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What Is Creative Problem-Solving & Why Is It Important?

Business team using creative problem-solving

  • 01 Feb 2022

One of the biggest hindrances to innovation is complacency—it can be more comfortable to do what you know than venture into the unknown. Business leaders can overcome this barrier by mobilizing creative team members and providing space to innovate.

There are several tools you can use to encourage creativity in the workplace. Creative problem-solving is one of them, which facilitates the development of innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Here’s an overview of creative problem-solving and why it’s important in business.

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What Is Creative Problem-Solving?

Research is necessary when solving a problem. But there are situations where a problem’s specific cause is difficult to pinpoint. This can occur when there’s not enough time to narrow down the problem’s source or there are differing opinions about its root cause.

In such cases, you can use creative problem-solving , which allows you to explore potential solutions regardless of whether a problem has been defined.

Creative problem-solving is less structured than other innovation processes and encourages exploring open-ended solutions. It also focuses on developing new perspectives and fostering creativity in the workplace . Its benefits include:

  • Finding creative solutions to complex problems : User research can insufficiently illustrate a situation’s complexity. While other innovation processes rely on this information, creative problem-solving can yield solutions without it.
  • Adapting to change : Business is constantly changing, and business leaders need to adapt. Creative problem-solving helps overcome unforeseen challenges and find solutions to unconventional problems.
  • Fueling innovation and growth : In addition to solutions, creative problem-solving can spark innovative ideas that drive company growth. These ideas can lead to new product lines, services, or a modified operations structure that improves efficiency.

Design Thinking and Innovation | Uncover creative solutions to your business problems | Learn More

Creative problem-solving is traditionally based on the following key principles :

1. Balance Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Creative problem-solving uses two primary tools to find solutions: divergence and convergence. Divergence generates ideas in response to a problem, while convergence narrows them down to a shortlist. It balances these two practices and turns ideas into concrete solutions.

2. Reframe Problems as Questions

By framing problems as questions, you shift from focusing on obstacles to solutions. This provides the freedom to brainstorm potential ideas.

3. Defer Judgment of Ideas

When brainstorming, it can be natural to reject or accept ideas right away. Yet, immediate judgments interfere with the idea generation process. Even ideas that seem implausible can turn into outstanding innovations upon further exploration and development.

4. Focus on "Yes, And" Instead of "No, But"

Using negative words like "no" discourages creative thinking. Instead, use positive language to build and maintain an environment that fosters the development of creative and innovative ideas.

Creative Problem-Solving and Design Thinking

Whereas creative problem-solving facilitates developing innovative ideas through a less structured workflow, design thinking takes a far more organized approach.

Design thinking is a human-centered, solutions-based process that fosters the ideation and development of solutions. In the online course Design Thinking and Innovation , Harvard Business School Dean Srikant Datar leverages a four-phase framework to explain design thinking.

The four stages are:

The four stages of design thinking: clarify, ideate, develop, and implement

  • Clarify: The clarification stage allows you to empathize with the user and identify problems. Observations and insights are informed by thorough research. Findings are then reframed as problem statements or questions.
  • Ideate: Ideation is the process of coming up with innovative ideas. The divergence of ideas involved with creative problem-solving is a major focus.
  • Develop: In the development stage, ideas evolve into experiments and tests. Ideas converge and are explored through prototyping and open critique.
  • Implement: Implementation involves continuing to test and experiment to refine the solution and encourage its adoption.

Creative problem-solving primarily operates in the ideate phase of design thinking but can be applied to others. This is because design thinking is an iterative process that moves between the stages as ideas are generated and pursued. This is normal and encouraged, as innovation requires exploring multiple ideas.

Creative Problem-Solving Tools

While there are many useful tools in the creative problem-solving process, here are three you should know:

Creating a Problem Story

One way to innovate is by creating a story about a problem to understand how it affects users and what solutions best fit their needs. Here are the steps you need to take to use this tool properly.

1. Identify a UDP

Create a problem story to identify the undesired phenomena (UDP). For example, consider a company that produces printers that overheat. In this case, the UDP is "our printers overheat."

2. Move Forward in Time

To move forward in time, ask: “Why is this a problem?” For example, minor damage could be one result of the machines overheating. In more extreme cases, printers may catch fire. Don't be afraid to create multiple problem stories if you think of more than one UDP.

