One definition of creativity states that creative people look at same thing everyone else does, yet they see something no one else does.
But even creative people (which includes all of you, of course) can run into roadblocks every now and then. Sometimes it's not possible to see something different. Sometimes you've just been staring at a problem for so long it's now impossible to look at it in any other way.
So what do you do in these situations?
Why not try changing your perspective?
Consider this: A friend of mind who does needlepoint has a design that's mostly black. Rather than simply stitching design on white canvas with black thread, she's using a black canvas and is stitching negative aspects of design instead of positive.
She changed way she viewed problem. And now she has a really cool-looking needlepoint design that's different from most other ones out there.
Or what about this: An art teacher has her students turn a photograph or object upside down and paint what they see -- not a picture but an arrangement of shapes.
By changing your perspective, you're changing what you see. And when you change what you see, you're more likely to create something completely different.
But -- I can hear you all saying right now -- that's art. That won't help me with my business problem.
Okay, so here's another story from book "Thinkertoys" by Michael Michalko. Back in 1950s, experts proclaimed ocean freighter industry was dying. Costs were skyrocketing and delivery times kept getting pushed back later and later.
Executives at shipping companies kept focusing on ways to cut costs while ships were sailing. They developed ships that went faster and needed fewer crew members to run.
It didn't work. Costs continued to spiral out of control and it still took too long to get merchandise shipped.
Then one day, a consultant changed perspective. Rather than ask question: " In what ways might we make ships more economical while at sea?" executives asked: "In what ways can we reduce costs?"