The second wall: common sense


To start with, pushing out the wall of common sense requires the insight that the first solution is not always the best. On the contrary, the rule of thumb is that it is never the best. In order to focus your attention on common sense, you should ask yourself questions of the type: ‘Could anyone have thought of this idea?’ If the answer is yes, then the solution is not a creative result, because someone has probably thought of it already, in which case your solution is neither unique nor meaningful.

Let us start with an exercise that probably feels familiar. Join the dots in Figure 13.1 with a minimum number of lines.

It is a fairly safe guess that you joined the dots with four lines in the form of an arrow, in the way that was shown on page 62. At best you remembered the solution and drew it from memory. At worst you looked back to Chapter 6 in order to reproduce the solution. In both cases, you have provided evidence of how we are inhibited by common sense, as this tells us that there is a certain given solution. Mental activity is therefore focused on finding the given solution as quickly as possible. It is implied by the expression itself, ‘common sense’, that the solution should be found quickly: ‘It must be like this, you can figure it out using common sense without complicating things.’

Figure 13.1

The first answer is often the right one, ...

Get Creativity Unlimited: Thinking Inside the Box for Business Innovation now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.