3. Move Backward in Time

To move backward in time, ask: “What caused this UDP?” If you can't identify the root problem, think about what typically causes the UDP to occur. For the overheating printers, overuse could be a cause.

Following the three-step framework above helps illustrate a clear problem story:

  • The printer is overused.
  • The printer overheats.
  • The printer breaks down.

You can extend the problem story in either direction if you think of additional cause-and-effect relationships.

4. Break the Chains

By this point, you’ll have multiple UDP storylines. Take two that are similar and focus on breaking the chains connecting them. This can be accomplished through inversion or neutralization.

  • Inversion: Inversion changes the relationship between two UDPs so the cause is the same but the effect is the opposite. For example, if the UDP is "the more X happens, the more likely Y is to happen," inversion changes the equation to "the more X happens, the less likely Y is to happen." Using the printer example, inversion would consider: "What if the more a printer is used, the less likely it’s going to overheat?" Innovation requires an open mind. Just because a solution initially seems unlikely doesn't mean it can't be pursued further or spark additional ideas.
  • Neutralization: Neutralization completely eliminates the cause-and-effect relationship between X and Y. This changes the above equation to "the more or less X happens has no effect on Y." In the case of the printers, neutralization would rephrase the relationship to "the more or less a printer is used has no effect on whether it overheats."

Even if creating a problem story doesn't provide a solution, it can offer useful context to users’ problems and additional ideas to be explored. Given that divergence is one of the fundamental practices of creative problem-solving, it’s a good idea to incorporate it into each tool you use.


Brainstorming is a tool that can be highly effective when guided by the iterative qualities of the design thinking process. It involves openly discussing and debating ideas and topics in a group setting. This facilitates idea generation and exploration as different team members consider the same concept from multiple perspectives.

Hosting brainstorming sessions can result in problems, such as groupthink or social loafing. To combat this, leverage a three-step brainstorming method involving divergence and convergence :

  • Have each group member come up with as many ideas as possible and write them down to ensure the brainstorming session is productive.
  • Continue the divergence of ideas by collectively sharing and exploring each idea as a group. The goal is to create a setting where new ideas are inspired by open discussion.
  • Begin the convergence of ideas by narrowing them down to a few explorable options. There’s no "right number of ideas." Don't be afraid to consider exploring all of them, as long as you have the resources to do so.

Alternate Worlds

The alternate worlds tool is an empathetic approach to creative problem-solving. It encourages you to consider how someone in another world would approach your situation.

For example, if you’re concerned that the printers you produce overheat and catch fire, consider how a different industry would approach the problem. How would an automotive expert solve it? How would a firefighter?

Be creative as you consider and research alternate worlds. The purpose is not to nail down a solution right away but to continue the ideation process through diverging and exploring ideas.

Which HBS Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Continue Developing Your Skills

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, marketer, or business leader, learning the ropes of design thinking can be an effective way to build your skills and foster creativity and innovation in any setting.

If you're ready to develop your design thinking and creative problem-solving skills, explore Design Thinking and Innovation , one of our online entrepreneurship and innovation courses. If you aren't sure which course is the right fit, download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.

what is creative problem solving in english

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Article • 10 min read

Creative Problem Solving

Finding innovative solutions to challenges.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

what is creative problem solving in english

Imagine that you're vacuuming your house in a hurry because you've got friends coming over. Frustratingly, you're working hard but you're not getting very far. You kneel down, open up the vacuum cleaner, and pull out the bag. In a cloud of dust, you realize that it's full... again. Coughing, you empty it and wonder why vacuum cleaners with bags still exist!

James Dyson, inventor and founder of Dyson® vacuum cleaners, had exactly the same problem, and he used creative problem solving to find the answer. While many companies focused on developing a better vacuum cleaner filter, he realized that he had to think differently and find a more creative solution. So, he devised a revolutionary way to separate the dirt from the air, and invented the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner. [1]

Creative problem solving (CPS) is a way of solving problems or identifying opportunities when conventional thinking has failed. It encourages you to find fresh perspectives and come up with innovative solutions, so that you can formulate a plan to overcome obstacles and reach your goals.

In this article, we'll explore what CPS is, and we'll look at its key principles. We'll also provide a model that you can use to generate creative solutions.

