­por­tu­nity hid­den within a prob­lem.

And rather than be­ing a prob­lem solver we should look to be­come so­lu­tion cre­ators.

The process of hav­ing orig­i­nal ideas that add value is in­di­vid­ual and in­di­vid­u­als in a group sit­u­a­tion will only con­trib­ute in a pos­i­tive, en­cour­ag­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

If peo­ple are scared of be­ing mocked then they are go­ing to be re­luc­tant to step forward with new ideas.

En­cour­ag­ing mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives, di­verse view­points and out of the box think­ing increases dra­mat­i­cally the chance of find­ing not just the best idea but the right idea.


Let­ters should not ex­ceed 350 words and must have full name, res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber. Write to Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor, Franklin County News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email julie.kaio@fair­fax­me­

Ge­off Smith

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