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Next in the line up of constraints we're going to talk about individual

constraints.

Let's start with now with intellection.

We just talked about perception and I want to talk about intellection.

So perception is bringing the information in and

now the problem is what do we do once we have the information inside?

We might think of this problem really is,

is how do we come up with new solutions to new problems?

Not old solutions to new problems, right?

We want to get to new places if we're going to have innovation.

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So the kind of, let's call them four sub-constraints,

the kind of problems that you face inside of this problem of thinking.

So one is problem framing.

It's like where do we draw the boundaries around the problem that we're facing?

The second might be the problem solving strategies that we used.

How was that we approach the problem?

And there are different strategies that we can use, and

if we use the same strategy all the time, that's problematic.

We have premature convergence.

That is where we come in on an answer that we think is the right answer too soon, and

we really haven't explored the space enough.

And then there's also the problem of persistence.

Where we don't carry through,

we just basically lack of persistence in a way that doesn't allow us to get to

the most optimal new solution to the problem that we're trying to solve.

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So let's talk about problem framing for a moment.

A good friend of mine, Jim Adams, wrote a book, I think it is one of the greatest

books on creativity ever written, is called Conceptual Blockbusting.

In that book, he's got a problem.

It's called the no line dot problem.

I want to take a look at this problem.

1:25

So here's a line dot problem.

We have nine dots and your job is to draw no more than four straight lines,

without lifting the pencil from the paper that will cross through all nine dots.

See if you can do this.

Just you grab a piece of paper, put nine dots there, and see if you can do it.

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Again, make sure you don't curve the pen, that you don't curve the lines.

That you actually, they're straight lines and there is only four of them.

Well here's one solution to the problem.

You notice anything about the solution?

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The solution actually requires you to leave the frame.

There is actually looks like there are nine dots and

you actually have to leave that space, that implicit square,

in order to solve the problem, because you have to break the frame.

And I think this is where the term thinking outside the box comes from.

Is where we have to sort of go outside of a little box that's implicit in those

nine dots.

2:13

So, again here is the problem where we don't frame it probably.

Where we look at the problem and we see it small problem and

we can't think about going outside the lines.

And that's a constraint we bring on ourselves.

That's not something that's in the rules of this problem.

So if you can do it with four lines, you can probably do it with three lines.

Do you think you can do it with three lines?

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So how about this solution?

So we take the nine dots and

we start with the idea that the dots are not infinitesimal points.

The dots are actually dots.

I'm showing you some dots with actual size.

And so what we can do is we can start a line that starts on the outside edge of

one dot.

Comes up, goes through the middle of the next dot and

goes through the inside edge of the next dot.

Goes up until it has to connect again, then comes back down at a slight angle.

Goes all the way down and comes back up again in at a slight angle.

And so we've connected all nine dots using just three lines.

That seemed a little bit easier than the one before.

Okay well if we can do it with three lines,

we can probably do it with two lines.

Let's just get right down to business lets get down to one line.

How could you solve this problem using only one line?

3:20

So you may have come up with some of these solutions.

One big fat line, that's one way to do it.

Turn the paper in the plane, and draw a line through that.

And that would get through the edges of the line.

That would be another way.

You might even cut the pages, cut the dots out.

Put them in a line and draw across there.

There is one we call the statistical method, where you crumple up the paper,

and jab the pencil through it a number of times.

And you'll have a distribution of times that you've made it through.

And there's a certain number of dots and on and on and on.

There's so many different ways that we can do it using only one line.

So what should be interesting is, it's so easy with one line and

it's so hard with four lines.

If I had said at the very beginning, draw one line through these nine dots,

between one and four lines and connect all the dots starting with one line,

you might have actually gotten it.

So again, it's about framing the problem and

how is it we bound the problem that we're faced?

Generally problems are not going to be given to us in ways that are easy to

solve, and so we want to think about the framing.

So one thing about framing is that we frame problems in ways to help ourselves.

We frame problems in ways that make them easier to solve.

We frame the problems in ways that make it safe to go forward.

We may be told to do a problem in a certain way.

The boss comes in and says I want you to do this problem in this way.

And so that frame is set for us and it's very difficult to go outside of that

because it may feel risky, it may feel unsafe.

And that's what we have to do though, if we're going to be innovative.

We have to press past that frame.

