“What do Velcro, barbed wire, and chain saws have in common? They were all patterned after structures found in nature.” Writes Holly G. Green, for Innovation Excellence.
Green explains how these innovations came about through our brain’s ability to form patterns. Velcro, barbed wired and chain saws came about as a result of watching nature and making the same thing happen through man-made invention.
“Humans also excel at forming patterns and making connections because the subconscious mind likes closure. When faced with an incomplete picture, the brain works to complete the mental image by inferring the missing information. The brain works the same way on an unsolved problem or challenge; it loves to dive right in and get the job done. Our minds fill in shapes and patterns based on our expectations and assumptions.”
To solve a tough problem or create a new idea or product, Green suggests looking for patterns. Just for fun, she suggests we look at our junk mail, popular best-sellers, TV shows and commercials and look for the patterns and connections:
“Junk mail. Scan your mail before you throw it out. What new trends do you see in advertising and marketing? What new products and values catch your eye? Let your junk mail accumulate for a month and take note of what you see when you pause and go through it.
Popular music. What are the trends in music? Is it getting louder or softer? More intimate or more intimidating? Is it more culturally diverse? Have the instruments changed? Do radio stations play more or less variety than five years ago?”
She suggests you look for a pattern and then ask yourself how that relates to something you already know well. If you can’t spend a lot of time on this all at once, you can try setting a time deadline. Here’s how you do it. Notice the trends. Then, ask how they relate to what you know and say to yourself, you’ll know the answer by x day or time.
Cheryl Richardson, author of several best-sellers including Life Makeovers, recommends this strategy so your subconscious can work on the problem and you can go about your business knowing your brain is working in the background. Try it! Let us know if this works for you.
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