By Beth Slazack, Manager, Creative Problem Solving Institute
How many times do we utter, read, or even think “new year, new me!”? And what has it ever done for us? Not much, if truth be told. And why is that? Well, it’s not really designed to be helpful. It’s designed to be catchy – and catchy isn’t usually helpful.
Let’s look at some phrases that do help – the challenge phrases or statement starters, such as: “What Might Be All the Ways …?” or “How Might We …?”. We teach people these phrases, we talk about them, we may even (actually) use them. But have we internalized them?
Noel Burch’s Four Stages of Learning – the progression from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence to conscious competence to unconscious competence – leads us from not knowing, to not having to think about it. Unless you were one of the lucky YouthWise participants at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), there was a time when you didn’t know that you didn’t know there was such a thing as Creative Problem Solving. When many of us were introduced to CPSI, we became conscious of our incompetence. And the next challenge was to move toward regular practice and full integration of the CPS process and related process skills.
Where are we with our creativity skill set? Have we successfully become a challenge-phase ninja? Do we take every problem and refashion it into a challenge? Do we practice what we preach? Has our competence reached our unconscious?
If we are to lead the world in innovation and problem-solving training, we need to continue to watch our basics – like using our challenge phrases. Small steps make for big habits, and we are in the habit of creating and encouraging change.
Questions invite plausible possibilities and potential answers. That’s why we ask them. That’s why we teach people to ask them.
So spend this new year asking more questions.
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