Tapping into the spaces between the thoughts. It is the zone you seek in rapidfire brainstorming exercises. Chanting mantras can get you there as well. For me, it comes in the mindless moments when I am out for a run.
Divide and conquer was the tenet of the great American mass production industry; which worked fine as long as there was one product for all. Toyota dipped back into the original doctrines of Henry Ford and discovered that efficiency could better be achieved by rethinking the product in terms of value, and then organizing to allowing for flexibility in product, worker training and manufacturing setup. Of course, there has since been a deviation from that path – with consequences.
The word “hybrid” comes to mind as a result of breaking old patterns and mixing things up. Like linking gas and electrical sources in a Prius, or the FLP Group Utility’s experiment in using the sun’s power as an adjunct to coal or gas in producing electricity. Pulling the best technology from tank and on-demand water heaters produced the 98%+ efficient Eternal Heat. Hybrid is nature’s way of evolving - lovable mutts, stronger plants, resistant flu viruses…
Hybrid construction also calls for a change from old patterns. The Lean Construction process works by pulling together professionals and trades right from the design stage, to work through clash detection, identify optimal solutions for an integrated delivery, and eliminate any waste which doesn’t contribute to long term value. Product solutions happen through a cross-over of CSI categories, but process solutions require hybrid thinking.
Next time you get stuck on a problem, try this little experiment. Take any piece of paper with writing on it and turn it with the writing upside down. Now find a letter which has a little enclosed space, such as “a,” and stare into that space as if this were to portal to Starship Enterprise. That’s it. Your mind will want to stray back to “busy”ness, but keep heading out to outerspace. You’ll know when it’s enough. Don’t expect any earthshattering epiphanies the first time, but sufficient practice will help you tap into this space between your thoughts – and your own hybrid solutions.
Let me know how well it works. The world needs you.