Set Breakers

What are ‘Sets’?

Definition for those with lots of time: A state of perceptual readiness to assess a problem situation in a particular way, to adhere to that assessment and to perform, in accordance with that assessment, actions which do not lead to a solution, or which lead to cumbrous solutions.

Definition for those in a hurry: Using the wrong brain software to solve a particular problem.

What are ‘Set Breakers’?

If sets lead to the wrong solution, set breakers lead to the right solution.

What can they do for me?

Our height, intelligence, personality and the wealth of our parents is relatively fixed by the time we enter the working world. However, what we can change is our ability to solve problems. Although there are numerous authors with an interesting ‘take’ on thinking skills, the process of problem solving is still very much an enigma.

We are often ‘stumped’ by a problem, because the sets we use overpower an alternative that is more suitable.

In each issue of Business Today, we will present a concise problem that challenges conventional ‘sets’, giving you a broader repertoire of problem solving skills over time.

Just like moderate exercise three times a week strengthens your heart, Set Breakers give your mind the exercise it needs to form additional problem-solving patterns. Don’t try and find direct application for these problems – they’re exercises. However, after a number of weeks you should begin to feel ‘sharper’ at solving problems – business and personal.

Set Breaker #1: Oil and Water

Set Breaker #2: Wason’s Four Card Reasoning

Set Breaker #3: Breaking the Chain

Set Breaker #4: Availability Bias

Set Breaker #5: Perceptual Neigh

Set Breaker #6: Figure and Ground

Set Breaker #7: The Hiker

Set Breaker #8: Shades of Grey

Set Breaker #9: Burning Rope

Set Breaker #10: Piece of cake