DAY 2: 5 Ways To Reignite Your Creative Genius At Work (And In Life!)

Welcome back to Day 2 of the 5 x 5 x 5 ~ 5-Minutes, 5-Days, 5-Ways ~ Innovation Genius Bootcamp where I share a daily innovation-boosting challenge to combat the dreaded "We've always done it that way" syndrome.

During yesterday’s challenge we used a new lens to explore old problems, one that touched on uncovering underlying assumptions. If you missed them, now's your chance to catch up with Day 0 and Day 1.

For Day 2, we’re taking assumptions head on, since assumptions are common creativity and innovation blockers.

Most of us use assumptions regularly to help quantify or qualify a problem, such as limiting the population under consideration to a certain country, or assuming a certain production cost, etc. On the other hand there are hidden and unrecognized assumptions that are taken as truths. These assumptions, hidden assumptions, are where we’re focusing our attention today.

Because these assumptions are hidden, they go unquestioned and can’t be improved upon or challenged and often block our ability to think creatively about a problem. Having the ability to spot hidden assumptions give us the opportunity to challenge them and turn them on their side.

So how do we spot underlying assumptions in order to challenge them?

It’s simpler than you think, just look for them.

Here’s your Day 2 innovation challenge:

Start by reviewing each spoken and unspoken statement or idea about your problem, your constraints, or the solution options under consideration and list your assumptions. You will find both deliberate and hidden assumptions.

Once you’ve spotted the assumptions, flip two or three of those assumptions so they’re the reverse of the original. This might look like:

  • Assumption: Women hate pro wrestling.

  • Reversed Assumption: Women love pro wrestling.

Now consider what would need to happen to make the reverse assumption true. What would you need to change, include, or explore to make it so? In the example above, you might brainstorm ideas like:

  • Add a diverse team of women to the marketing team

  • Expand bathroom access so women don’t need to wait in line 3x as long as men

  • Serve healthy food and snack options

  • Sell family-pack bundles

  • Add a “Ladies Night”

You get the idea. The take-away here is not to come up with a “right” option, in fact, many of the ideas above are based on generalizations and assumptions about what might be compelling to women that may or may not be accurate. The intent is to give yourself more options than you had before and more importantly, to help your creativity breakthrough its last stopping point.

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