How to defrost frozen minds

I just read what wikipedia says about ‘defrosting’.

“Defrosting is a procedure, performed periodically on refrigerators and freezers to maintain their operating efficiency.”

It goes to explain how the ice is formed and subsequently remains there affecting the efficiency of the refrigerator or any other similar equipment.

Our minds are some what similar. Over the years our mind begins to form layers and layers of perceptions based on what we see, hear and experience. These perceptions harden over time if they are not challenged often with fresh new perspectives. Fresh new perspectives enter, only when the doors to our mind is open!

When our mind is full of ‘mental frost’, hardened over time, it is difficult for us to perceive new things. It affects the efficiency and the power of the mind. The worst hit is our power to imagine. Therefore we need to open our minds often.

However, this is easier said than done. How do ‘creative people’ do this? They seek new experiences all the time.

They have a few interesting qualities:

Curiosity: Undying curiosity about life. Unending quest for learning. I saw this in David Ogilvy. He was like a kid, asking questions about things around us; things that we took for granted.

Experimentation: A willingness to test new knowledge through own experience. Willingness to learn from mistakes.

Using the Senses: A keen sense of awareness of all the five senses. Using the senses to enliven the experience. Nothing passes by as ordinary.

Acceptance: A willingness to accept ambiguity in many situations and not pushing for a cut & right, black & white answer. This shows a degree of comfort with things that are new, uncertain and sometimes fuzzy.

Facts & Feelings: Willing to see beyond facts and appreciate feelings & emotions as well. Apply logic and intuition; whole-brain thinking, without bias.

Connections: The ability make unusual connections, and find new expressions. The ability to see the same old thing in a fresh way, by connecting the dots in an unexpected manner.

Next question:

How do I train myself ‘defrost my mind’? Is that possible? It is eminently possible.

Synectics©, an organisation in US that promotes Innovation definies creativity this way.

Creativity = Function of (Climate) x (Thinking)

Innovation = Function of (Climate) x (thinking) x (Implementation)

Climate here refers to a mindset (individual and organisational) that provides a safe, non-threatening environment for thinking without fear. There are no judgment, evaluation or punishments. Such a climate allows for experimentation and there is no pressure to be right all the time. In such a climate we always go beyond the first right answer.

Once you have a congenial climate then people can ‘defrost’ their minds without fear or favour. This climate nurtures experimentation, and a ‘what if’/‘why not’/‘how about’ approach to thinking.

Creative Block Busting© is a workshop that addresses these issues. It shows how to define a problem sharply, generate ideas freely, select ideas smartly, develop ideas carefully, and communicate these ideas compellingly to get support from top management.

The workshop design is simple, the process is enjoyable and the thinking is rigorous. I often refer to it as the ‘software for the mind’. Just as you can use a word processor across all functions and departments, you can use Creative Block Busting© across all functions and departments. It is especially useful for those people who believe or think “I am not creative”, because it demonstrates that every one of us is indeed creative.

Does Creative Block Busting©  help in ‘defrosting frozen minds? What do people who have been through the workshop have to say?

Take a look at these comments:

“I learned  a lot on fear of failure. The concept of coming out with new ideas from every small thing present around us was great…”

“By attending a workshop, we got an answer for ‘Are we Creative ?’
Yes, now we can proudly say  ‘YES , We are Creative’!”

“A Great learning and interactive training program. Best part, I really enjoyed it and felt relaxed throughout. The important point was that , we could suggest and express our innovative ideas (many of which sprung up during the training) and leave the venue with concrete plans and timelines to achieve our objectives.”

“Always wondered where those creative thoughts came from. Realised from this training that you can guide the mind to come out with structured ideas. I specially liked the process of collecting and then distilling ideas. Team work, blocks and solutions all came to fore…”

“I attended the workshop you recently conducted in Pune at Parc Estique.
It was ‘beyond brilliant’! I seriously did not think that I was capable of generating the ideas that I did. Frankly, I came prepared to be bored and thought I would require a few cups of coffee to keep me awake!  But in reality, I barely had time to drink coffee as I was so busy listening to you and penning down my ideas. “
“One of the most interesting workshops attended. I liked that the engagement levels of the team and also the stress busters were very creative! It was very interesting to see the triggers and output generated ! Eye opening from the fact that some people who were “categorised” as process driven were one of the most creative !”

“So you are blowing your own trumphet?” Prasna** seemed a trifle displeased.

“No Prasna, look at their comments. It is more about what they got. It is how they could defrost their minds. Read what they say:

did not think I was capable of generating the ideas, I did’

‘Eye opener – people who were categorised as process driven were one of the most creative’”

“So what works here?”

“People thaw their minds in a nice relaxed way. As the mind defrosts it finds it easy to explore new ideas.”

I like thawing the mind than defrosting. Seems more human”

“May be you are right.”


Picture by karina y available under a Creative Commons Attribution- licensed for commercial use.
**Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears every time I start writing something. He is almost always there when I am writing my blog. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple, clear terms. You might find that he is most of the times asking questions that you want to. Therefore he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock. I call him my Uninvited Coach

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