“Unconventional thinking leads to incredibly new possibilities”                                    ~Anonymous

Problems come in different shapes and sizes. Solutions to these come in shapes and sizes to match requirements of the problems. The path from identifying to resolving conventional, common-place problems can be straight-forward or immensely tortuous. The solutions may be arrived at via conventional means and measures – this is what happens in most cases – or they may compel you to stray from the straight and narrow.

Normal way of doing things

Conventional thinking means the usual, normal way of doing things in your organization,        family, community or society. You conform to cultural norms in behavior, thinking and action. Unconventional thinking is the exact opposite – thinking and then doing what is against cultural norms. This is what leads to innovations and inventions, small or big.

While some people may seek the unconventional because their nature demands that they do so, most people look for unusual, alternative solutions only when they are pushed to the wall and cannot really find a way out through normal channels. These are the times when the mind is at its most creative and gives birth to original, ingenious, innovative ideas.

These may be difficult to implement but will be pioneering ideas that will have a tremendous positive impact in the long run. Unconventional thinking has been popularized in recent times by the term “thinking out of the box” which basically encourages people to look for answers by thinking beyond the obvious.

Complicated processes

You do not need complicated processes or implements to initiate imaginative ideas. All that is required is the ability to look at things from a different perspective, to look for ways and means that have not been attempted earlier, to try a new slant on things and chances are you will come up with some path-breaking ideas.

When the unexpected happens or when you do not see a way out, then the mind moves into critical thinking mode and you think of what is unusual and different and unconventional to help you out of a troublesome situation.

Paucity of funds

In business if you are faced with tremendous paucity of funds and are being pushed to close your operations, you will force your mind to work out creative answers to your difficulties. Having easy help at hand in times of trouble inhibits your thinking and stunts the mind’s capacity to tackle challenges creatively.

Cases of unconventional thinking that has brought rich dividends are aplenty. Some instances in India come to mind quite easily. The “jugad” vehicle used in rural areas and small towns is basically a mode of transport made by assembling a water pump motor and a wooden cart. Since it is not officially a “car” it  does not attract road tax. It is cheap to put together and transports people and things in areas where there is a lack of public or private transport.

In parts of Northern India, washing machines are used to churn butter or to make lassi, in bulk. In other parts of the country piles of rice and hay are spread out on the highways for natural threshing by passing trucks and other heavy vehicles. The torch with a handle – Commander Lantern – was designed to enable villagers to hang it from the bar of their bicycle when they travelled at night in the dark, a distinct improvement over the traditional oil lantern.

The trick is to seek the unusual and you will come up with answers that will come as a surprise even to you.