Different Thinking Approaches

PiaT's picture

I have participated in couple of interesting courses during the winter. The courses included team work with creative thinking for generating new ideas. In both of the projects, we were asked to suggest a new solution to fulfill the needs of international companies. One of the challenges was the enormous amount of data that we all have access to; how to find an interesting piece of information that is relevant for the company, and build hypotheses on that.
We could not use analytical approach when looking for novel solutions that go beyond the existing alternatives simply because the approach did not work. With analytical approach I refer to deductive and inductive thinking which in lay man’s language and in this context mean that we would have been able to see the several aspects of the confounding problem by looking back at the rear window. And by analyzing the data we would have come up with the right answers. Instead, we used abductive – something may be – thinking and combined the loose bits of data into a novel solution. We were also able to find supporting facts for our claim and solution after we knew what to look for.
The biggest challenge emerged when we presented the results to the customers. They questioned our process since we had used intuitive thinking and "logical leaps of mind," although those cannot be justified bluntly with help of e.g. balance sheet or sales figures. Einstein has stated: “The workings of intuition transcend those of the intellect, and as is well known, innovation is often a triumph of intuition over logic.” Majority of companies use analytical thinking with reliable facts and figures which match with inductive and deductive approaches. Annual reports and company's turnover are reliable data but are they valid when creating something new and disruptive? If a company wants to be innovative and in the leading edge, it has to be bold enough to invest in ideas that are not conventional. But a million Euro question is how to spot the great ideas?