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Challenging Assumptions Creative Problem-Solving Activity

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Breaking Patterns to build Innovation Skills

So simple but such a powerful message! This activity lasts between 10 and 20 minutes and is an ideal way of raising the awareness of a group of learners about the preconceptions and assumptions we bring into new situations. This is very valuable in problem-solving or innovative thinking processes as it highlights how we can limit our thinking and reject new possibilities if they do not fit with our existing patterns.

Each toolbox contains 4 puzzles of different colors (red, blue, green and orange) designed to work with a group of up to 16 people, in up to four independent sets of up to 4 people per set, comparing and contrasting approaches to 'Challenging Assumptions'.

Learners working with this activity, aware that it is being used on programs with an element of creative thinking or innovation, often say things such as, “I’m going into this with a really open mind” or “I’m not going to make any assumptions about this.” However, these words are often uttered as they are making those very assumptions! As they realize this, the response is often laughter, surprise and a genuine recognition of the strength of some of our personal mental models.

Use this exercise at the start of any creative thinking or problem-solving process or to illustrate the need to make a significant change in strategy!

This activity works particularly well in small groups (3 or 4 people) with a number of observers. If the players are asked to ‘think aloud’ and describe what they are doing and thinking, observers can note the patterns that either limit or progress their problem-solving. It is illuminating to see how often people will identify new approaches and then reject them as being stupid, or hold on to past experiences, such as looking for corners amongst the pieces. With little facilitation, they soon recognize the need to be confident, bold and creative when tackling an unknown task!

Challenging Assumptions is a carefully researched and designed group learning activity from RSVP Design.

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