Decision patterns unleash creativity

Because I really believe in the power of decision patterns (and I am making them available as part of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) web services), I often get the opportunity to recommend the use of these patterns to individuals.  I generally make the same points:

  • Decisions create your future – they provide a unique set of proactive “control knobs” that you can grasp today.  [Response: “That’s a cool idea; I never thought of that”]
  • Proven decision patterns exist that you can use to quickly frame and take control of your situation [Unspoken response: “Wow! but I’m really unique and special, so how can someone else’s pattern really fit me?”]
  • Decision patterns unleash (don’t stifle) creativity  [Unspoken response: “But I’m so unique and special, I don’t really need to follow someone else’s pattern to get the job done”]

Our nature and nurture make that last 2 points hard to swallow.  I still remember the glow of pride I felt at age 4 when I first counted to 100; I was convinced that I had done something unique; never before accomplished by someone my age.  A few years later, I came home one afternoon and announced, “My teacher says that I’m the smartest kid in fourth grade”.  (Much to my mother’s chagrin; she’s spent the next 45 years running ahead to measure doorways to make sure my head won’t get stuck).  We all cherish the thought of being special and actively (though subconsciously) defend this notion, even when it’s not supported by the cold, hard facts.

This leads to some awkward moments when I attempt to persuade folks to try Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF):

Potential customer:  “I see how decision patterns could be really helpful; you should contact Joe (or Sue, Fred) – they could really use this!”

Me: “Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate success with your decisions first?”

Potential customer: “Uh…” (Make up excuse here without saying that I’m too unique and special to adopt anyone else’s patterns).

Me: “Bob, don’t you think … (Gently challenge their attempted dodge without saying that “You’re not that special!”)

I have lots of experience and rational arguments that I can use to explain why decision patterns unleash creativity.  Decision patterns frame the problem domain without constraining the solution space.  They create a knowledge and solution pull.  They help identify important unknowns that need to be known.  They save time that can be used to focus on the part of the problem where creativity has the highest payback.  They highlight areas for optimization in existing solutions.  They yield insights on the structure and expected behavior of alternatives.  They provide innovation nodes that can be the focus of useful and efficient brainstorming and innovation techniques.

However, I’ve found that the rational arguments don’t generally get through the individual’s “I’m special” filter unless there are other external pressures that have ratcheted up their perceived fear and cost of failure.  Competitive pressures or recent flops have a way of triggering “Perhaps I’m not that special” doubts and creating teachable moments that make folks more amenable to get some outside help.  But only for a little while…

Unleash creativity through decision patterns by learning more about the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). We encourage you to start a DDSF trial today. Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
This entry was posted in Decision Concepts, Decision Patterns and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s