Have More Creative Solutions Using "What If"
To find creative solutions to problems we need to get our
minds looking in new directions. One of the most systematic ways
of doing this is to use a list of idea-generating words, primarily
adjectives, to create "what if?" scenarios. You begin
with the question, "what if it was..." and insert a
word from the list. "It" is the the problem you are
trying to solve, or the situation or solution that exists at
An example will help explain the process. To find creative
solutions to the problem of, "not enough parking space for
my customers," you ask, "What if it (the parking lot,
the problem, the store) was..." and you insert from the
list, "smaller." The lot is already too small, but
maybe the landscaping or the store could be shrunk to allow for
more parking spaces. The word, "distant" might give
you the idea to make a deal with the store next to yours to connect
your lots. The word, "divided" may cause you to think
about painting the lines closer together to fit two more spaces
The Word List
Most words on the list won't give you any useful ideas, so
go through the irrelevant ones quickly, if you wish. Don't automatically
dismiss words, though, without giving them at least a few seconds
of thought. A lot of creative solutions begin with unrelated
thoughts. "What if it was hopeless?" may seem like
a useless question, but it might also bring you to the useful
realization that you really need a new location to solve your
As with most techniques for finding creative solutions to
problems, it is important to allow the ideas to flow without
judging them initially. You don't want to stifle the creative
process. The time to evaluate your ideas is later, when you are
done with this part.
The list that follows is a very basic one. You can use it
as is, but there are hundreds of idea-generating words that you
could add to it. Any adjective, descriptive phrase, or word that
can change your perspective can be potentially useful for discovering
creative solutions and ideas.
What if it was...
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