“If you can’t find an easy solution to your complex problem, you could always do a U-Haul!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
You’ll often become too focused on finding the most obvious solution to a complex problem.
Which brings you to my good friend Jeanne-Marie Robillard – @jmrobillard . She’s an extraordinary account executive at one of my agents, the National Speakers Bureau in Canada.
Last summer, she arrived in Newfoundland, Canada, for a family trip – only to discover there were no rental cars available – it was peak season! They hadn’t booked in advanced, and had assumed that there would be availability.
Stymied, she put out a plea on social media to see if anyone had any ideas – smaller rental car companies, an ‘in’ with one of the big car companies, or other ways to get a *car*.
The problem? She was focused on the ‘rental car’ concept as the solution.
My suggestion? Don’t think ‘rental car’ – think ‘transport.’
I sent her a message -head over to U-Haul and rent a cube-van! There has to be availability, they’re pretty inexpensive, and it would certainly provide her with something to talk about.
It worked – and she was soon motoring around in a nice, big cube van.
There is a pretty important innovation lesson here, because it was an interesting solution to a challenging problem! That’s often what you need when it comes to your own innovation efforts.
You’ll usually spend your time thinking of the most obvious solutions; the go-to ideas; the usual suspects.
And once you start doing so, you’ve turned off your creativity engine. You’ll be on innovation-autopilot, and will soon become frustrated because of your lack of success in coming up with something different.
Do the opposite -seek offbeat solutions; look for the silly ideas, try and reframe the question. Her answer lay in ‘transport,’ not ‘car.’
And as soon as you do that, magic can happen!
Make this a regular part of your creative routine. There is a line between crazy and ingenious that you should continually flirt with. Experiment a little!
And so from this day forward, when faced with a complex problem – think @uhaul
(Note: I have no involvement with the company)