The Importance of Adaptability & Openness

As the Research Assistant on the TENT project, I (Victoria Webb, Honours BBA Marketing Management) engage in initiatives to learn and gain new experiences. By keeping an open mind, I know when I need to apply a business or artistic mindset; doing so allows me generate new perspectives that help ideas flow and help me quickly adapt when solving challenges. In this article, I propose taking these few steps on how to switch between business and artistic mindsets, so you can become more adaptable.

1. Be Curious

When presented with a challenge, seek to ask questions to clarify the situation. Often, many of us will try to ask questions that lead to a narrow and forced solution. By asking open-ended questions, multiple perspectives emerge that assist in exploring potential solutions. Brainstorming open-ended questions leads to new possibilities and helps one develop an agile mindset.

2. Embrace Multiple Perspectives

Sometimes it is difficult to embrace multiple perspectives: we often have a tendency to conform to existing models and reject new possibilities. However, when working on a challenge, a single point of view is too small of a lens to look through. That is why it is important to have a large number of people that can bring diverse perspectives to a project. This way, each individual is less likely to align to a single perspective and be a victim of groupthink.

Seeking new perspectives can enhance your learning and provide the opportunity to uncover new solutions. In this step, it is important to hold back from forming an opinion, as openness to different perspectives broadens the mindset leading to more possible solutions. The business and arts mindsets come together in this stage, and produces insights that are creative and lead to valuable results.

3. Examine the Broad View

It is tempting to take pieces of the challenge and solve them individually at a time. However, by moving to fast to solve the smaller pieces of the system, it can lead to spending too much time on the many interrelated parts. Instead, stepping back and looking at all the board patterns can generate details and insights.

4. Open Up to Experimentation & Improvement

It is critical to understand the importance of being open to changes. I constantly seek opportunities to step out of my comfort zone to learn from others.  It contributes to an individual’s emotional tolerance and mental power to conquer challenges. When it is time to implement a solution, experiments should be used to test the desired solution. Experiments are able to exploit gaps in processes and indicate areas for improvement. Being open to improvements and changes shifts our mindset to allow amazing things to be uncovered.

Over time, resolving complex challenges will become more enjoyable and efficient. Never blame yourself for rejections, mistakes, and failures as they are critical pathways for reinventing solutions in a constantly changing world. I experimented by gathering different research information to build new concepts that are not presented in an outline for the task. By experimenting outside the parameters given, I am able to gain feedback from peers to further improve upon the vision I want to achieve.

A diagram comparing Victoria's business and creative mindsets

5. Self-Reflect on Coping Mechanisms

Self-reflection helps me transform failures into valuable learning opportunities. Developing a reflect practice has really helped me become comfortable with risk-taking and experimentation. If you are an extrovert, draw your inspirations from other people that surround you like family,  friends, and peers as they can lead to new insights. If you are an introvert, spend time alone to better analyze the situation and find a solution. By utilizing your natural tendencies and following your intuition, you to feel that the solution you have chosen is the right one.

The way we deal with setbacks that can significantly affect your future success. Always reflect on coping mechanisms to keep improving and making changes to the way you form a solution. When switching up methods of problem solving, forging new solutions and learning from mistakes can make it easier to forge ahead in new directions. Be bold and try to run towards things that others run away from. This will lead you to become more self-confident in your personal and professional life.

When I first started participating in TENT, I would initially approach problems from a marketing perspective. However, I have learned to look at problems from multiple perspectives, as it allows me to enhance my problem-solving capabilities. I express the business and creative aspects of my personality by expressing my thoughts on different activities and challenges. I have learned it is critical to become adaptable and open minded. In today’s world, new ways of thinking must be accepted in order to achieve success.

When you open your mind, creativity can emerge!