About Creative Problem Solving

Alex Osborn, founder of the Creative Education Foundation, first developed creative problem solving in the 1940s, along with the term "brainstorming." And, together with Sid Parnes, he developed the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process. Despite its age, this model remains a valuable approach to problem solving. [2]

The early Osborn-Parnes model inspired a number of other tools. One of these is the 2011 CPS Learner's Model, also from the Creative Education Foundation, developed by Dr Gerard J. Puccio, Marie Mance, and co-workers. In this article, we'll use this modern four-step model to explore how you can use CPS to generate innovative, effective solutions.

Why Use Creative Problem Solving?

Dealing with obstacles and challenges is a regular part of working life, and overcoming them isn't always easy. To improve your products, services, communications, and interpersonal skills, and for you and your organization to excel, you need to encourage creative thinking and find innovative solutions that work.

CPS asks you to separate your "divergent" and "convergent" thinking as a way to do this. Divergent thinking is the process of generating lots of potential solutions and possibilities, otherwise known as brainstorming. And convergent thinking involves evaluating those options and choosing the most promising one. Often, we use a combination of the two to develop new ideas or solutions. However, using them simultaneously can result in unbalanced or biased decisions, and can stifle idea generation.

For more on divergent and convergent thinking, and for a useful diagram, see the book "Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making." [3]

Core Principles of Creative Problem Solving

CPS has four core principles. Let's explore each one in more detail:

  • Divergent and convergent thinking must be balanced. The key to creativity is learning how to identify and balance divergent and convergent thinking (done separately), and knowing when to practice each one.
  • Ask problems as questions. When you rephrase problems and challenges as open-ended questions with multiple possibilities, it's easier to come up with solutions. Asking these types of questions generates lots of rich information, while asking closed questions tends to elicit short answers, such as confirmations or disagreements. Problem statements tend to generate limited responses, or none at all.
  • Defer or suspend judgment. As Alex Osborn learned from his work on brainstorming, judging solutions early on tends to shut down idea generation. Instead, there's an appropriate and necessary time to judge ideas during the convergence stage.
  • Focus on "Yes, and," rather than "No, but." Language matters when you're generating information and ideas. "Yes, and" encourages people to expand their thoughts, which is necessary during certain stages of CPS. Using the word "but" – preceded by "yes" or "no" – ends conversation, and often negates what's come before it.

How to Use the Tool

Let's explore how you can use each of the four steps of the CPS Learner's Model (shown in figure 1, below) to generate innovative ideas and solutions.

Figure 1 – CPS Learner's Model

what is creative problem solving in english

Explore the Vision

Identify your goal, desire or challenge. This is a crucial first step because it's easy to assume, incorrectly, that you know what the problem is. However, you may have missed something or have failed to understand the issue fully, and defining your objective can provide clarity. Read our article, 5 Whys , for more on getting to the root of a problem quickly.

Gather Data

Once you've identified and understood the problem, you can collect information about it and develop a clear understanding of it. Make a note of details such as who and what is involved, all the relevant facts, and everyone's feelings and opinions.

Formulate Questions

When you've increased your awareness of the challenge or problem you've identified, ask questions that will generate solutions. Think about the obstacles you might face and the opportunities they could present.

Explore Ideas

Generate ideas that answer the challenge questions you identified in step 1. It can be tempting to consider solutions that you've tried before, as our minds tend to return to habitual thinking patterns that stop us from producing new ideas. However, this is a chance to use your creativity .

Brainstorming and Mind Maps are great ways to explore ideas during this divergent stage of CPS. And our articles, Encouraging Team Creativity , Problem Solving , Rolestorming , Hurson's Productive Thinking Model , and The Four-Step Innovation Process , can also help boost your creativity.

See our Brainstorming resources within our Creativity section for more on this.

Formulate Solutions

This is the convergent stage of CPS, where you begin to focus on evaluating all of your possible options and come up with solutions. Analyze whether potential solutions meet your needs and criteria, and decide whether you can implement them successfully. Next, consider how you can strengthen them and determine which ones are the best "fit." Our articles, Critical Thinking and ORAPAPA , are useful here.

4. Implement

Formulate a plan.

Once you've chosen the best solution, it's time to develop a plan of action. Start by identifying resources and actions that will allow you to implement your chosen solution. Next, communicate your plan and make sure that everyone involved understands and accepts it.

