Finding new ways of looking at things

I’ve always loved solutions to problems that are found by looking at the problem in a different way.

Bill Gates the technology entrepreneur turned philanthropist was talking about how he’d realised the reason his polio vaccination programme was failing in Nigeria was because of inadequate maps.

Basically they were relying on old colonial era maps with inaccurate borders and so anyone living on a regional border was at risk of being missed from the programme. Region A thought region B were covering it and vice versa.

They didn’t need a bigger team, more vaccine, a bigger budget. They just needed maps. And when they were provided, the programme turned around.

Bill Gates was looking at things differently. He’s known for it, he’s probably a genius. But you don’t have to be a genius to look at things differently, just be willing to be curious.

So for example if someone is feeling anxious I may well ask them “Where in your body is that feeling?” and when they’ve located it, I may ask “Which way is the feeling moving?” or “If that feeling had a colour what colour would it be?”

And those willing to be curious may well notice they have the answers to some or all of those questions. And knowing that gives us a different way of looking at the problem, a different map, and opens up different solutions.