April 12, 2012

What do you see?

Let's take a look at this photo:


Can you tell what is inside this photo?

Let me share a hint: Our brains are conditioned (through education and upbringing) to focus on the dark part of an image to identify meaning. If we break this condition and start seeing the photo as a whole (see the black blotters AND the white space) we might be able to capture something.

Do you see that this is a photo of a cow?

Some of better-trained people with open-minded brains will see this perhaps at the moment they see the photo. Some will see this after they receive the hint (that they should include the white space as part of the photo). Some with lesser-trained, more-hardened brains will see this after they are told that this is a cow. Some with a severe case of close-minded brains will still unable to see it even after they are told about the cow.

So what's the point? Creativity is the capability of creating something new out of what seems to be impossible - something people never thought about. This requires our brain to be 'open' and see beyond the norms, such as seeing a cow in a seemingly random blotters.

This is taken from Creative Thinkering, by M. Michalko. The book is very entertaining and inspiring. It has a lot of brain exercises and techniques that eventually will train us into a more creative individual.

April 10, 2012

Problem Solving Series 7 Make the Change Stick

Allright, here we are. The last step of solving our problem.

We have spent so much time, money, effort in getting to the root cause of the problem, so it only make sense if we make sure it does not return, right?

The truth is, over 50% of problems solved tend to recur.There are several reasons why this happens:

1. We are still solving the symptom of a deeper problem.

Usually when this happens, our solutions lead to undesired effects popping out in another area or another part of the process. It could also be identified if our solution puts 'pressure' in the process/area of concerns. Dig deeper in the root cause analysis or find another layer of assumptions to break to get away from this situation.

2. No buy-ins from stakeholders.

We know this to be the case when the stakeholders simply do not commit to the change. When solutions are not followed without any proof of undesired effects or 'pressure', it is time to have quality time with the stakeholders to get their buy-ins. A better way to fix this is to get them involved from the beginning. On extreme cases where they simply refuse to change, we need to create a burning platform where they just have no other way but follows. This can be done by creating environment of crisis - either as an organization or as an individual through his/her direct superior.

3. No understanding of the solutions

This happens when our prescribed solutions are not followed properly. Trainings, socialization, and close monitoring in the short term and long term will fix this.

Usually, we know this step will be successful or not way earlier in the project - The best way to handle problems here is to handle them when they are small and new. As soon as we identify no buy-ins or lack of communication, we need to address it even before we go into Step 7.

April 09, 2012

I am back!

Another 5-month hiatus, but now I am back with renewed energy, I hope :)

This week I will finish the last part of the IDOAIM framework and share with you several interesting thoughts from two books: Creative Thinkering by Michael Michalko (the author of Thinkertoys) and Mindset by DR Carol Dweck.

Wish me luck and see you soon!