Moving things forward can often feel like a fast and furious act of consistent output, creating what we hope is a critical mass of which at least part will hit the mark and make something new and better.
Over time that process has come to look something like this:
1. Understand the Problem
2. Strategize the Solution
3. Execute Plans and Tactics to Reach Solution
This process of Understand-Strategize-Execute often works, but it comes with a dark side.
Getting things done can actually prevent us from what matters.
What is generative thinking, and how do we make space for it?
The 3 "W"s of Generative Thinking
1. Wondering - this is the problem-framing part. Getting a sense for what isn't working, either in our daily lives, our careers, or the world around us. It's a brain-dump of ideas on the table, even the bad ones.
2. Why? - do we ask ourselves enough why we do what we do? Often its because we've always done them that way and it's comfortable and routine and easy to do it. Pulling back the curtain and asking the hard questions and leaving no sacred cows is generative thinking.
3. What if? - this is the part where we get to ask stupid questions and think big about the problems we are framing, and dream idealistically about potential solutions.
Here are a few ways to make space for generative thinking in your personal life or place of work.
1. Set aside 30 minutes a day personally to focus on the 3 Ws of Generative Thinking. The target could be something personal, or something larger-scale.
2. Instead of having a regular meeting with your team or staff where you're reacting to a problem or challenge by trying to force a solution, carve out a time to walk through the 3 Ws together instead, and be ok with the fact that you might not "get anything done." You will in the long-term!
3. Change your place of thinking. Our mental ruts often come as a result of being in one location too long. Get out to a coffee shop, a coworking space, nature, etc. Change it up.
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