Problems can consume us or they can be a fun challenge, whether in our personal, family, school, societal, or work lives. The heart of strong problem-solving skills is realizing there is rarely any problem for which there is one perfect solution. Excellent problem-solvers are ones who can come up with a wide range of possible solutions, then boldly make a judgment call on one that will best fit the circumstances. We can expand our usual problem-solving strategies through puzzles, strategy games, and meditation exercises, taking advantage of our natural brain plasticity to make new mental connections and learn new skills. Collaborating to solve problems can take advantage of on another’s unique perspectives, thought patterns, and experiences to find unexpected—but rewarding—approaches.
Navi Radjou has spent years studying "jugaad," also known as frugal innovation. Pioneered by entrepreneurs in emerging markets who figured out how to get spectacular value from limited resources, the practice has now caught on globally.