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Creativity saves lives: Lessons from a Navy Captain

Three years into the US war with Vietnam, the US had suffered terrible losses of pilots and fighter planes. 644 pilots were killed, missing, or taken as prisoners of war. They had also lost 532 aircraft in combat.

In 1968, 33-year old lieutenant commander Dan Pedersen was assigned to create a new fighter school at the Navy's Miramar Air Station near San Diego to help stop the loss of all these pilots and planes. An extensive study, called the Ault Report, was done into the reasons for the losses. The report showed that were problems with the aircraft missile systems and that the pilots were not following the rigorous technical specs for the missiles. In essence, the pilots were not following the rules. The directive given to the young lieutenant was he needed to enforce the rules and teach the pilots to be more disciplined and stick to textbook laws of tactics.

When the young Lieutenant Pedersen took over, he applied more expansive, creative thinking. When he examined the report, he...

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Lessons in creative problem solving from India

"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." John A. Shedd

Celia and I have recently returned from an exciting and eye-opening trip to Hyderabad, India. We were invited by  My Choices Foundation to deliver training to their team of 60 leaders as part of their 10-Year Anniversary celebrations. My Choices Foundation (MCF) is an NGO that aims to give women, children and families choices to live lives free from violence, abuse and exploitation. 

We thought we were going to share our creative thinking, innovation and Insights Discovery learning with the leaders of MCF.

But we were wrong.

We were going to learn from them.

Here are three of the many lessons in creative thinking that we’ve learned over the past two weeks in India that you can apply to any problems you may be trying to solve.

(If you are wondering how My Choices Foundation (MCF) works and how we ended up in India, read...

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