A Creativity Hack: Solve Your Problem, But for Someone Else

January 7, 2019

This creativity hack will empower you to think of more creative ideas to any problem.

Having trouble thinking of that new great idea? Or, solving a problem in a new way?

It's time to get creative (which, by the way, just happens to be the most important skill in the world). And we have a hack from former leader of Johnson & Johnson’s Marketing Mastery Program, Drew Boyd, that'll help.

“There's a simple and clever trick that you can do that will increase the quality of your ideas,” Boyd said in his LinkedIn Learning course, Managing Team Creativity. “Instead of imagining solving your problem, try to imagine solving that same problem, but for someone else.”

Sounds simple. But research shows it's highly effective.

How it Works: Solve a Problem Similar to The One Your Facing, But For Someone Else

Say you or your team is stuck on a problem. Or, you feel like you or your team’s thinking has gotten stale.

Try solving a similar problem for someone else.

For example, say you work for Ford and want to market your cars so they seem “cool", in comparison to Chevy. Rather than hampering down on that problem, think of a similar one – how could Honda market their motorcycles to seem “cool", in comparison to Harley-Davidson?

Studies show people tend to think more creatively when they are solving a problem for someone else. And, since it's a similar problem, you’ll likely be able to use that solution to fix the actual one you are facing.

“You got to get people out of their daily routine to help them see opportunities in a new light,” Boyd said. “Just having them step away will boost their creative output. Research into the psychology of how people solve problems shows that people are 50 percent more successful when they imagine solving a problem, but for someone else.”

It’s sort of like this. You know when your friend comes to you with their life troubles, and the answer to you seems so obvious? But then, when you are facing a similar situation in your own life, the solution feels so ambiguous?

Same principle.

Sounds simple, I know. And yet, this simple hack will empower you to think more creatively and come up with that NBT (next big thing). 

Are you looking to strengthen your creativity skills? These LinkedIn Learning courses can help – and they are free until Jan. 31: