Whole Brain® Thinking in Action: Software Development Walk-Around

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Here at Herrmann International one of our key fundamentals is that we try to "eat our own cooking" and use Whole Brain® Thinking in our own work. This post is part of a series where some of our team members talk about some ways they use Whole Brain® Thinking for their day-do-day work.

This post is by our Lead Software Engineer, Andrew Swerlick.

At first glance, software development might not seem like a job that involves a lot of day-to-day Whole Brain® Thinking. After all, a lot of what our team does seems like it's firmly situated in the technical, analytical A quadrant. Sure, we do have to collaborate with other internal teams on product design, requirements gathering, etc., but when it get to the point where our developers put their fingers to the keyboard and start writing code, all the other quadrants go away, right?

When I first started at Herrmann a couple of years ago, I probably would have said yes. But recently, our development team has adopted some practices that are showing me the value of writing Whole Brain® code.

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Creative Thinking Tips Inspired by Pokémon GO’s Development

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“Do you know how to download this?”

The woman was leaning against her car, iPhone in hand.

“Everyone’s talking about Pokémon GO, but I can’t get it to download,” she said as she frantically scrolled and swiped. “Have you played it?”

I told her no, I hadn’t played it. And assuming she eventually figured out how to download it, it occurs to me that I might just be the earth’s last holdout.

How does a simple game suddenly take off like wildfire? And what lessons can we learn and apply to the creative problems we need to tackle in our own organizations?

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Is Your Innovation Strategy Bearing Fruit?

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She’s a rainmaker. He’s the life of the party. They all have bubbly personalities, but sometimes you wish they’d just chill out.

Metaphors are one of the most common figures of speech. In fact, if you had a transcript of your conversations over the past 24 hours, you’d probably find it littered with metaphors.

But did you know that they’re also useful tools for thinking? Especially when you’re trying to think in different ways and discover new possibilities, metaphors can change your perspective and open up doors you didn’t even know existed.

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Why Problem Solving Starts with Problem Definition

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Charles Kettering, the celebrated inventor and head of research at General Motors, once said that a problem well stated is a problem half solved. Most people today would probably agree. And yet, it’s not what most people usually do.

Typically, they jump right in to brainstorming solutions before understanding what they really want to accomplish.

You can dramatically increase your problem-solving effectiveness by taking a few minutes to define the problem up front. In fact, you might be surprised at how often this step leads directly to a solution.

Take the elevator makers’ dilemma, for example.

You can imagine what it was like when elevators were introduced. People were understandably nervous about getting on them. They fidgeted and pushed buttons, impatient and waiting for the elevator to arrive at its destination. And there was a widespread perception that elevators were unbelievably slow. This led to complaints.

So, elevator makers had a problem on their hands: Can we make our product move faster?

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4 Questions that Will Improve Problem Solving in Your Group

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Due to a quality problem with a weekly shipment, a large financial publishing firm was facing a very unhappy $50 million customer.

This was obviously a very big deal. The managers were scrambling for a solution and feeling stuck. So they reached out to someone in the organization who knew about our Whole Brain® Model and asked for help.

This person pointed out that the managers had done some things very well. They’d done the analysis. They’d crunched the numbers. They’d focused on the fact-based and implementation-oriented thinking aspects of the problem by discovering what the symptoms were and how they were playing out. Yet there was something missing—a new way of looking at the problem, a shift in mindset.

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