My last post introduced the idea that creativity can be enhanced if you deliberately look at things in different ways. Rearranging the components of the problem is one technique for doing that.

In our design practice, we find that putting together quick prototypes using paper or styrene foam or other easily cut and glued materials gives us an efficient way to quickly try different arrangements. Pulling these models apart and rearranging their components often triggers new ideas upon which we can build.

Here is an interesting problem from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech that illustrates this technique:

You have four pieces of gold chain, each consisting of three links. You want to have them joined together to make a necklace. The jeweler tells you he charges $2.50 to break a link and $2.50 to melt it together again. How much will it cost?



medical product development puzzle



In my next post, I’ll reveal the perceptual barrier to solving this problem correctly.