Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Improving Creativity

Working in Collaborative Law, one of the great joys of the process is creating new solutions to problems that the parties may have felt were impossible to resolve.

I recently ran across an article from Scientific American magazine that dealt with creativity and gave some encouraging ideas on how to increase creativity in people. You can read the article and you may get some ideas that will help some aspect of your life. As I read the article, I thought about how it could be applied in the Collaborative Law context. Here are some possible ways to increase creativity in Collaborative cases by temporarily changing your reality to work from a different point of view. (These are just my creations and are not based on science or even from suggestions in the article, but I invite you to take a look and have a little fun with it.)

  • Change some variables. On children's issues, you might try changing the number of children you are working with, or change the schedules that affect the children or each parent, or change locations where the parties may be, or change the financial status. For financial issues, you can change the assets under consideration, change the amounts available, change the needs, change locations, etc. If you modify some variables, create some solutions under the different set of facts, and that may generate new solutions that could be transformed to fit your situation. At the least, it should make both parties more open-minded and broaden the range of possible solutions.
  • Change the context or location. If you are in Texas, for example, try finding solutions the same parenting or financial issues that you have, but pretend you live in California or Minnesota or Kansas or New York City or somewhere else completely different. Again, the idea is to open up your brain to consider really different circumstances, which might help generate really different solutions.
  • Change the perspective. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Reverse the parenting roles for a while. Try looking at the situation from a grandparent's perspective or from the point of view of a mutually respected friend. Consider how someone with more or less money or different job experiences or education might view the issues in property division. Be a third party who is trying to help someone else come up with ideas.
The point of all that isn't to waste time or to generate useless or irrelevant ideas. The point is to exercise and expand your brain, to make it more accepting of off-beat or unique ideas that might ordinarily be rejected or not even considered.

This is a technique that can be used in a case where the parties are having trouble solving problems and coming up with new ideas. It doesn't need to be utilized in the ordinary case where the parties work effectively together and are able to find acceptable solutions. In a difficult case, however, it's another option to be explored. If you have occasion to try this, please write in and let us know how it works.

Credit for the link to the article also goes to a tweet from Jonathan Jordan, a/k/a