Adam Kahane writes When Your Team’s Path Forward Isn’t Clear, Carve It in Strategy+Business blogs that rings nicely for me.
When we collaborate with diverse others ... we carve together by sharing ideas, strengthening relationships, and taking action. Similarly, when confronted with a complex business challenge, we can approach it with the flexibility and creativity of sculptors working with clay.
The analogy he's using is the idea of creating a solution by carving it from the reality you have in front of you - as opposed to the more common approach of deciding a solution and force-fitting it onto the situation. Kahane describes three approaches in the blog post related to developing solutions together.
Try out new ways of talking and listening. This is a classic recommendation, but it still bears fruit. Listen to what others have to say - try to understand the world from their perspective. And when speaking, describe more around what I see and experience, rather than "the truth."
Build structures that enable creative collaboration. This one is trickier, as it is easy to go the easy route and make the structures available without changing anything. How many offices have plenty of open space, whiteboards, etc. but don't actually have any collaboration going on? To make it really sing, there are practices and behaviors that we all need to demonstrate. Get up in front of the white board and draw, instead of sitting in front of computers and pre-built presentations.
And finally, think of your work as a craft, not an assembly line. In craft work, we are always plying our trade and learning and adapting to the situation at hand. I've personally struggled with this at times - sometimes I just want to operate "on automatic." The reality is that my experiences and training give me a baseline capability, there is also fluidity in the work that I must sense and respond to. (And this idea brings me back to many past discussions about knowledge work as craft work.)
Solving interesting challenges requires flexibility on the part of everyone involved, even when if they may not start out with that in mind.