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Be More Creative with the ‘DO IT’ Method!

Being more creative in problem solving is something I think we’d all like, so here’s a method that can help you do just that. It’s called the ‘DO IT’ method, and was described by Robert W Olsen in his book ‘The Art of Creative Thinking’. The process involves you:

D – defining the problem

O – opening your mind and applying creative techniques

I – identifying the best solution

T – transforming the situation

Let’s look at the method in more detail, starting with D – defining the problem. This step in the process involves you asking a series of questions. The questions will help you ensure you are really looking at the problem, rather than just the symptoms of the problem. A good question to ask to get to the bottom of this issue is ‘Why does this problem exist?’ You may need to keep asking this question until you get to the root of the problem.

If the problem is large, it may at first seem overwhelming. If this is the case, it’s best to break it down into smaller parts. This way it’ll feel more manageable and should help you get started on a solution. It’s also a good idea to think about the boundaries you are working within here too. What objectives do you need to achieve and what constraints will there be on the solution you may come up with?

Once you’ve completed this part of the process, it’s a good idea to summarise the issues you’ve discovered in the shortest way possible. You could do this by trying to describe the problem using only two words.

O – opening your mind and applying creative techniques. When you reach this stage of the process, it’s time to start coming up with creative ideas to resolve the issue. Don’t be concerned with how good each of the ideas you come up with is at this point – that comes later. For now, all you need to do is write down every idea you come up with – no matter how daft it might seem. And, as tempting as it might be, do not stop when you come up with what seems like a good idea. Keep going until you’ve exhausted all the possible solutions.

If you struggle to come up with any ideas you feel are worthwhile, you can use these techniques to help you:

How to Come up With New Ideas

More Creative Ways to Resolve Problems

I – identifying the best solution. As the name implies, this is the time when you start to evaluate the ideas you’ve come up with. Once you do this, it may be really obvious which solution is the best. That’s great! But, what if you’re left with four ideas that all seem equally acceptable solutions? How do you choose between them? You can use a number of techniques to do this, some of which we’ve covered in past blog posts, like this one Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. If you don’t have much time, this post will be helpful Making Quick Decisions, and when the opposite is true, i.e. you’ve got plenty of time to evaluate the options you have, you can use the Futures Wheel, described in How Do You Know The Consequences of Making a Decision? to choose the best solution.

T – transforming the situation. Now you’ve made up your mind about which solution you’re going to use, you need to implement it. This will involve you having to develop your idea into something that you are able to use practically. One of the best ways to do this is to implement an action plan. If you don’t know how to create actions plans, make sure you read next week’s blog.

So, that’s it for this week. Try out this method, up to Step I, then come back next week and we’ll continue with learning about action plans and how to implement them.

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Susan Metcalfe - head of Business Training - discusses business, training and work issues. Come and join in the conversation or just enjoy the read!