There have been many adaptations of CPS since its inception, because nobody owns the idea.

For example, Scott Isaksen and Donald Treffinger formed The Creative Problem Solving Group Inc . and the Center for Creative Learning , and their model has evolved over many versions. Blair Miller, Jonathan Vehar and Roger L. Firestien also created their own version, and Dr Gerard J. Puccio, Mary C. Murdock, and Marie Mance developed CPS: The Thinking Skills Model. [4] Tim Hurson created The Productive Thinking Model , and Paul Reali developed CPS: Competencies Model. [5]

Sid Parnes continued to adapt the CPS model by adding concepts such as imagery and visualization , and he founded the Creative Studies Project to teach CPS. For more information on the evolution and development of the CPS process, see Creative Problem Solving Version 6.1 by Donald J. Treffinger, Scott G. Isaksen, and K. Brian Dorval. [6]

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Infographic

See our infographic on Creative Problem Solving .

what is creative problem solving in english

Creative problem solving (CPS) is a way of using your creativity to develop new ideas and solutions to problems. The process is based on separating divergent and convergent thinking styles, so that you can focus your mind on creating at the first stage, and then evaluating at the second stage.

There have been many adaptations of the original Osborn-Parnes model, but they all involve a clear structure of identifying the problem, generating new ideas, evaluating the options, and then formulating a plan for successful implementation.

[1] Entrepreneur (2012). James Dyson on Using Failure to Drive Success [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 27, 2022.]

[2] Creative Education Foundation (2015). The CPS Process [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 26, 2022.]

[3] Kaner, S. et al. (2014). 'Facilitator′s Guide to Participatory Decision–Making,' San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[4] Puccio, G., Mance, M., and Murdock, M. (2011). 'Creative Leadership: Skils That Drive Change' (2nd Ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

[5] OmniSkills (2013). Creative Problem Solving [online]. Available here . [Accessed May 26, 2022].

[6] Treffinger, G., Isaksen, S., and Dorval, B. (2010). Creative Problem Solving (CPS Version 6.1). Center for Creative Learning, Inc. & Creative Problem Solving Group, Inc. Available here .

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What is creative problem-solving?

Creative problem-solving in action

Table of Contents

An introduction to creative problem-solving.

Creative problem-solving is an essential skill that goes beyond basic brainstorming . It entails a holistic approach to challenges, melding logical processes with imaginative techniques to conceive innovative solutions. As our world becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, the ability to think creatively and solve problems with fresh perspectives becomes invaluable for individuals, businesses, and communities alike.

Importance of divergent and convergent thinking

At the heart of creative problem-solving lies the balance between divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking encourages free-flowing, unrestricted ideation, leading to a plethora of potential solutions. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is about narrowing down those options to find the most viable solution. This dual approach ensures both breadth and depth in the problem-solving process.

Emphasis on collaboration and diverse perspectives

No single perspective has a monopoly on insight. Collaborating with individuals from different backgrounds, experiences, and areas of expertise offers a richer tapestry of ideas. Embracing diverse perspectives not only broadens the pool of solutions but also ensures more holistic and well-rounded outcomes.

Nurturing a risk-taking and experimental mindset

The fear of failure can be the most significant barrier to any undertaking. It's essential to foster an environment where risk-taking and experimentation are celebrated. This involves viewing failures not as setbacks but as invaluable learning experiences that pave the way for eventual success.

The role of intuition and lateral thinking

Sometimes, the path to a solution is not linear. Lateral thinking and intuition allow for making connections between seemingly unrelated elements. These 'eureka' moments often lead to breakthrough solutions that conventional methods might overlook.

Stages of the creative problem-solving process

The creative problem-solving process is typically broken down into several stages. Each stage plays a crucial role in understanding, addressing, and resolving challenges in innovative ways.

Clarifying: Understanding the real problem or challenge

Before diving into solutions, one must first understand the problem at its core. This involves asking probing questions, gathering data, and viewing the challenge from various angles. A clear comprehension of the problem ensures that effort and resources are channeled correctly.

Ideating: Generating diverse and multiple solutions

Once the problem is clarified, the focus shifts to generating as many solutions as possible. This stage champions quantity over quality, as the aim is to explore the breadth of possibilities without immediately passing judgment.

