Blocks to Innovative Ideas

Problem Solving Creative Thinking Brainstorm People Concept

A creative approach towards problem solving has resulted in the design of training applications which focus on personal feedback and counselling. Many strategic blocks can be addressed through creative problem solving techniques, when it comes to creating values. Values, however, are a more difficult problem, but creating an awareness of personal values in the individual offers some respite.

Mental blocks towards creativity can be strategic, value oriented, perceptual and self- confidence related blocks. The real idea must be to facilitate the process of producing ideas. Because of these techniques, new ideas and insights will be formed. The techniques of free thinking are used as a leading sentiment to evoke, construct and reconstruct the knowledge stored in our memory.

Arranging for group sessions where individuals brainstorm on ideas reduce the risk of making mistakes as individuals. These sessions will also help in reducing personal prejudices. By sharing a problem with people or by making our ideas heard, we will be getting the chance to understand people’s reactions and suggestions.

Sensory Gating

Sensory Gating is a process that the brain uses to adjust to stimuli. Our brain has a direct connection to filter out distracting stimuli and performance. Negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and depression can switch the chemistry of the brain and limits the effectiveness of sensory gating. So, to prevent this imbalance, Re-Gating is important.

Sensory Gating

Creativity is not an entity you can command at will. It is very environment dependent and can be summoned only under the proper stimulation and with proper co-workers. So, the myth that creativity can be summoned as per requirement is bogus. It should depend on the proper grooming and encouragement of the management.

Strategic Blocks

Inability to produce insights or thinking out un-implementable ideas point towards blocked thinking. Often people themselves admit that they are in a block. However, this block is a subconscious one. People with creativity blockages often are found to have a negative mindset and approach towards their work and life, in general.

Value Blocks

The biggest challenge for creative problem solving comes when people tend to mistake outdated business doing methods as values. Often, creative problem solving training programs face objections from mid-managers, who argue that they have always done things in a specific way.

These methods, which has delivered them results, are the trusted ones for them, so they feel that they shouldn’t deviate from these methods. These people fear change and don’t want to take risks. Naturally, they will be at a fix when it comes to facing newer scenarios in the future.

Self-confidence Block

Sometimes, a low level of confidence on one’s own abilities creates a fear in the minds of the people and makes them hesitant towards any form of change and creative problem solving. Their reluctance to take decisions out of the box is because they are afraid of failures or being laughed at.

Barriers to Innovative Ideas

Many people get used to traditional ideas and this is often one of the main barriers to creative problem solving. Because of this thought, people and organizations tend to fall into a variety of traps when trying to become more innovative. Some of the most common issues people face when they try to solve every problem using traditional methods are −

  • They zero in on non-issues.
  • Finalize one idea too quickly.
  • Often finalize a half-baked idea.
  • They cannot impress their ideas upon the management.
  • They are afraid to change or challenge any established methods.

Some of the other major blocks are as explained below −

Managerial Control

Managerial Control tends to overpower creativity. The creative thinkers should be provided with as much autonomous working style and freedom as possible.

Short-range Thinking

Creative problem solving should be used to find out long term solutions and benefits of the company as opposed to finalizing the short-term gain policies.

Analysis Paralysis

Because of constant analysis of ideas and polishing them, creativity gets lost in the process, often because every polishing of the creative idea will take it nearer to an established process.

Rigid Hierarchical Communication

Strict lines of command are not a suitable mode of communication for the creative people. When they come across an idea, they would like to know its feasibility. The tendency to look for a big payoff needs to be curbed.

Market Vs Technology-driven Product Planning

Many people tend to give undue importance to market research. The idea should be to focus more on marketing orientation, however it shouldn’t be at the cost of good ideas which come out of R&D and which never get off the ground.

Pressure to Achieve more with few Resources

The R&D departments are often marked out for cost-cutting methods. They like to save as much as possible, so that they can ask lesser from the management. However, an ideal creative environment needs to be as free from the pressures of performing better with lesser resources as possible.

Case Study: How Swiss Watches Lost their Market

The Elgin watch company is often used as an example of companies who did not take cure for their market myopia. They fell on their way from being one of the most reputed names in the watch making business to shutting shop forever. The company lived in denial of the changing demands of the market place and risked losing customers for its most widely known product – a pocket watch with an excellent life span.

Watches

English watch makers were the pioneers of watch making in the early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were responsible for all the latest technological breakthroughs; however, their biggest issue was that they did not move with the times, which took them out of the competition with the other major Swiss and American watch manufacturers who understood the needs of their customers better.

It may seem rather obvious to us today that to survive in the marketplace, a company should adapt its strategy to meet the changing wants and needs of its customers. However, the watch industry possesses several quirks and it does not necessarily always respond in the way one would expect. Nor does the unexpected always result in a total failure.

The Swiss watch industry dominated world markets with its fine clockwork movements, elegant designs and quality in the 20th century. Till that time, the value of a watch depended on its accuracy and time keeping. High quality Swiss watches used to come with ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ certificate handed out by the Swiss authorities, which used to take its price well beyond the reach of the common man. Apart from accuracy, features such as self-winding movements, elegant design, gold metal casing and other things used to add to the appeal.

Swiss Authorities

However, a scientific breakthrough came and quartz movement technology was discovered. Using this, it was possible by all watch manufacturers to mass produce these accurate watches. Although this technology was invented by the Swiss, they didn’t implement it, fearing a meltdown in their own market. However, other companies slowly caught up to it and the Swiss watch market ended up losing 25% of its market share.