I’m sure there’s a number of academic texts, TED talks and management or innovation books about the importance of NOT thinking to creativity and innovation.
I haven’t seen any of them.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with problem solving. I love solving them. My managers hate HOW I solve them. When I hit a thorny knot, I bypass it. When I’m stuck, I just stop thinking about the problem, put it down and work on something else. Whether it’s a creative or technical task, I’ve always found that if a key insight doesn’t come right away, I have to stop and just let me head take it over, while I focus on something else. I’ve as yet to be let down.
Sometimes what pops back is the entirety of the answer. Sometimes it’s a window into it. Rarely, it’s nothing, which – after 2-3 days, indicates I need more data to crunch the problem. Or the problem is ill-defined. I’ve learned that rarely is the answer “it can’t be done.” The answer is always yes. The solution comes down to time and money.
I have NO insight into what’s going on, but I can say it’s not a black box. It’s more of a gray box where I look into from time to time as the problem is crunched away. While it’s a bit of a mystery, I’ve just chalked it up to how my head works through knots. While I do recognize that there’s a pell-mell push in today’s world where everything is mach schnell, I draw comfort – and inspiration – from speakers that have recognized – we have to slow down.