Creative problem solving

Creative problem solving

When conventional thinking has failed, we need a little help finding solutions to problems. That is how creative problem solving comes in, it further involves identifying these opportunities and afterwards solving these problems. What creative problem solving does is that it encourages someone to seek out fresh perspectives thereafter forming innovative solutions in order to formulate plans to overcome these obstacles and reach your goals.

In 1963, Alex Osborn formed a strategy, the CPS Strategy that one can use in order to solve problems. Sidney Parnes, who followed him thereafter invested nearly 40 years thinking about the creative process and he also taught creativity workshops. (members.optusnet.com, n.d.) the creative problem solving process has six steps; mess-finding (objective finding), fact-finding, problem-finding, idea-finding, solution finding (idea evaluation), acceptance-finding (idea implementation)

What the steps do is that they guide the creative process. They guide you in each immediate step in order to produce more creative and workable solutions. In each step, divergence and convergence is involved. In divergency, the divergent thinking phase involves generating a lot of ideas (problem definitions, ideas, facts, evaluation criteria and implementation strategies). The convergent phase involves the most promising ideas which are then selected to be explored further.

Starting with objective finding, it involves identifying a goal, wish or challenge that you would like to achieve. To prod your thinking, you can use the following list of questions:

  • Which of your goals aren’t fulfilled yet?
  • What would you like to accomplish?
  • What would you like to do/have/ do better?
  • Where do you feel inefficient?
  • Is there something you would like to organise in a better way?
  • What ideas would you like to get going?
  • What would you like to get others to do?
  • What makes you angry, tense or anxious?
  • What do you complain about?

Fact finding involves gathering data. It uses questions such as who, what, when, where, why and how. For example;

  • Who should and who shouldn’t be involved?
  • What is and what is not happening?
  • When does this happen or when should it be happening?
  • Where does it occur?
  • How long does it occur?

Clarifying the problem comes under the third step which is problem finding. It involves asking what the problem that needs to be focused on and what concern needs to be addressed. Once problems are listed down and their alternative definitions are put in place, it will help determine the nature of their solutions. You can begin this step with statements such as “in what ways might we/I”. Further proceed with;

  • What is the real problem?
  • What is the main objective?
  • What do I really want to accomplish?
  • What do I want to do this?

Idea finding unveils the possible solutions on how to solve the problem. The divergent thinking stage is involved here entailing a series of brainstorming where idea-generation techniques, also known as creativity, can be used. This process uses no forms of criticism or evaluation because the ideas are proposed freely in each problem definition that has been accepted in stage two.

The fourth step, which is solution finding involves the person thinking about how to strengthen the solution and how to select the solutions in order to know which one works best for you.

The steps related here are; criteria for the listed evaluation, the ideas are then evaluated using evaluation matrix and one or more best ideas are selected. Questions involved here are;

  • Will it work?
  • Is it legal?
  • Are the materials and technology available?
  • Are the costs acceptable?
  • Will the public accept it?
  • Will higher-level administrators accept it?

The next plan of action is acceptance finding. What are all the action steps that need to take place in order to implement your solution? Acceptance finding looks further into ways to get the ideas into action. This may involve creating an action plan, which is a plan containing specific step to be taken and a timetable for taking them.