We think first ideas are often the best ideas. That is a big misconception. In fact, more often than not you can find a better idea if you think a little longer. The consequences of acting upon your first idea can be quite shocking, especially because this same mechanism also applies to decisions within big companies.
The most likely thing to happen is that somewhere along the way we realize that our first idea wasn’t so good after all. But, at that point in time, there is no turning back. So we embrace a new idea, and now we try to bend what we’ve already done to fit that new idea. This causes results that are far from optimal. The costs will be too high, and we need a lot more time to complete things. Often it even means that there is no result at all.
This phenomenon has of course been subjected to research. In the video, I mention an article in Scientific American. You can find a link to it here.
The article examined what is called “the Einstellung effect” with chess players. In the experiment, a chess situation was provided to a group of chess players. The board was set so that the players would most likely see a popular 5-step mating solution. But there was a more effective 3-step solution; that would have been the best choice. And, as you probably guessed, the players were blind to see the better solution because the popular solution was blocking their mind to think a little longer or look a little further.
Not only do we think that a first idea is the best, but the first idea also blocks us to look beyond that idea.
Six Thinking Hats
In the video, I also talk about the Six Thinking Hats method from Edward de Bono. It is a proven way to find more solutions to a problem and to improve creativity.
You can learn how to separate thinking into six clear functions and roles. Each thinking role is identified with a colored symbolic “thinking hat.” By mentally wearing and switching “hats,” you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting.
- The White Hat calls for information known or needed. “The facts, just the facts.”
- The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism. Under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.
- The Black Hat is judgment – the devil’s advocate or why something may not work. Spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong.
- The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches, and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
- The Green Hat focuses on creativity; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
- The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process. It’s the control mechanism that ensures the Six Thinking Hats® guidelines are observed.
I hope you will enjoy the video below.
Thanks so much for watching!
Be Smart and see you on the next one.