Visual Blocks that Delay or Deter Innovation
When a problem of interest remains unanswered, your subconscious mind continuously searches for alternatives, options, and possibilities, even when your conscious attention is focused elsewhere. So when a potential creative solution is realized, via an integral connection or new perspective, the surprising collision of new insight with existing knowledge about an ongoing problem creates a jarring epiphany. When you unconsciously hunt for a critical element germane in context to you, you see with meaning what others overlook, or consider irrelevant.
Refocus To See Innovation
The opposite is also true. If you had no reason to see “it,” the missing piece to your puzzle would go unrecognized as a blur in the background of whatever you are looking at. Our eyes are blind to nuances, subtleties, or everyday occurrences when they don’t serve a purpose within the context of our own world.
Sometimes the elements we need to solve a problem are in front of us, but hard to see. They are scattered and need to be connected to form an impression. In this case, it is as much about assembly as it is an identification of the right pieces. When elements to our answers are physically disjointed and dispersed, they are meaningless until connected through our mind’s eye and seen in one frame of thought. The trick is in zooming in and out, paying close attention to details relative to the big picture, picking up on non-obvious patterns across time and place, and detecting relationships that make sense to join together.
Your Perspective So You Can See
Sometimes everything we need to solve a problem is right in front of us and easy to see, but only with the right perspective. When you keep in mind that everything could be seen from more than one point of view, you see things differently as you look at things in different ways. When we think in terms of “one right answer” instead of “multiple viable alternatives” we stop after finding the first acceptable solution without asking if there are any others we are missing. Play-Doh was originally meant to be wallpaper cleaner! Rogaine is a treatment for hair loss that was discovered when scientists noticed that patients taking the blood pressure drug Loniten experienced the added bonus of making their hair thicker. Everything worth looking at once is worth looking at multiple times to see all aspects.
Sometimes we are aware of the answers, but refuse to see them because of our contrary perspectives or opposing views. In this scenario, you could be staring at a brilliant idea and ignore it because it does not align with your natural biases, tendencies, or level of comfort. Personal, political, or professional reasons effectively put up a barricade between you and potential solutions.
Biases and pre-existing ideas are often detrimental to innovation. In the case of analyzing existing sales processes within a company, it can be easy to see holes in the process that could be costing profits. However, the ability to suspend the bias of “this is how’s it’s always been done” or “this is the standard for the industry” creates roadblocks, deterring your ability to see answers to solvable problems.
Learning how to see requires a conscious effort of paying attention to what is keeping you from seeing. Being aware and sensitive to these drivers and barriers requires focus and awareness of our particular biases and pre-determined ideas. By employing the tactics above, you can broaden your scope and limit your roadblocks, while increasing your chance for truly innovative solutions, no matter the problem at hand.