Last week we were trying to find a solution to a tough product decision. Here is what we did: We asked 5 product designers to spend a week on it (we do this time to time and call it design week).
In the beginning they were pretty hopeless. They started trying different things. During the middle of the week, I met with them to see where they were. I was also pretty hopeless. But one of the designers found a way to solve the problem in an elegant way which also solved many other problems.
Here is the twist. We’d have never found that solution if we attacked the problem head on. Because this Designer wasn’t very familiar with that feature, she made a weird unexpected illogical change and that change opened the door for the accidental discovery of the good solution.
: Parunak, H. Van Dyke. "Go to the ant": Engineering principles from natural multi-agent systems. Annals of Operations Research 75 (1997): 69-101.
reminds me of https://aeon.co/ideas/what-i-learned-as-a-hired-consultant-f... , which i think is a pretty neat ethnography of the "crank"/pseudoscientist phenomenon.