You know that game Pictionary? You draw something and your teammate has to guess what it is before the timer runs out?
Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash
Think about the process your teammate has to go through - quickly making mental connections between your scrawl and whatever the hell it could be. Your teammate's brain is looking for a match against something it may have seen and remembered before.
Meanwhile, your teammate's mouth is shouting out nonsense answers that bear no resemblance to what you're trying to draw.
Now take this process and apply it to a problem you want to solve.
Can't draw? Don't worry, this isn't going into Tate Britain. It's just for you.
Start trying to draw your problem - stick men, doodles, blobs, squiggly lines, anatomical parts(!) - whatever comes to mind. Go abstract. Perhaps turn each aspect of the problem into a shape. Or different marks on the page.
You may be trying to make a connection between one thing and another, or find a difference between them. If so, draw the other 'thing' as well. No matter what you end up drawing, have a look and see how each one is different, or if they're the same.
Maybe your problem is that you need to make something bigger or smaller - like find more money, or reduce costs. If so, draw the same thing but smaller, or bigger, where relevant.
Keep drawing. Stakeholders, issues, blockers - turn them all into a doodle.
Why does this work?
Unless you draw in your day job, drawing wakes up another part of the brain that most of us don't use in our everyday lives. By drawing, we're using our hands for something other than typing a text, sharing an Insta post, or picking our nose. It lights up our synapses.
New gestures = new ways of seeing = new ways of thinking.
And if you're particularly proud of what you've done - well, why not pin it on the fridge?