Think Like MacGyver!

Do you remember MacGuyver, the 1980’s TV show about a super smart, secret agent who used everyday objects to solve problems and survive the most impossible situations? While most of series is pure fiction, there are lessons to be learned from MacGyver’s actions – his resourcefulness, ingenuity and creativity. 

In her article Think Like MacGyver: Creative Resilience in the ‘Developing World’Heather Fleming, CEO of Catapult Design, explores the 4 factors that enable his success – four enablers of creativity:

1. He is a do-er. It’s easy for teams to sidestep creativity when taking on a new endeavor by quibbling over objectives. Ambiguity is uncomfortable. MacGyver uses action to work through the ambiguity. He could sit and have a discussion about his options, or create a tradeoff matrix, but he chooses to learn by doing.

2. His resources are defined. One of the first things we do at the start of a design project is figure out what we know and what we don’t know. We make constraints. It’s a contrast to what we associate with creativity—which is blue-sky, free-thinking, no rules. But the lack of constraints, or lack of a creative process, is in fact a deterrent to producing innovative results.

3. His goal is clear and a deadline is imminent. For MacGyver, the bomb is always ticking down. He has a defined amount of time. Failure is not an option. It’s similar to that feeling you get the night before a deadline, when the creative adrenaline rushes in at 2 a.m. The pressure is necessary to drive action.

4. He doesn’t have to ask for permission. Imagine if MacGyver had to stop with 15 seconds left on the bomb ticker to get clearance to use a set of pliers. Creating an enabling environment—tools on hand, creative ‘places,’ ‘time’ for creativity, diversity in thought—is what helps him get the job done.

See full article here: GOOD

Photo by: Michael Mayne

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