Creative Problem Solving


Challenging Assumptions

Sensing and challenging unconscious constraints

Vadim Kotelnikov

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo




"In all affairs it's a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."  ~ Bertrand Russell

"Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups." ~ Wethern’s Law of Suspended Judgement   More Assumptions Quotes


Kore 10 Tips for Challenging Assumptions Resistance To Change Challenging Assumptions Knowledge Creativity Logcal Trap e-Coach Vadim Challenge Assumptions, knowledge trap, Vadim Kotelnikov, Dennis


  4 WHYs of True Success


Challenge Assumptions

Kore 10 Tips KoRe 10 Tips

  • Recognize that everyone, including yourself, has ingrained assumptions about every situation, and keep in mind that so-called common knowledge may not be correct... More


6 Barriers To Creative Thinking and Innovation

10 Kaikaku (Radical Improvement) Commandments

By Hiroyuki Hirano

  • Don't accept excuses; totally deny the status quo... More



The Jazz of Innovation

11 Practice Tips

Tips for Challenging Assumptions

By Paul Sloane

Five Strategies for Creating a Culture of Questioning

  • Do Differently: Encourage people to challenge assumptions; run “The Best Question” contests... More

The Starting Point of Innovation and Growth

Assumptions play a vital part in creative thinking and your serendipity

Challenging assumptions means questioning the everyday things you take for granted. "The best assumption to have is that any commonly held belief is wrong," says Ken Olson, CEO of DEC.

Creative Dissatisfaction


The natural thing to do is the thing you have always done. Every time you approach problem you bring your accumulated experience, knowledge and training to bear on it. But this includes you accumulated assumptions and biases – conscious and unconscious. The more experienced and expert you are, the more likely you are to assume outcomes by extrapolating from the known facts and experiences to predict a result. This mental baggage can prevent you from accepting innovative ideas.

Problem Solving Strategies: 4 Levels

Creative Problem Solving

Turn Problems to Opportunities: 6 Tips

Sometimes the way you frame a problem contains an assumption that prevents you from solving it. In Middle Ages the definition of astronomy was the 'study of how the heavenly bodies move around the Earth', i.e. the Earth was considered to be the centre of universe which resulted in the chain of wrong explanations of various phenomena. "Similar ideas exist in most businesses – assumptions that underpin most strategies and decisions, and that are so fundamental that they are never challenged," says Paul Sloane.3

3 Levels of Your Creativity

Ask Searching Questions

Creativity requires an inquisitive mind. Unless you ask lots of "Why?" and "What If"? questions, you won't generate creative insights >>>

Make a Difference!

"To avoid this most common of creative errors, be sure to peek under all carpets, including your own. Don't take anything for granted. Especially success. Try looking at the world through more inquisitive eyes; try getting ideas in motion; try asking the all-important: "Why?" See what happens!" says Alexander Hiam.3 ... More

10 Commandments of Innovation

Question everything. Challenge assumptions, ask "Why?" and "What If?" questions constantly... More

Making Conscious Assumptions

Making conscious assumptions is a key tool of a creative thinker. "No great discovery is made without a bold guess," said Isaac Newton.

Assumptive thinking is not the same as guessing though. Making an assumption is more like using a tentative step... More


Managing Assumptions

Managing assumptions is very important for your success.

Yin Strategies

Managing assumptions include being able to empathize, to understand perceptions and expectations, to sense the unconscious constraints or rules that you or others impose on situations, problems, judgments, decisions, individuals, teams, and organizations.

Yang Strategies

To be able to manage assumptions also encompasses challenging assumptions, being  imaginative and making conscious assumptions as tentative hypotheses to explore various possibilities, and inviting others to explore these conscious assumptions, generate and cross-pollinate ideas. In entrepreneurial simulation games, such as INNOBALL, anticipation of possible challenges ahead is a form of conscious assumptions.

Probing Assumptions

Critical-thinking questions can be used to explore and manage assumptions. Here are sample Socratic questions:

▪ What are you assuming?

▪ How did you choose those assumptions?

▪ What could we assume instead?


 Exercises  Check Your Assumptions


A doctor in London had a brother in Manchester, who was a lawyer. But the lawyer in Manchester did not have a brother in London who was a doctor. Why?  >>>



Alan Alda quotes

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in.

Alan Alda







1. Effective Innovation: How to Stay Ahead of the Competition, John Adair

2. Improve Your Lateral Thinking: Puzzles To Challenge Your Mind, Paul Sloane

3. Creativity, Alexander Hiam