You must have watched the 4 part video series Everything is a Remix right? Where the point is made that nothing is new, but everything is a combination of previous things.
Now, if you’re a person that prides him/herself to being a problem solver, an entrepreneur or similar, you must have discovered for yourself that it is actually quite hard to see opportunities and to combine elements together to find solutions or opportunities. It is generally something that you would have to train yourself in.
Tony Fadell explains it very well in his TED talk. He explains that to design great things you need to be open and see the things that you’d normally take for granted. He mentions that comedians like Jerry Seinfeld are really good at this.
I fully agree with Tony, but he is missing something I believe. To be really great at finding solutions or seeing opportunities, what you need also is a good memory. Or at least have a good mind that remembers snippets and knows where to resurface them again.
Point in case.. We had some issues with the sealing of ends of round plastic sleeves. Our products need round sleeves over certain parts them to protect them. This sleeve needs to be sealed on the top. Our sister company found out that by using a heat shrink tube over the sleeve and heating it you could seal the end easily. Done deal we thought. But when we tried it, the black opaque heat shrink sleeve made it hard to see where to heat it and how much to heat it.
Then someone says:”Why don’t we use a transparent heat shrink sleeve?”. Duh.. we tried that and eh presto.. works a charm every time! We can now see through the heat shrink tube to see what is going on.
Now where I was going with this is.. I didn’t even know that heat shrink came in transparent material! So my colleague had access to this knowledge and quickly solved the issue for us, whereas I wasn’t too sure on how to solve it..
So.. You only get so far by being open and looking at situations freshly and think outside the box. You will also need to have a good amount of knowledge. And ideally about a varied range of subjects. Then you can really connect the dots that others cannot.
If you have never listened to Greg Proops I suggest that you do. He is an amazing improv artist and the only way he can come up with this stuff on the spot and see things we cannot, is that he has lots of information in his head..
Think about it.. If you had your brain linked up to the internet, how many problems could you then solve and how funny an improv could you be with all the info to draw from!?