Developing: Refining and honing promising solutions

With a list of potential solutions in hand, it's time to refine and develop the most promising ones. This involves evaluating each idea's feasibility, potential impact, and any associated risks, then enhancing or combining solutions to maximize effectiveness.

Implementing: Acting on the best solutions

Once a solution has been honed, it's time to put it into action. This involves planning, allocating resources, and monitoring the results to ensure the solution is effectively addressing the problem.

Techniques for creative problem-solving

Solving complex problems in a fresh way can be a daunting task to start on. Here are a few techniques that can help kickstart the process:


Brainstorming is a widely-used technique that involves generating as many ideas as possible within a set timeframe. Variants like brainwriting (where ideas are written down rather than spoken) and reverse brainstorming (thinking of ways to cause the problem) can offer fresh perspectives and ensure broader participation.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a visual tool that helps structure information, making connections between disparate pieces of data. It is particularly useful in organizing thoughts, visualizing relationships, and ensuring a comprehensive approach to a problem.

SCAMPER technique

SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. This technique prompts individuals to look at existing products, services, or processes in new ways, leading to innovative solutions.

Benefits of creative problem-solving

Creative problem-solving offers numerous benefits, both at the individual and organizational levels. Some of the most prominent advantages include:

Finding novel solutions to old problems

Traditional problems that have resisted conventional solutions often succumb to creative approaches. By looking at challenges from fresh angles and blending different techniques, we can unlock novel solutions previously deemed impossible.

Enhanced adaptability in changing environments

In our rapidly evolving world, the ability to adapt is critical. Creative problem-solving equips individuals and organizations with the agility to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances, ensuring resilience and longevity.

Building collaborative and innovative teams

Teams that embrace creative problem-solving tend to be more collaborative and innovative. They value diversity of thought, are open to experimentation, and are more likely to challenge the status quo, leading to groundbreaking results.

Fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement

Creative problem-solving is not just about finding solutions; it's also about continuous learning and improvement. By encouraging an environment of curiosity and exploration, organizations can ensure that they are always at the cutting edge, ready to tackle future challenges head-on.

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Creative Problem Solving Explained

what is creative problem solving in english

Creative problem solving is based on the belief that everyone is creative and can enhance their creative abilities with discipline.

Creative problem solving is a deliberate approach to solving complex problems. While creativity is an innate part of creative problem solving, the process uses a variety of steps and strategies designed to bring to the table solutions that are actionable and effective.

It’s a proven approach to use innovative ideas and views of a problem to develop viable options that can be brought to bear on the challenge. It can also redefine the problem, coming at it from a new perspective that results in an effective solution.

It also has powerful applications for addressing your greatest workflow challenges. Using creative problem solving lets you identify, refine, iterate, and select the best options to improve workflows using new technologies like automation.

Fundamentals of Creative Problem Solving

Many people hear “creative problem solving” and think it’s about brainstorming answers. However, creative problem solving is about much more. Creative answers to problems do not just appear magically but are the result of deliberate processes.

To work well, creative problem solving is rooted in two assumptions:

  • Everyone is creative in some manner
  • You can learn and enhance someone’s creative abilities

Those are powerful assumptions. They help to dispel the idea that there are “creative types” and “noncreative types.” All participants can be empowered to engage in the process by supporting and reinforcing the innate presence of creativity.

Alex Osborn helped define and formalize the idea of creative problem solving. He believed that two types of thinking are critical to creative problem solving.

Convergent Thinking focuses on the norms of problem solving and focuses on finding a singular solution that's well defined. Divergent Thinking is the opposite, with multiple options being considered after fostering creativity as part of the problem solving process.

Both play a role and have value in problem solving. Typically, both are used as part of the process.

For example, divergent thinking can create multiple ideas for possible solutions. Convergent thinking can whittle those down to a few or one idea to implement.

Principles of Creative Problem Solving

Here is a closer look at some key tenets of creative problem solving.

Reframe the Problem as a Question

Begin by restating the problem as a question or series of open-ended questions. The problem becomes more approachable with multiple possibilities available, and participants can be invited into the process.

By contrast, problems presented as declarative statements are often met by silence. These statements often lead to a limited response or no response at all.

There's a shift when asked as a question rather than a statement. The challenge is not an obstacle but rather an opportunity to solve. It opens the door to brainstorming and ideation.

