Over at Psychology Today, psychologist Art Markman observes that if you want creative ideas, you need to think of the problem from a new perspective. However you describe the problem, your mind will use that description to pull related information from your memory. If you change the description, you change the memory cues. New memory cues means new ideas. Markman explains:
A key strategy for changing what you think about is to find the essence of the creative problem you’re trying to solve. Start by looking at how you described it. Then, see if there is another way to frame that issue and explore where that takes you. Whenever you find that you’re out of fresh ideas, look for another description of the situation.
Markman refers to a study where college students were asked to create animals from another planet. With the original problem description, their animals looked very similar to those on Earth. To produce different results, the problem could be reframed to address what characteristics animals would need to survive on a strange planet. Markman reminds us that results are dependent on where you begin, “so don’t think differently. Think about different things.”
Read more strategies on creating innovative ideas here.