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Adams' Blocks to Conceptualization

Perceptual Blocks

  • Stereotyping: Seeing what you expect to see
  • Difficulty in isolating the problem
  • Tendency to delimit the problem area too closely
  • Inability to see the problem from various viewpoints
  • Saturation
  • Failure to utilize all sensory inputs

Emotional Blocks

  • Fear of making a mistake; of failing; of risks
  • Intolerance of ambiguity (and desire for certainty)
  • Preference for judging ideas rather than generating them
  • Inability to relax, and “sleep on it.”
  • Lack of challenge, or its opposite, excessive zeal
  • Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality

Cultural Blocks

  • Taboos
  • Fantasy/reflection is a waste of time
  • Playfulness is only for children
  • Reason, logic, numbers, practicality are good;  feeling, intution, qualitative judgments, pleasure are bad
  • Tradition is preferable to change
  • Any problem can be solved with scientific thinking and lots of money

Environmental Blocks

  • Mistrust and lack of cooperation among colleagues
  • Autocratic boss who values only own ideas; does not reward others
  • Distractions—phone, easy intrusions
  • No support for implementing ideas

Intellectual/Expressive Blocks

  • Using the wrong problem solving language (e.g., visual, verbal, kinesthetic, mathematical, spiritual, etc.)
  • Inflexible or inadequate use of problem-solving strategies
  • Lack of accurate information
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