How to Use the Closed World Principle of Creativity

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How to Use the Closed World Principle of Creativity

Creative thinking can be systematic and routine. All you have to do is learn how to use your brain and learn a new way to generate high-quality ideas on demand.  

One method of creative thinking is the Systematic Inventive Thinking or SIT method. But you never want to proceed with the techniques in the SIT method without first defining the closed world. 

What is the Closed World Principle?

The closed world principle states that when solving a problem or creating a new solution, you should only use those resources that exist in the product or system itself, or in its immediate vicinity.

How It Boosts Creativity

With closed world thinking, you’re constraining yourself to this boundary. Your brain is then going to work harder and smarter, thus enabling you to generate a more creative solution. 

Elements of the Closed World Principle

  1. The closer the solution to the problem, the more creative it is.

There’s an inverse relationship between the proximity of the problem to the solution and its level of creativity. The closer your solution is to the problem, the more creative it’s going to be. The farther away you have to go to get a solution to your problem, the less creative it’s going to be. 

  1. Define your closed world.

Think of the closed world as an imaginary boundary around your product or your service or the problem that you’re facing. Then use the resources inside that imaginary boundary that you’ve drawn around your starting point. You’re essentially forming the box-inside-the-box thinking.

  1. You can change your imaginary boundary.

You can make your closed world bigger or smaller. Think of it as looking through the lens of a camera where you can zoom in and out on the subject. Everything inside that zoomed perspective is a set of components that is much different than if you now changed it and zoomed far back. If no idea comes up at first, you may need to probably zoom out a little bit and then you can always zoom in closer and closer. 

  1. Make sure you and anybody else you’re working with have the same starting point.

It’s essential that you and anybody else you’re working with will have exactly the same definition of the closed world. Otherwise, you’ll be all out of alignment and you could fumble a bit once you’re using the SIT method. 

To hear more about how you can apply the closed world principle to your business and everyday routine, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 004: The Closed World Principle of Creativity.