Break Out of Your Standard Patterns of Thinking

Great innovators see the world differently. They look beyond what’s obvious and expected, and seek out novel solutions to problems. You can push yourself to be more creative by trying out new approaches to challenges. When you’re in a situation where you’re tempted to resort to your usual methods — starting a new project at work, for example — stop and think about what’s influencing your approach. What expectations and assumptions are you bringing to the situation? How are your personal background, professional expertise, and relationships at work affecting your methods? How might someone from another department or industry view the challenge? How might you tackle the project if you didn’t already have a plan in mind? These kinds of questions can help you break out of your standard patterns of thinking and reach for new ones. It may also help to write down the project’s key requirements and details. Having to choose words to describe a situation can reveal your perspective on it; once you’re aware of your perspective, you can try switching to another one.

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