Quick thinking tricks

by 27 May 2008

PRODUCTIVITY, SKILL building, creativity and the energy within a company can be greatly improved if companies inject some “speed thinking” into their processes.

In a process called ultimate speed thinking, Ken Hudson, author of The Idea Generator, argues that a ten-minute meeting can often produce the same and often better outcomes than a two-hour meeting. Furthermore, he says that instead of investing in time management courses companies should focus on doing things faster.

“Old fashioned time management courses don’t give us more time to do things. Rather than saying we don’t have enough time, speed thinking increases productivity because decisions are made, problems are solved, and ideas are generated in a much shorter space of time,” said Hudson.

Carrying on from where Malcolm Gladwell left off in his book Blink, in which he explained people’s ability to use their intuition and harness our unconscious, Hudson explains and gives tools about how we actually do it. It is a process that everybody can learn and the more you do it the better you become.

There are many benefits this method can bring to an organisation. While it shouldn’t replace traditional, measured thinking completely, Hudson says, if it is introduced every so often it can inject energy into the organisation.

For example if you have a ten-minute meeting instead of a one-hour one, people are switched on straight away, the energy level is higher, people are thinking more quickly and a lot of the preamble is cut out.

“In my workshops I would give participants a task and a creative thinking tool and ask them to work in groups and to come back in 50 minutes with some new ideas. I slowly reduced the time available ... I was surprised to find that the quality of the ideas and the quantity of the ideas not only was maintained but often became better.”

There are many reasons speed thinking works within organisations. It increases creativity by unlocking the unconscious mind. Also thinking at a faster pace not only improves your mood but research has shown that it is a good way to activate and stimulate your brain.

One of the biggest barriers to high performance is our own internal critic that reminds you of what has gone wrong in the past or why something cannot be done, said Hudson. When you limit the time to solve a problem (eg two minutes) and give participants a target (eg nine responses) they literally do not have enough time to listen to their own internal critics.


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