My creative lesson 15: Asking different questions

12 April, 2020

This week I photographed the matzot because it was Passover and artists record what is right in front of them. Right?

The idea to turn the matzot upright for a different angle shot was inspired by a talk I heard a few years ago. The speaker taught us how to use the six colored ‘thinking hats’ of Dr. Edward de Bono to troubleshoot issues and solve problems.

The six colors — blue, black, white, green, red and yellow represent the different sides one should consider when you have to make a decision or solve a problem.

The green thinking hat, for example, represents the areas of creativity and growth that the new venture can create. Red is for the team’s emotional feelings. It can be anything from apprehensive, excited, happy or scared. Then the team has to examine of course WHY they are feeling these feelings.

It is however the black hat that is the most powerful. I have often used it in some form or another since I first heard the talk.

The black hat asks what are the negative aspects, or risks involved in the new venture. Or even better, “What is the worst case scenario?”

It is surprising how we go out of our way to justify a decision. Or only look for the good points. Reminding yourself to wear the black hat forces you to look more realistic at your issue.

Here is an example of how I once used the black thinking hat in my own life:

A while ago my husband and I considered living in a beautiful (and green!) town called Tivon. The town is in the countryside but also not too far from the city and looked like an ideal place to raise children. One day we visited the town to have a look around. The houses all looked amazing and Tivon was making a very good impression.

The girls were still young, so we stopped at one of Tivon’s tree-filled parks so that they could run around a bit. As fate would have it, an old acquaintance of my husband also brought his children to the park that day. Soon he was telling us how wonderful Tivon is and how much he and his family enjoy living there.

I remember being a bit wary to rain on his raving Tivon parade but gathered up my courage to ask him, “Can you think of one reason why it’s not good to live here?”

It turns out that the air in Tivon is not that great because of a huge industrial complex nearby. Our eldest has chronic asthma, so Tivon was immediately scratched off our list.

We probably would have found out about the air quality in Tivon at some stage or another. That question though, so early in our search, prevented us from going further along a dead-end path.

Since that day I was much more comfortable wearing the black hat.

I recently asked somebody what are the negative sides of his job. (No job is perfect, is it?) He was completely taken aback and told me that he never looked at his work from that approach.

I was surprised that he was so surprised but I knew what he meant about the different approach. The black hat allows you to turn things upside down and look for different angles.

Which brings me to my photo shoot this week…😁.

Question: What is the problem with photographing matzot for this week’s challenge?

Black hat:

  1. It is supposed to be a ‘different angle’ photo this week.
  2. Matzot’s default position is flat, like a piece of paper. This is like so unoriginal.

Me:
So I’ll take a photo from the side of the matzot.

Black hat:
It still wouldn’t be enough of a ‘different angle’ photo and people will think that you photographed a few crackers. You need to show that matzot are big.

Me:
Got it. How about placing the maztot upright between two books? This is definitely a different angle photo and quite original. Even if I have to say so myself.

Black hat:
I do not have anything else to add.

And that, dear reader, is how I got my different angle photo for week 15 :)

We often, myself included, do not like to be the ‘negative’ person. It is so much easier to just throw yourself into a new project with your eyes closed and your heart full of hope.

I also agree though that one shouldn’t just look for reasons why something wouldn’t work or why you shouldn’t try something new.

The black hat is a tool to realistically face the potential problems and see if they can be solved.

Come and join us at 52frames.com. You will learn to solve a creative problem every week and have a lot of fun doing it!

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