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Chapter 6: Break The Board

Overview

Once you've collected the raw material for your empathy board, what's next? This chapter is about solving problems by making the shift from left- to right-brain thinking. We break loose from the chains of the literal and let our minds function on a new level. Here is where the high-voltage idea is born. The theme of this resource has been that creativity is a skill like any other. It can be taught. Are you ready to learn?

We've come quite a way on our journey. We've discussed how to overcome the enemies of ideas, how to ask questions, ways to tap into the potential energy in a situation, and the power of making the Copernican Shift in your point of view.

Now it's time to have some new ideas.

After all the assessments have been made, the situation analyzed, and the conflicts understood, it's time to go into a brainstorming session and see what innovations you can create.

I have some exercises that I use over and over again in ideation sessions. I never know going in just what exactly is going to emerge, but something always does. These exercises are extensions of those that I've presented in earlier chapters, but this time, you have to focus on your own product or situation.

A reminder to those who remain convinced that they're better at analyzing and number crunching than at thinking up new things: This process is a skill that can be developed like any other. To use a classic metaphor, when you first climb onto a bicycle, you have to consciously shift your weight and learn to refine your sense of balance. Soon, it's second nature-then you can move on to scooters, unicycles, Rollerblades, and leaping the Grand Canyon on a motorbike.

And for those of you who come up with piles of new ideas every day, these exercises can help refresh you when you start thinking, 'The well is dry-I don't have a fresh idea left in me anywhere.'

Rather than just offering a list of exercises, I also want to discuss why and how these techniques can help to change the way you think and conceptualize. This is similar to the 'Asking Questions' chapter: It's as important to think about how to be as it is to think about what to do. Understanding the underlying theory can help you approach any problem in a more creative way.


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