One of my favorite parts of Real Simple magazine is the section where they show new uses for old things. I am not very creative, so it is difficult for me to imagine more than one use for a particular item. If I have a paper clip, I use it to clip papers together, and that is all. I would never think of creating a paper clip chandelier.
When we find an uncommon use for a common item, that is critical thinking at work. If you can overcome the assumption that an item only has one use you unlock a world of opportunity. Knowing this, it is not surprising that critical thinking has a .40 correlation with creativity. When we remove our assumption that one item has one use, we open ourselves up to new solutions.
Can you find a new use for an old item (idea) in your work today?
Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens. She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training. She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting. She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.