This assignment is to write a four-page (typed and double-spaced) paper based in part on your reading of the text, Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life, by Ozan Varol. Approximately two pages should be devoted to each of the two parts described below; both parts should be numbered.
Varol on page 149 summarizes an aspect of the creative thought processes of two individuals within NASA after the 1999 crash of the Mars Polar Lander, which had relied, in part, upon the shock absorbing feature of its three legs: “In the end, two questions that reframed the problems ended up producing one of the most successful interplanetary missions of all time: What if we used airbags instead of a three-legged lander? What if we sent two rovers instead of one?” Asking these two creative questions helped to allow NASA to have a very successful mission: the air bags worked effectively to cushion the landing on Mars, and one of the rovers continued to operate until 2018 and the other until 2019. Varol on page 151 states, “Just because a hammer is sitting in front of you doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for the job. Only when you zoom out and determine the broader strategy can you walk away from a flawed tactic.”
Please identify and thoroughly describe an instance in your life when, in retrospect, you believe that you missed an opportunity to use this “reframing the problem” aspect of creativity in reaching an important decision or in overcoming an important challenge. Please describe specifically why you did not reframe the problem in this instance, and why reframing the problem would have likely led to a better strategy and a better result. In addition, please relate your failure to reframe the problem with an instance described in the text where an individual or an entity similarly failed to reframe a problem, with negative consequences. Please include a description of the narrow, flawed tactic that was a part of the question that you framed as the problem, and what would have been a creative way to have reframed that question.
Please summarize your most important critical thinking insights from your work in Part I in identifying and describing an instance in your life where you missed an opportunity to use this “reframing the problem” aspect of creativity, and in comparing this to a selected instance from your text where an individual or an entity similarly failed to do so. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines insight as “the power or act of seeing into a situation.” An insight would include something new that you learned and can apply to your own life from having peered into this reframing the problem aspect of creativity. An insight would also include what you learned about the importance of using this reframing the problem aspect of creativity in other aspects of your life. An insight would also include what you would now do differently to foster this reframing the problem aspect of creativity. In addition, please discuss how one or more of the Attributes of a Critical Thinker (being open-minded, seeking truth, articulating relevant premises, being thorough, using logic and reason, and communicating effectively) relate to this reframing the problem aspect of creativity.
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