Last week I had a few days writing in the sun. The hotel was very nice, the breakfast very average.

Two days running, the early morning team managed to make the world’s worst double espresso. Weak, too much liquid, lukewarm. Yuck!

I asked how they made them and they said it was just a button on the machine. Hmmmmm …

I wanted to see that machine, to be a hero, to get out my screwdrivers and to save all those other disappointed double caffeine-deprived breakfasters.

On the third day, when I was about to describe in great detail what a double espresso should be like, Christine suggested that I should just chill and ask for two single ones.

Every piece of my logical brain screamed that it wouldn’t make any difference. I just wanted to explain that the ONLY way to fix the problem would be to fix the machine. Right?

Then my old mantra, ‘Do you want to be married or do you want to be right? You can’t have both’ popped up – and I politely asked for two single espressos.

And they were perfect! Delicious, hot and strong.

How we approach a problem is often governed by old thinking.

And, as you know, you can’t solve your problems with the same thinking that caused them in the first place.

New Thinking = New Results

With the political turmoil around the world right now, I wish political ‘leaders’ would park their egos, ask better questions, acquire some fresh thinking and go for new and better results.

But that would involve having to let go and be open-minded.

What are your best creative thinking tools?  Please leave your comments below and I’ll send a copy of my book, Flip It how to get the best out of everything to my favourite one.

Be Brilliant!



  1. March 28th 2019 by Zameer

    But now every other customer will also get a poor coffee when ordering a double expresso, if you had fixed the machine/told the servers to make 2 for everyone, then everyone gets to enjoy the happiness

  2. March 28th 2019 by Karin Carruthers

    Sleep on it overnight! Think about the situation before you go to sleep, (see if anything conjures up in your dreams) if not relook at the situation in the morning, if you still ‘feel’ your answer is perfect, go with it. If not… rethink and try something new!

  3. March 28th 2019 by shane rigby

    A quiet room (no coffee) and lateral thinking using mind manager (mind mapping). Works for me.

  4. March 28th 2019 by Kevin Capper

    my best creative tool “is to listen to the thoughts and opinions of others and take time to consider the possibilities of each individual opinion and combined thoughts and then from there formulate a response and forward direction” i already have “flip it” and it has taught me a huge amount in the positive spectrum of lifes choices

  5. March 28th 2019 by Didi

    Stap uit de slachtofferrol welke je weghoudt van “sterk” denken

  6. March 28th 2019 by manuel Rose

    Best Thinking Tool

    There is no need to reinvent the machine actually, Just Drop.

    Drop the Ego
    Drop the Complains/Excuses
    Drop the Need to solve everything
    Just drop!

    When You just Drop, your mind energises itself and You actually will have this capacity Rise and come up with Creative, innovative 💡 ideas

    For we know we are all born with a Splendid Mind that is capable of Thinking well, when we learn to Just Drop.

  7. March 28th 2019 by Anonymous

    i find sometimes when struggling with a tough problem or needing a little more creative thinking, it is best to get a few more individuals thoughts to open your mind to solutions you may not have thought of. When you think you have got to a solution or end result always go back and ask ” have we fully solved the problem that we are looking to resolve? have we had to compromise on the result and should we have to?

  8. March 28th 2019 by Jenny Williams

    I try to imagine what would (be the worst that could) happen if I didn’t do anything to solve the problem/situation. Sometimes it then becomes clear to me that it doesn’t actually NEED changing, or sometimes a thought will just pop into my head of an easy workaround!

  9. March 28th 2019 by David Mason

    Whiteboard, various formats depending on the topic. then walk away and come back to it, add any other ideas, rinse and repeat. usually a idea will present itself unexpectedly or a picture will start to form from all the different ideas. Try to think and approach from different perspectives.

  10. March 28th 2019 by Alan Rafferty

    Some years ago I was working on a computer generated report that needed to go on one page but couldn’t because there were too many columns needed with each column having two blank spaces (one before and one after). After everyone else had tried reducing the number of columns I simply wrote a routine to delete the extra blanks. Since then I have used this process a lot. The first thing I do with creative thinking so that my mind does not concentrate on extraneous detail is ‘delete the blanks’. By this I mean anything that does not work, anything unimportant or irrelevant, and anything that has been considered already.

  11. March 28th 2019 by Rory Conner

    bbbhi Michael I say try humor for creative angles how would this look be etc. how would this coffee be if it was labeled tea? or in an edible cup? or a ridiculous spoon

    thanks Michael

  12. March 28th 2019 by Steve Merritt

    Start with a belief there are at least 5 options/routes/solutions

    And be rigorous about writing them down

    The first one is easy – becuase that will be the automatic response

    The second is to do nothing/leave it as it is – often a good positive choice

    Now work on the next three – having to think around the previous two will generate creative alternatives

    If you are really good at this set the target at 7 alternatives. Personally find 5 is enough and prevents having duplicate/ridiculous solutions.

    Hard work to start with but once it becomes a normal practice it achieves amazing results

  13. March 28th 2019 by Heidi Strickland-Clark

    Do you want to be married or want to be right?! Made me laugh! Had to tell Mr SC of course 🙂

  14. March 28th 2019 by David Buchan

    Wait and see – check the facts – clear the view ahead – make the decision

  15. March 28th 2019 by Margaret Whittaker

    Need!! Then think outside the obvious.

  16. March 28th 2019 by Steven Watson

    I love it! Reminds me of the whole 5+4=9 and 7+2=9 thing I’ve seen a few times. Plus I feel your pain with the wife being right all the time – glad it’s not just me!

    My favourite creative thinking tool at the moment is reaching out to people who’s ideas I love, to ask them who’s work has inspired their thinking. I’ve found this often leads me to the seeds that their ideas grew from, and results in a lot of opportunities for my own creativity.

    Thanks for your inspiration and support.

  17. March 28th 2019 by Martin Dobinson

    Think laterally… what do you actually need ?
    Then take another 10 minutes allow the idea to percolate like good coffee give it time and air …

  18. March 28th 2019 by Hazel

    Go for a run and spend the first 10 minutes just looking around and not thinking about the problem. A break often brings a bit more clarity.

    If I can’t get away I write brief notes about the issue and then reorganise them to make some logical sense. Often gives gaps that I need to fill to find the solution.

  19. March 28th 2019 by Susan

    I love doing “World Cafe” for creative inspiration. We set up a table with a paper tablecloth that can be written on and we come up with ideas to solving problems by sitting around, discussing, drinking coffee (with biscuits) and noting the ideas on the tablecloth.

  20. March 28th 2019 by john

    Good, better, best, never let it rest, until good is better and the better best. Just try until u find a solution hopefully…

  21. March 28th 2019 by Victoria Carr

    A good coffee takes you away from the daily grind.

  22. March 29th 2019 by Ally Hollins-Kirk

    Standing in the shower, it requires no thought, keeps the body occupied, and frees the mind to wander and create ideas

  23. March 29th 2019 by Martin

    Change perspective, it’s only when I look at what I would expect from the other side that my thinking changes. I teach. I often ask what do my pupils want and what do they need? This helps me to dilute me and act more on their behalf. This works best when you are in a calm moment way from stresses.

  24. March 30th 2019 by Dorothy Fioravanti

    I love your FLIP IT book…thank you

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