Saturday, June 27, 2009

Data Sets Old and New: Learning is Disorganizing

For those of you who have followed this blog for a while, you might remember a post on the disorganizing nature of learning.

A friend recently asked me how to shake up her staff because she (and they) are so used to working in particular ways. In fact, the entire team has put a lot of effort into working creatively together, but those techniques have hardened into habit.

So What Do You Do?

To sustain creativity, it's important to change your universe of data -- people, ideas, places, and the connections we've forged among them in order to come up with solutions to problems. If you apply old information to new challenges, you are unlikely to innovate.

Another alternative is to take a new process and apply it to the old data. Where would you find that thinking process, and how would you use it?

Crossing disciplines often works. If you use a strategy from one field and (thoughtfully) use it for another, who knows what you'll come up with? Introduce new people to your process. Or new places. Or new things.

Sometimes even unresolved results are better than old ones.

Above all else, remember to play. Process usually needs more care and feeding than results if you want to keep things fresh. And if you're one of those people who want one habit on which to rely, make it sustaining curiosity.

It's probably the most productive (and stimulating) rut that you could possibly (and consistently) seek.

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