Creative Problem Solving
This RespectED downloadable book contains the full text from our online course Creative Problem Solving, and is available for immediate download by those who want the course content without the quizzes and assessments, or who just prefer written content.
The online course is available 24/7 in our Learning Centre where you can register and compete the course and associated assessments (Q/A after each module ) in your own time, on the fully featured Learning Management System (LMS) and receive a Certificate of Completion for your record when you have finished.
The course contents are provided below as well as an extract from the material to allow you to gauge the suitability of the book or course.
The Creative Problem Solving course will give participants an overview of the entire creative problem solving process, as well as key problem solving tools that they can use every day. Skills such as brainstorming, information gathering, analyzing data, and identifying resources will be covered throughout the workshop.
Module One: Getting Started
Module Two: The Problem Solving Method
What is a Problem?
What is Creative Problem Solving?
What are the Steps in the Creative Solving Process?
Module Two: Review Questions
Module Three: Information Gathering
Understanding Types of Information
Identifying Key Questions
Methods of Gathering Information
Module Three: Review Questions
Module Four: Problem Definition
Defining the Problem
Determining Where the Problem Originated
Defining the Present State and the Desired State
Stating and Restating the Problem
Analyzing the Problem
Writing the Problem Statement
Module Four: Review Questions
Module Five: Preparing for Brainstorming
Identifying Mental Blocks
Removing Mental Blocks
Module Five: Review Questions
Module Six: Generating Solutions (I)
Brainwriting and Mind Mapping
Module Six: Review Questions
Module Seven: Generating Solutions (II)
The Morphological Matrix
The Six Thinking Hats
The Blink Method
Module Seven: Review Questions
Module Eight: Analyzing Solutions
Analyzing Wants and Needs
Using Cost/Benefit Analysis
Module Eight: Review Questions
Module Nine: Selecting a Solution
Doing a Final Analysis
Paired Comparison Analysis
Analyzing Potential Problems
Module Ten: Planning Your Next Steps
Implementing, Evaluating, and Adapting
Module Ten: Review Questions
Module Eleven: Recording Lessons Learned
Planning the Follow-Up Meeting
Module Eleven: Review Questions
Module Twelve: Wrapping Up
Words from the Wise
Some of the ideas will not be good. If you start analyzing the ideas while you are generating them, the creative process will quickly come to a halt, and you may miss out on some great ideas. Therefore, the second rule for brainstorming sessions is to defer judgment.
Allow creativity and imagination to take over in this phase of the process. The next rule for brainstorming is to come up with the wildest, most imaginative solutions to your problem that you can. Often we might not consider a solution because of assumptions or associational constraints. However, sometimes those solutions, even if you do not end up implementing them, can lead you to a successful solution. So along with deferring judgment, allow those ideas that might be considered crazy to flow. One of those crazy ideas might just contain the seeds of the perfect solution.
Finally, use early ideas as springboards to other ideas. This is called “piggybacking” and is the next rule for brainstorming.
Basic brainstorming is a free-association session of coming up with ideas. Use the other group member’s ideas to trigger additional ideas. One member of the group should make a list of all of the ideas.
Brainwriting is similar to free-association brainstorming, except that it is conducted in silence. This method encourages participants to pay closer attention to the ideas of others and piggyback on those ideas.
Before a brainwriting session, create sheets of paper with a grid of nine squares on each sheet. You will need as many sheets as there are participants in the brainwriting session with one or two extra sheets. Plan to sit participants in a circle or around a table. Determine how long the session will last, and remind participants that there is no talking. Remind participants of the other rules for brainstorming, especially deferring judgment.
For the session itself, state the problem or challenge to be solved. Each participant fills out three ideas on a brainwriting grid. Then he or she places that brainwriting sheet in the center of the table and selects a new sheet. Before writing additional ideas, the participant reads the three ideas at the top (generated by a different participant). The hope is that these items will suggest additional ideas to the participants. The participants should not write down the same ideas they have written on other sheets. This activity continues until all of the grids are full or the time runs out. At the end of the activity, there should be many ideas to consider and discuss.
Mind mapping is another method of generating ideas on paper, but can be conducted alone.
The problem solver starts by writing one main idea in the center of the paper. Write additional ideas around the sheet of paper, circling the idea and connecting the ideas with lines. This technique allows for representing non-linear relationships between ideas.
Duncker diagrams can help with refining the problem as well as generating ideas for solutions. The diagram begins with general solutions. Then it suggests functional solutions that give more specifics on what to do. The diagram can also include specific solutions of how to complete each item in the functional solutions.
For example, Michael wanted to address the problem of his job being too stressful. He is responsible for managing up to 1500 work hours per month. He cannot find a way to complete all of his tasks within a desired work week of no more than 45-50 hours per week. He has over 10 years’ experience in public account and is interested in moving into industry. However, he is so busy, that he does not even have time to look for a new job.
The present state and desired state statements are:
- Present State: Job requires more demands on my time than I am willing to dedicate to a job I do not really care about.
- Desired State: Work a job I care about with adequate free time to spend with family and pursuing personal interests.