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Generating Solutions. Chapter 8. Chapter Objectives. Learn: The common causes of mental blocks. To identify and define 6 types of mental blocks. How to break through mental roadblocks. How to use brainstorming as a tool. The 4 methods to break mental blocks while brainstorming.

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chapter objectives
Chapter Objectives
  • Learn:
    • The common causes of mental blocks.
    • To identify and define 6 types of mental blocks.
    • How to break through mental roadblocks.
    • How to use brainstorming as a tool.
    • The 4 methods to break mental blocks while brainstorming.
    • How to create a fishbone diagram from brainstorming information.
common causes of mental blocks
Common Causes of Mental Blocks
  • Some common causes of mental blocks include:
    • Defining problem too narrowly.
    • Attacking symptoms, not real problems, assuming there is one right answer.
    • Getting “hooked” on the first solution that comes to mind.
    • Becoming “hooked” on a solution that almost works, but really does not.
    • Being distracted by irrelevant information, called “mental dazzle”.
    • Getting frustrated by lack of success.
    • Being too anxious to finish.
    • Defining the problem ambiguously.
types of mental blocks
Types of Mental Blocks
  • There are 6 types of mental blocks:
    • Perceptual
    • Emotional
    • Cultural
    • Environmental
    • Intellectual
    • Expressive
perceptual blocks
Perceptual Blocks
  • Definition:
    • Obstacles that prevent the problem solver from clearly perceiving either the problem or the information needed to solve it.
  • Types of perceptual blocks:
    • Stereotyping
    • Limiting the problem unnecessarily
    • Saturation or information overload
emotional blocks
Emotional Blocks
  • An emotional block decreases the amount of freedom with which you explore and manipulate ideas, and interferes with your ability to conceptualize fluently and flexibly.
  • Types of emotional blocks:
    • Fear of risk taking
    • Lack of appetite for chaos
    • Judging rather than generating ideas
    • Lack of challenge
    • Inability to incubate
cultural blocks
Cultural Blocks
  • Cultural blocks are acquired by exposure to a given set of cultural patterns.
  • These blocks can arise when activities do not fall into the norm of certain members in a specific society.
environmental blocks
Environmental Blocks
  • Blocks imposed by our immediate social and physical environment.
    • Examples include:
      • Distractions by phones, pagers, etc. can break an individuals concentration.
      • Working in conditions absent of emotional, physical, economical, or organizational support can have a negative impact on the problem solver.
intellectual blocks
Intellectual Blocks
  • Intellectual blocks can be caused by:
    • Inflexible or inadequate problem solving strategies.
    • Lack of intellectual skills.
    • Lack of information to solve the problem.
  • To break these blocks
    • Obtain additional training, background or resources.
    • Ask for help!
expressive blocks
Expressive Blocks
  • Expressive blocks can occur when you have difficulty communicating your ideas to others, either verbally or written.
    • Examples include:
      • Playing charades.
      • Playing a group game to identify a drawn picture.
  • There are several methods to break mental blocks. Consider the following problems and solutions:
    • Negative attitude, correct with attitude adjustment
    • Fear of failure, correct with risk taking
    • Following the rules, correct with breaking the rules
    • Over-reliance on logic, correct with an internal creative climate
    • “You aren’t creative”, correct with creative beliefs
improve your creativeness
Improve Your Creativeness

The ways to improve your creative abilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Tracking your ideas at all times.
  • Posing new questions to yourself every day.
  • Learning about things outside your specialty.
  • Avoiding rigid, set patterns for doing things.
  • Being open and receptive to ideas.
  • Being alert.
  • Adopting a risk taking attitude.
  • Keeping your sense of humor.
  • Having courage and self-confidence.
  • Brainstorming creates an environment:
    • Where unstructured free association can occur to generate ideas.
    • Individuals can build ideas upon other individual ideas.
    • Where a positive attitude reigns.
  • The greater number of ideas generated, the better chance an innovative, workable solution will be identified.
brain drizzling
  • Inappropriate comments during brainstorming can lead to brain-drizzling. These comments may include:
    • “That won’t work”
    • “It’s not our job”
    • “That’s too much hassle”
    • “We haven’t done it that way before”
    • “We can’t solve this problem”
    • “That’s too expensive”
osborn s checklist
Osborn’s Checklist
  • Osborn’s checklist helps groups build on ideas by asking:
    • Adapt? … How else could this be adapted?
    • Modify? … Can anything be modified with meaning, color, etc.?
    • Minify? … Can this be split, reduced, made lighter, etc.?
    • Substitute? … Who else, where else, what else?
    • Rearrange? … Can parts be interchanged, use other layouts, etc.?
    • Combine? … Combine parts, units, ideas?
random stimulation
Random Stimulation
  • Random stimulation makes use of a random word or piece of information to act as a trigger to stimulate thought patterns in the event of a roadblock.
  • The goal of the pattern change is to allow the problem to be viewed from new perspectives not previously considered.
other people s views
Other People’s Views
  • This process allows individuals to understand the problem while using another person’s perspective of the situation.
  • Futuring focuses on identifying solution that may not be currently technically feasible but could be in the future.
  • The rules of futuring:
    • Try to imaging the ideal solution without regard to whether or not it is technically feasible.
    • Make statements such as: “If (this) _______ happened, it would completely change the way I do business.”
fishbone diagram
Fishbone Diagram
  • A fishbone diagram is an organized graphical representation of ideas generated from brainstorming.
  • To use a fishbone diagram:
    • Write the real problem at the head of the fish.
    • Brainstorm potential solutions to the problem.
    • Categorize the solutions into larger groups.
    • Place the grouped solutions on the bones of the fish.
  • When you need to brainstorm, but don’t have at least one more person available, consider brainwriting.
  • It uses the same principles of brainstorming, but you do it alone.
    • Use free association
    • Walk through Osborn’s checklist
    • Use random stimulation
    • Perform futuring
cross fertilization and analogy
Cross-Fertilization and Analogy
  • Cross-fertilization is used to transfer ideas and analogies from other disciplines to the discipline of your problem.
  • The idea is to draw on the experiences from other areas to determine how those situations may lead to a possible solutions.
  • Incubation provides a period of time when you can move from actively analyzing your ideas to allowing your subconscious to continue the work.
  • If your problem does not require an immediate solution, take some time away from it and use incubation to help you through the solution process.
  • Mental blocks can impair our ability to generate solutions.
  • There are several types of mental blocks.
  • Mental blocks can be broken with various techniques.
  • Individuals can increase their creative abilities through several activities.
  • Brainstorming is a group activity to free associate ideas into solutions.
  • Brainwriting is brainstorming for one individual.
  • Using ideas from unrelated disciplines can cross-fertilize ideas and identify analogies.