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Creativity Triggers for College Students by Edward Glassman Ph.D.
Ways to Shift Paradigms & Think Outside the Box : Page 2 of 2

Ways to Shift Paradigms & Think Outside the Box

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GUIDED FRESH EYE: Think about your problem as someone or something else. For example:

a) Dolphin, bat, eagle, jellyfish, lion, pea pod, or oak seed (choose one)

b) Chemical engineer, mechanical engineer, Martian, or artist (choose one)

c) Biologist, chemist, secretary, banker, frog, or geneticist (choose one)

d) Architect, builder, carpenter, accountant, or shark (choose one)

e) Physicist, astronomer, musician, dancer, elephant, or farmer (choose one)

f) Hydraulic engineer, clothes designer, musician, or cougar (choose one)

Restate the problem.

VERB SUBSTITUTION: A systematic change of a word in a problem statement often transforms perspectives so paradigm shifts occur. For example, you can transform: "How to get rid of a dominating person"...into:

"How to work with a dominating person."

" " change a dominating person."

" " succeed with a dominating person."

" " enjoy a dominating person."

" " handle a dominating person."

" " avoid a dominating person."

" " succeed in spite of a dominating person."

" " get along with a dominating person."

" " retrain a dominating person."

" " negotiate with a dominating person," etc.

Note the different paradigms that occur with each verb substitution, possibly providing new ways to approach your problem. Substitutions for the word 'dominating' or 'person' in the problem statement may also provoke an insightful paradigm shift.

W-QUESTIONS: Asking questions that force you to look at a problem in a different way might lead to unexpected new paradigms. For example, please answer the following questions about the problem:

• Why?

• Who?

• What?

• Where?

• When?

• With whom?

• And again, why?

I discuss other methods to shift paradigms, especially the use of metaphors with some advanced creativity triggers, in my book: "Creativity Triggers For College Students."

A TRUE STORY: After a creativity session during which we clarified innovatively, a vice president of a Fortune-500 company told me he astonished himself with the many new paradigms he discovered concerning a problem on which he had already worked for several years. He achieved useful paradigm shifts using these techniques.

Eliminate the box. Make action plans to shift paradigms periodically. •

© 2011 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.

Edward Glassman, PhDEdward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. More »