The problem with problem solving? It isn’t ridiculous enough.

Ask very silly questions to spur very serious innovation.

  • To get really innovative solutions to complex problems, you need to abandon logic, says Dan Seewald.
  • Asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions pushes us down lateral paths of thinking versus the vertical or logical path. The latter approach is practical but it doesn't break new ground.
  • Breaking with tradition through lateral thinking allows us to solve really serious problems, from climate change to political turmoil. Or, as Dan Seewald explains, it could just help you solve all your laundry headaches.
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Superhumans: The remarkable brain waves of high-level meditators

The countdown continues! This is the #3 most popular video of 2018.

  • People who have meditated for thousands of hours exhibit a remarkable difference in their gamma brainwaves.
  • "All of us get gamma for a very short period when we solve a problem we've been grappling with, even if it's something that's vexed us for months. We get about half second of gamma; it's the strongest wave in the EEG spectrum," explains Goleman. In high-level mediators, gamma is a lasting state they experience constantly. Science has never seen it before.
  • Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman says we can actually see what happens in the heads of those who have achieved "enlightenment" and the results are unprecedented in science.
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Five traits that boost your connectional intelligence

Want to solve problems faster? Learn to unleash your connectional intelligence.

  • Erica Dhawan explains the five C's of connectional intelligence: curiosity, combination, courage, community, combustion.
  • Using case studies from Colgate and Frito Lay, Dhawan explains how networked problem-solving can create million-dollar opportunities.
  • Connectional intelligence is a teachable skill set that leads to big-picture thinking. Expertise doesn't come top down from ivory towers; genius ideas are everywhere — if you know where to look.

How diversity melts away our biases, and technology is the great equalizer

The most revelatory answers in life come from complex, diverse populations. Technology can open our eyes to what we're missing and destroy our subconscious biases in one fell swoop.

Being close-minded is like being in handcuffs—you can't let yourself out, someone has to pop the lock for you. That's why diversity matters, says neuroscientist Beau Lotto. Meeting others unlocks our perception. We spend our lives in the cuffs of our own assumptions, but encountering people who think and act differently teaches us so much about ourselves, and what we may have been blind to up until that point. If creativity is the act of thinking differently, then surrounding ourselves with a diversity of people, with diverse life experiences, can radically expand our field of possibility. Technology is another way to do that, says Lotto, and if you leaf through history it's apparent that the most radical technological breakthroughs are the ones that have expanded our perceptions: the printing press gave us books, which let us see other people's stories; the telescope gave us the universe, which gave us curiosity (and humility); the ship gave us mobility, which gave us cultural and material trade. Technology enables us "to see things that we could never have seen before," and it makes the invisible visible, says Lotto. The more layers of meaning we can detect—whether through diversity or technology—the better we're able to think, innovate, and connect. Beau Lotto's new book is Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently.

If You're Thinking Rationally, You’re Not Thinking Hard Enough

Your mind is built to process contradictory, irrational ideas. Use that to reach new intellectual heights.

We know it's a myth that "humans only use 10% of their brains," but there might be a function of your mind that you're neglecting to use: its sandboxes. Eric Weinstein borrows this term from computer science to explain the potential of experimental thinking. A sandbox in computing is a secured place where untrusted software can run without controlling the computer or accessing its vital resources. Security specialists, for example, use sandboxes to analyze how malware behaves. Once they see and understand how it works, they can then devise a strategy to defeat it, and strengthen their own system to prevent it from getting in again.

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