MBS: Creative problem solving with a pinch of Hocus Pocus

3 minute read

If you haven’t started celebrating Halloween yet (I started three weeks ago), then what better way to kick it off than with a little Hocus Pocus! The soul-sucking Sanderson sisters terrorize the town of Salem searching for youth, and only a couple of virgins, a zombie, and a 300-year old cat can stop them. Bette Midler and the other two sisters are experts at creatively solving any problems thrown at them, whether it’s Thackery Binx trying to save his sister or a little salt. As Tina Fey once stated on Saturday Night Live, “B****** get stuff done,” and these witches certainly do. Although they are assisted by magic, you can use the fabulous Sandersons’ creative problem solving method in your own work.

Willing to do whatever it takes

The Sandersons have A LOT to lose, so they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their book and Dani back in their hands. For you, that may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. For them, it means riding vacuums and pushing their own sister into a black river of death. The willingness to engage with the problem by any means will position you to open up your mind to different possibilities.

Movie B-School: Creative problem solving with a pinch of Hocus Pocus I North by Northwest Boise

Look beyond usual

When the kids escape the witches’ home with the spellbook, they hide in a cemetery at Thackery’s insistence that it is hallowed ground, and the witches could not set foot. Winifred and co., however, do a fly by and still scare the crap out of the kids. She knows they can’t touch down in the cemetery, so Winifred conveniently calls her old boyfriend Billy back to life to chase them down. Searching for alternate options is a keystone of creative problem solving. Understand that the solution doesn’t always lie within you or within set boundaries. Look beyond what is typical or what you “should” do for your answer.

At the Halloween party, Max finally has the chance to tell the parents about the witches – the Sanderson sisters are there in plain sight, after all. He jumps on stage and declares them back from the dead (ludicrous, obvi), to which the clever witches act quickly and begin performing “I Put A Spell On You.” They effectively turned themselves into mere costumed performers and allowed them to put a “dance ‘til you’re dead” spell on the parents. Boom. Problem solved.

Movie B-School: Creative problem solving with a pinch of Hocus Pocus I North by Northwest Boise

Art of deduction

And finally, an area where the Sandersons aren’t quite so successful is the art of deduction. While yes, they are 300 years behind modern society’s luxuries, these gals don’t do well when needing to make sense of a problem (aforementioned black river or the burning rain of death) and take out the unreasonable aspects. However, this is a big part of the process as well. After gathering a collection of out-of-the-box solutions, the ability to cull them down to realistic and viable options is important. The part that the Sandersons do get right, is taking action and trying out their creative solutions.

Movie B-School: Creative problem solving with a pinch of Hocus Pocus I North by Northwest Boise

To recap, creative problem solving is all about opening yourself up to other possibilities and looking outside the box, culling ideas down to the best options, and taking action!

(Images via, via, via, via)

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About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.

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