Problem Solving: Random Reading Revelations

Problem Solving: Random Reading Revelations

In today's fast-paced world, leaders and teams are often faced with problems that demand unique solutions. Traditional problem-solving techniques can sometimes lead us to familiar, clichéd answers. However, our environment holds countless stimuli that, if accessed randomly, can lead to surprising insights. One such unique approach is the "Random Reading Revelations." You can use this independently or incorporate it into a team meeting to generate fresh ideas and insights.


Imagine you're faced with a dilemma. Perhaps it's a business challenge or a creative block. Instead of mulling over it for hours, try this:

  1. Grab the first book you see, be it a novel, a workbook, or a science manual.
  2. Open it to a random page.
  3. Close your eyes and point to a place on the page.
  4. Open your eyes and read the first paragraph you come across.
  5. Relate this completely random passage to your problem. Ask yourself, "How can this change my perspective?" or "What analogy can I draw from this?" You might be surprised at how this unrelated text can prompt a fresh, innovative way to view your challenge.

For instance, let’s say you're trying to figure out how to market a new product. You open a fantasy novel to a paragraph about a protagonist navigating a maze. This could make you think: is introducing the product like navigating a maze? Are there barriers or 'walls' preventing your target audience from understanding the product? Can you provide them with a 'map' to better comprehend its benefits?

Team Problem Solving for Remote Team Instructions:

This activity can easily be scaled up for team settings, especially with remote teams. Here's how:

  1. Define the problem at hand during a virtual team meeting.
  2. Ask each member to grab a random book near them and repeat the steps of the Random Reading Revelations.
  3. Have everyone share their random paragraph and their insights.
  4. The collective brainstorming can result in a diverse array of ideas, analogies, and solutions. Some might be far-fetched, while others might be the breakthrough you were looking for.

The Power of Random Stimuli

At its core, this technique leverages the power of randomness and our brain's incredible ability to find connections even in seemingly unrelated stimuli. By introducing an element of surprise into our thought processes, leaders and teams can break free from conventional patterns and tap into our innate creativity.

So, the next time you're stuck in a problem-solving rut, remember that inspiration might just be a bookshelf away!

About the Author

Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.

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