Studies show that people solve problems more quickly & creatively when they think about them in the abstract. However, when faced with challenges in our proximity (space/time/social connections), people tend to think concretely. Thus when solving problems, it can be useful to take a step back and/or find others to problem-solve with you. More tips for creative collaboration in Daniel Pink’s article.
Sounds like yet another reason to continue working across business unit lines. Regular check-ins, discussions, and design reviews may help to move our projects forward more quickly & with higher quality.
By the way, there have been times when this technique has been quite helpful:
When partners aren’t an option, establish distance yourself. Create some psychological space between you and your project by imagining you’re doing it for someone else or contemplating what advice you’d give to another person in your predicament.