Suspend Judgment

All too often, ideas that are generated in problem solving spaces are quickly dismissed. This instantaneous judgment has short- and long-term impacts.

First, it immediately dismisses the presented idea and the presenter. What’s more, the dismissal can have a chilling effect on others, stymieing the idea generation process.

There’s a time when judging presented ideas – when convergent thinking is at play. In the beginning, immediate judgment should be suspended.

Even the most implausible ideas presented at the beginning of the process may play a role later as long as they are still considered viable. If poisoned early in the process, they will unlikely be given any value later.

‘Yes, And’ Instead of ‘No, But’

The word “no” can have a similarly stifling effect on the creative problem solving work. "But," whether preceded by "yes” or "no," can close the conversation. It acts to negate everything that has come before.

You can create and maintain a more positive, encouraging tone using "yes, and" language instead of "no, but" language.

More positive language helps build on previously generated ideas. It creates an additive approach to the process instead of a dismissive one.

One Approach to Creative Problem Solving

Having a clearly defined approach to solving problems helps participants understand the scope and scale of the work. While multiple approaches can be used, here is one way to frame the engagement.

1. Clarify the Problem

The most critical step to creative problem solving is identifying and articulating the problem or goal. While it may appear to be easy to do so, often, what people think the problem is is not the true problem.

The critical step is to break down the problem, analyze it and understand the core issue.

One approach is to use the "five whys." Start by asking yourself, "Why is this a problem?" Once you have the answer, ask, "Why else?" four more times.

This iterative process can often refine and revise to unearth the true issue that needs to be addressed. You can ask other questions to further refine, such as:

  • Why is this problem important to us?
  • What is stopping us from solving this problem?
  • Where will we be differently 6-12 months after solving the problem?

2. Define Evaluation Criteria

The creative problem solving process is likely to generate many potential ideas. It’s important to establish the process by which the ideas will be evaluated and, if selected, deployed.

These processes may have important factors, such as budget, staffing and time. The process needs to address what you seek to accomplish, avoid and act on. The process should be articulated to the participants in the problem solving and those affected by the outcomes.

3. Research the Problem

You want a clear understanding of the problem, which may require lots or a little research. Understand the common problem, how others may deal with it, and potential solutions.

4. Develop Creative Challenges

Once the problem is articulated and researched, it’s time to frame them. “Creative challenges” are simple and brief, question-based concepts. For example, "How can we …" or “What would it mean if …" These challenges will form the basis of your problem solving. They should be broadly focused and not include any evaluation criteria.

5. Create Ideas

Idea generation is what most people envision when they think of brainstorming or solving problems.

Start by taking just one of the creative challenges. Give yourself or the team some time to build at least 50 ideas. That may seem like a lot, but it can spark conversation and construction.

The ideas may or may not solve the presented challenge. By capturing them on paper or a computer (many programs support idea generation), you can have them readily available to organize, expand on, evaluate, and flesh out.

Be sure to use the following rules in this stage:

  • Write down every idea
  • Ensure no one critiques presented ideas
  • Don’t stop until you’ve reached 50
  • Present the full list of ideas and then ask if anyone has anything else to add
  • If you have time, sleep on the ideas and return the next day. Try to add 25 more.

6. Sort and Assess Ideas

Take a break and reconvene to look at the ideas using the evaluation criteria. Combine ideas, then use the evaluation criteria to whittle down the list.

Some ideas may be implementable immediately. Others may need further analysis to prioritize.

7. Create a Plan

When you have your shortlist, create an action plan that outlines the steps necessary to implement the ideas. By breaking down the ideas into actionable steps, you’ll be better able to put them into play and see the results.

Problem Solving Your Workflows

When it comes to coming up with creative answers to your workflow problems, we have a variety of resources for you listed below. In addition, we're always interested in providing objective, experienced ideas through our Customer Success and Services teams.

