by John Bielenberg, member of Undercurrent and co-founder of Thinknado and founder of Think-Wrong Institute
Thinking right got us into this mess, thinking wrong can get us out.
Over time, our brains are biologically hardwired with neural pathways and synaptic connections that largely determine our behavior. Once those pathways are formed our brains are pathological about following them. This is both good news, efficiency, and bad news because it actively inhibits new ideas and solutions.
We went to school, we got the answers, we got a job, we became experts – we give the same answers over and over again. We stopped asking questions. Fear sets in. Fear of being wrong. We are trained, drilled to answer with only the RIGHT answers.
Fear of the uncertain drags on creativity and innovation. As adults we hear “Hmmm, are you sure?”… “That seems risky”… “We’ve never done that before”… “What will our lawyers say?”… “What will our customers say?”… “What will the market say?” This is exactly why nothing changes. The gravity of Status Quo pulls on us to do the thing that is less risky. We make choices that are easier, more comfortable, safe bets.
Traditional problem solving strives for known and certain outcomes. But real creativity, real problem solving, always comes from exploring the unknown and the uncertain. Truly creative, innovative and unconventional solutions require us – demands us – to toss away what we already know and explore ideas with outcomes that are uncertain, unknown, maybe even un-right?
Maybe being wrong might not be wrong at all. Maybe being wrong is the new way to be right?
So, how do you go from the way things are… to the way things need to be?
Welcome to Thinknado.
A Thinknado is the freeing of your brain to act like a tornado to pull random ideas in and spin them around and upside down. Tornadoes do not edit what is right or wrong for a tornado – they just whirl and grab at everything in their path. Thinknados are the same in that they throw ideas – crazy ideas, wrong ideas together pulling them into their vortex, spinning them back to the ground.
Thinknados have 4 stages:
Take a breath, pause, slow down and question the thing that you are thinking about. What is the status, how does it fit in – or not. Is it relevant, does it have a purpose, who is involved, do people care, who are they, why does it matter? Ask like a toddler. There may be good reasons why things are the way they are. There could be legal, social, cultural reasons but In order to fully understand a situation you must first stop and ask the question why.
Maybe opens the possibility that anything is possible. Maybe gives you the freedom to associate with unlikely outcomes, It helps you build connections that never existed – Maybe there’s a better way, Maybe we can look at this from another point of view. Maybe we should take a step back and ask more why questions. Maybe it’s possible to…?
- What If?
How do you explore limitless possibilities?
You need to trick your brain into tornado thinking and generating as many interesting solutions as possible. It will not happen naturally.
- Try This.
This is the big important step. Make something and try it out. Bet small at first and build on your successes.