Kaleidoscope thinking. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
We all know what a kaleidoscope is: a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured material such as glass or beads. The colours are reflected in the mirrors, creating beautiful patterns that we can view by looking into one end of the tube. Rotate or twist the kaleidoscope, and an endless variety of patterns form.
So what is kaleidoscope thinking?
According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor in business at the Harvard Business School, who coined the term "kaleidoscope thinking," our perspective on reality can become fixed.
Kaleidoscope thinking is deliberately shaking up our ideas, challenging conventional ways of thinking, and finding new ways of seeing.
Kaleidoscope thinking is the opposite of remaining locked in one pattern. It is rearranging the pattern, finding new relationships among the elements of reality.
In the words of Professor Kanter, it is constantly asking "Why?" and "Why not?"
We can only be creative when we look at reality from different angles, challenge our assumptions, and search for new perspectives.
A kaleidoscope has a fixed number of elements. Nothing is added or removed. Patterns are formed and reformed from the same set of ingredients.
When we look at a problem, most of what we need to solve it is already known. To find creative solutions, all that might be necessary is to give the kaleidoscope a twist.