GRASP The Solution

Summary Written by Rex Williams

The Big Idea

Think About Your Thinking

"The killer ideas and solutions that drive your business forward don't just simply fall from the sky. They come from using the power of your mind - your thinking."- GRASP The Solution, page 36

It seems that we have no problem thinking about various aspects of our life to make them better—we think about our diet, we think about our fitness, we think about our appearance—but how often do we think about our thinking? Griffiths says that if you take just one thing away from his book, it would be to think about the strategies you employ for your thinking.

Our minds are at the core of everything we do, all our reasoning, problem solving, planning, motivating, communicating, and actions. It’s the starting point for every possible pursuit or task. So the more effectively we utilize and strengthen our minds by increasing our thinking skill, the more successful we’ll be in everything we do. In other words, it’s all mental.

And Griffiths lays out principles and a system for training your mind to generate solutions to any problem or need. Innovation blooms from the soil of your mind.

Insight #1

Practice Purposeful Creativity

"Strategy is what makes creativity purposeful so we can promote unconventional and original thinking, but with practical relevance."- GRASP The Solution, page 53

Creativity isn’t just an artsy ambiguous concept for those who make crafts or paintings. Creativity is foundation from which anything new is born, and therefore deserves our most serious treatment. Griffiths offers a solid functional process for applying a purposeful strategy to your creativity. He calls it ‘The Solution Finder’, and explains how it combines three operative thinking modes to create the most productive environment for your mind.

The three modes are:

  1. Generative – we generate a wide range of possible options.
  2. Analytical – we analyze these options and gather information in order to converge to a single solution.
  3. Selective – we strengthen and reinforce our chosen solution and decide how to take it forward.

Two additional modes of thinking, Reactive and Proactive, are added to create a memorable acronym: GRASP. Each mode is described in detail and helps the reader conceptualize why their minds think in certain ways.

With these modes as the foundation, a 4 step process is laid out to find your solution.

  1. Define the problem using ‘Five Wives, One Husband, and a Map’ (a creative way to remember the technique.)
  2. Generate ideas using the correct brainstorming strategy and multiple tactics for looking at the problem differently.
  3. Evaluate ideas using convergent thinking.
  4. Build your solution and convert it into reality by making plans and taking action.

“When you provide structures, processes, and systematic techniques, you dramatically increase people’s potential to think creatively so that it becomes a regular, everyday prospect” (page 270).

‘Purposeful practice’ of creativity will help you develop the skill of creating new ideas, just like the practice of any skill is necessary to become proficient.

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Insight #2

Daydream Productively

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why."- Albert Einstein, quoted in GRASP The Solution, page 191

It’s disappointing that daydreaming has a bad rap. Only the lazy, undisciplined or spacey kid daydreams, apparently. Well, if Einstein was lazy or undisciplined then we have a lot to learn. Daydreaming holds tremendous power and can be an excellent way to encourage creative visualization and insight. Many inventors and scientists have credited daydreaming for their moments of brilliance. In fact, Albert Einstein referred to his daydreaming episodes as ‘thought experiments’. The theory of relativity was discovered during one of these episodes.

The key to productive daydreaming is to make sure that you are relaxed and not trying too hard. Yet, it still needs to be purposeful and deliberate. We need to put in the preparation and study for our mind to be able to ‘incubate ideas.’ We also need to notice when we stumble upon a new idea and make sure we capture it.

Griffiths proposes a simple two-step approach to focused daydreaming.

  1. Preparation – collect and sort all relevant information in relation to your problem and explore possible solutions (using the techniques described throughout the book.)
  2. Let your Mind Wander – switch off your attention and let the problem and all the information germinate in your mind for a while. Use simple tasks to redirect your focus, such as having a bath or shower, walking in a park, riding on a train or plane, or lying awake in the morning or night.

Overall, practice ‘mindfulness’, the art of paying careful attention to the details of the present moment, without judgment. Notice things and write them down. You’ll find new ideas in your pile of observations.

Griffiths doesn’t claim that his content is earth shatteringly new; he mostly wanted to validate what is already known about thinking and problem solving in order to create a useful methodology that will help people make the best of it. He believes that the value of the book is that it will make it easier for you to apply this knowledge systematically in a world that’s becoming more complex and fast-paced.

Read the book

Get GRASP The Solution on Amazon.

Chris Griffiths

Chris Griffiths is the CEO of ThinkBuzan, the organisation behind Mind Mapping, the thinking tool used by millions worldwide. ThinkBuzan have been leaders in creativity and innovation for over 40 years with the mission to grow ‘minds’ and help individuals ‘think’ and ‘be’ better.

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