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How to solve problems in new ways part 2

Author by Sonny Darji

In my previous blog post about the book How to think like Einstein by Scott Thorpe, I discussed steps to breaking the rules we make for ourselves. The tips outlined a helpful route to problem solving as well as a greater range of creative, potential, solutions.

Seed Ideas

A seed idea is when the speaker of the story can describe how they are feeling or thinking. The analogy used in English describes it as a watermelon, where the big event is the slice and the details are the seeds. Seed ideas expand the perceptions of the problem you’re facing and list possible solutions.


Idea Synthesis

Idea Synthesis is the process of expanding the seed ideas, for example visualizing the idea in the point of view a child can allow you to see the problem in new ways. This is used to expand interesting concepts such as:


(Use it in a joke, create a humorous problem, Misuse the seed)



(See the problem from the point of view of seed idea or point of view of a child)



(Break it down into similarities and differences)



(Link the situation to the seed, Change, what else is the seed like)



(When could the seed be the solution, Change the problem to fir the seed solution, Modify the seed to be a solution)



(Combine with old solutions. Combine with anti-solutions, Combine with another seed)


Finding your Rules

Identify some of your rules for solving your problem and list them. Evaluate each idea and determine why it will or will not work. These are all means to record rules and examine their potential.


Violate the Rule

Circumvent the Rule

Opposite Rule

Special Case






Common Rules

As rules begin to repeat themselves, we can analyze the patterns into what are known as “common rules”. The following are examples.

Financial Constraints (Money Needs)


Lack of Knowledge (Not knowing how)


Physical Laws (Laws of Nature that seem to be obstacles)


Legal Constraints (Rules that could land you in jail)


Custom or Preferences (Unwritten rules)



These rule guides allow for an organizational tool to increase the power of thinking. As a dreamer, I can gaze and think of thoughts endlessly but until I write them down those thoughts can drift away easily. In order to solve our problems in the best possible way, we must first break down any restrictions to solutions, create a varying set of techniques to address the issue, and finally- record the ideas. Essentially the combination of creativity, a limitless boundary and data collection provide the best outlining for the clearest tasks.