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Now let's talk about problem solving strategies,

the ways that we solve problems.

We've become seduced by the ways we solve problems.

Maybe you're really good at math, and so

what you will tend to do is go around looking for problems as if they were math

problems, because math problems are the ones that you're good at.

And being good at a problem solving method makes you want to do more of that,

because it feels good to be good at something.

And what we have to do is to make sure that we're are not seduced by our problem

solving strategy and that we are actually always applying the right problem solving

strategy to the particular problem.

It is not about what we're good at, it's about what is suitable for that problem.

5:17

So let me give you couple of exercises here.

So here is an exercise in your mind.

So do this in your mind and then you'll hit pause in a moment.

In your mind, figure out how many capital letters of the English alphabet

use curved lines in them using a simple font like this one.

And don't count on your fingers or write them down.

So again, how many capital letters of the English alphabet use curved lines?

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How many did you come up with?

Now write that number down.

Now I'd like you to do the exercise again.

So now I want you to take a look here and do the exercise again in your mind.

Determine how many capital letters of the English alphabet use curved lines in them

using a simple font like this one.

Don't use your fingers and don't write them down.

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That was a lot easier the second time, wasn't it?

Hopefully I did not introduce any new information.

And we all know what the alphabet looks like, but

somehow it's easier the second time.

Why is that?

6:09

One thing is that the two parts of our brain,

the part of our brain that looks at for shapes and

does that kind of determining which an A, does an A have this?

Does a B have this?

That's one part of our brain.

Another part of our brain is to keep tally.

Well was that one, two, or B.

What is a B? Two is that one or three?

And all of a sudden we're sort of at jumble because we're going back and

forth in parts of our brain, literally in parts of our brain.

It's very difficult to keep track and do the shaping, sorting at the same time.

And so here's one where we have this problem solving,

even this the raw material of our brains makes it really difficult to solve certain

kinds of problems.

Here's another problem that we may have, let me go grab a piece of paper and

I'll be right back.

6:56

I actually have a large piece of paper.

It's the thickness of a normal sheet of paper, but really large.

I mean I'm just sort of showing you here, but

imagine this were a really gigantic piece of paper.

So in your mind, what I want you to do is to imagine this piece of paper,

the thickness of a normal sheet of paper.

I want you to fold it in half once.

Now there are two layers.

Then fold it in a half.

Obviously, there are four layers.

Fold it again.

7:19

If I were to continue folding this, so

we see this thing is getting kind of a thickness here.

It's thicker than a one sheet of paper.

If I continued folding this over 50 times, how thick would it be?

I know you want to say you can't fold it 50 times.

That's why I said in your imagination, imagine a large piece of paper.

If I were imagine folding this 50 times, how thick would this piece of paper be?

Put it in my pocket.

7:45

Some estimates that I've gotten in my classes somewhere between here and here,

and five miles, and everything in between.

Some people this big, and some people gigantic.

7:54

Well, let's take a look at how would we do the math?

Well, let's take 500 sheets of paper.

500 sheets of paper or a ream of paper is about this thick,

about 5 centimeters thick.

8:09

So how many sheets do we have?

Is it 2 times 50, is it 50 squared, is it 2 to the 50, is 50 to the 2?

Well actually, the answer is 2 to the 50.

And so 2 to the 50 is this gigantic number.

It's a pretty big number here isn't it?

But we get to take some zeros off the back,

because we were measured in millimeters, right?

So we have to bring that in.

And so the thickness actually is 112, what is that 112 billion meters.

That's pretty thick.

Which means it's about 112 million kilometers.

Now, how thick that is, that's about between halfway from here to the sun.

That's about 70 million miles, if you think of miles.

Or 112 million kilometers, halfway to the sun.

How can that be?

How can this little stack of paper just by folding it over about 30 or

40 more times reach halfway to the sun?

9:04

Well one thing we may think about is that what I try to do is trick you by

bringing a real piece of paper out and sort of showing you that.

And pushing you into a problem solving mode where we use our visual, we're trying

to use our visual senses to solve the problem, instead of actually using math.

If I had said get out a calculator and try to solve the problem 2 to the 50,

very quickly your calculator would say, this is a gigantic number.

It would kick into scientific notation, and you would understand this is

a gigantic number and we need to think about this differently.

I don't think I need that right now.

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