Why do most people find it hard to be creative? One reason is that we’ve spent our lives learning how to be logical and analytical.
To think creatively, you have to stop thinking logically.
The emphasis on logic and analysis works well for helping us navigate most of the problems of our day-to-day world. But it doesn’t work so well when we find ourselves in novel situations or for particularly intractable problems. Or when our usual tools are not at hand.
Medical product developers are especially prone to relying on logic, simply because their natural tendency is to approach a challenge within the framework of the scientific method – a logical, analytical method if ever there was one.
But new, unusual, creative solutions rarely develop from logical analysis. Predominantly, they come when logic is suspended, when we’re able to notice relationships that aren’t obvious, when we can make connections between things that are seemingly unconnected.
One technique for breaking through our natural tendency for logical thinking is to use the randomness technique. The technique can be applied in many different ways, but essentially it involves generating stimulus for unusual thought by combining things in a random way: words, objects, pictures, etc. Here is a link to one of many random word generators on the web. The randomness creates patterns we’re not used to seeing. These different patterns catch our brain’s processing by surprise and change our perception of the subject. Leonardo daVinci used a variation of this technique: he would throw a paint-filled sponge against a wall and contemplate the random patterns that developed.
Conventional, logical, analytical thinkers are exclusive thinkers — they exclude all information that is not related to the problem. They look for ways to eliminate possibilities. Creative thinkers are inclusive thinkers — they look for ways to include everything, including things that are dissimilar or even totally unrelated. Generating associations and connections between unrelated or dissimilar subjects is how creative people provoke different thinking patterns in their brains. These new patterns lead to new connections which give them a different way to focus on the information and different ways to interpret what they are focusing on. This is how original and truly novel ideas are created.