The importance of problem identification
At the start of our projects, we had the pleasure of being mentored by Philippe Delespesse. Philippe is a partner of Inteligencia Creativa, a company specialized in managing creative thinking and developing innovation in organizations. He coordinated the initial phase of Imagine consisting of identifying the problem and reconsidering it from different approaches by using different focuses and techniques.
Philippe led our immersion into the creative process with the goal of innovation, which means putting the ideas into practice. This course of action goes from divergence to convergence. The first step is to explore by identifying new approaches for the need. The second step is to begin with the generation of ideas, and finally selecting and developing the chosen ones in the convergence phase.
During the first week of Imagine we went through the divergence stage and we dealt with the subject of creative culture. Starting from the premise that humans are creative killers: not only because of the negativity, but also because we fear the risk of being different. We tend to judge everything. Philippe made us realize that it is all about attitude and that we should be open-minded and postpone judgment. We were even given a fluffy crocodile to throw to whoever was killing an idea, which we have successfully been using less and less every time.
We need both rational thinking and creative thinking to develop an idea. The first one is always there but, the latest sometimes has to be provoked. How can we do this? The secret is to start from the question. We should question the way we are doing things. Develop new inspiring questions and from those we can progress to new solutions, and in this way innovate. This is exactly what we did with the problems we had identified for each project; we picked different (sometimes even random) questions that represented diverse focus to deal with a new way of solving those problems. As Philippe said, “if you have a hammer, you see all the problems as nails”. Nevertheless, hammering the nails might stop working some day, so innovation is crucial.