  • Reframe Your Business Processes
  • Process Redesign Tips
  • What is Business Process Re-Engineering?
  • Process Improvement Examples
  • https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/what-is-creative-problem-solving
  • https://www.mindtools.com/a2j08rt/creative-problem-solving
  • https://www.creativeeducationfoundation.org/what-is-cps/
  • https://innovationmanagement.se/2010/06/02/the-basics-of-creative-problem-solving-cps/
  • https://asana.com/resources/convergent-vs-divergent

Tags creativity   problem solving   process improvement  

Categories Business Ideas   Workflow Ideas   Project Management  

what is creative problem solving in english

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what is creative problem solving in english

What Is Creative Problem Solving

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on August 1, 2023

Categories Creativity

Ever felt stuck in a problem, spinning your wheels? Welcome to an exploration of creative problem solving. This isn’t about finding just any solution; it’s about discovering the most innovative, effective ones.

We’ll unravel the importance of creativity and critical thinking in this exciting process, share techniques and resources you can use, plus peek into its future.

Ready to think outside the box? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Problem solving involves two stages: Problem Framing and Solution Evaluation
  • Creativity is crucial for finding innovative solutions
  • Techniques like brainstorming, mind mapping, and lateral thinking are used for creative problem solving
  • Collaboration enhances innovative solution development

Understanding the Basics of Problem Solving

Let’s dive into understanding the basics of problem solving, which is a crucial first step in creative problem solving. At its core, it involves two vital stages – Problem Framing and Solution Evaluation.

Imagine you’re an artist confronted with a blank canvas. Problem Framing is akin to sketching the outline – identifying what shape your challenge takes. It’s about being curious, asking questions and not rushing towards solutions right off the bat.

Once you’ve framed your issue, you proceed to Solution Evaluation. Here’s where you paint in vibrant strokes of creativity, exploring diverse ideas and alternatives. You experiment boldly, not fearing mistakes but treating them as stepping stones towards success.

The Importance of Creativity in Problem Solving

Innovation’s crucial role in finding solutions can’t be underestimated. It’s not only about thinking outside the box but also reshaping that box to fit your unique perspective. Imagine handling a problem with not just logic and analysis, but also with an artistic touch, a sprinkle of imagination, and a pinch of originality – that’s where the magic happens.

Your creativity constraints might seem like hurdles at first glance, but they’re actually stepping stones leading you to unexplored territories of thought. They push you beyond conventional boundaries and cultivate innovation influence.

Remember, every problem is an opportunity for creativity to shine. Use it as a platform to showcase your innovative prowess and remember – there isn’t always one right answer, there are many waiting for discovery through your creative vision!

The Creative Problem-Solving Process

Dive headfirst into the intriguing world of the creative problem-solving process. Here, you’re not just solving problems but transforming them into opportunities for growth and innovation.

First, you’ll master the art of identifying and clarifying your challenges. This will help you turn vague issues into clear targets.

Then, ignite a brainstorming storm as you generate an array of unique ideas. Next, sculpt these ideas into effective solutions.

Finally, implement these strategies with finesse. Take the necessary steps to put your solutions into action.

Identification and Clarification of the Problem

Understanding and articulating the problem clearly is a crucial first step in creative problem solving. It’s not merely about spotting an issue, but digging deeper to uncover its root cause. This is where Problem Identification Techniques come into play. These might involve brainstorming sessions or mind-mapping exercises that let you see beyond the surface-level complications.

But don’t stop there! To truly grasp the challenge at hand, Clarification Strategies are essential too. They urge you to question every aspect of your problem – What? Why? How? Such inquiries compel you to look at issues from fresh perspectives.

It’s like peeling back layers of an onion, revealing hidden dimensions of the real puzzle that await your ingenious solutions.

Generating Ideas

Once you’ve got a clear grasp on the issue at hand, it’s time to start generating ideas for possible solutions. This is where your creativity really gets to shine. Don’t shy away from thinking outside of the box.

With Brainstorming Techniques and Idea Generation Strategies in your arsenal, you’re ready to conquer any problem.

Brainstorming Techniques can be anything from simple lists to intricate mind maps. The goal here is quantity over quality. Let an influx of thoughts flow freely, without judgement or criticism.

On the other hand, Idea Generation Strategies focus on diverse perspectives and approaches. Try role-playing different characters or using analogies for fresh insights.

Remember, there’s no ‘wrong’ idea during this stage. It’s about exploring possibilities and pushing boundaries, so let your imagination run wild!

Developing Solutions

Now that you’ve generated a plethora of ideas, it’s time to narrow them down and start developing actionable solutions. This stage demands a blend of logic, precision, creativity, and even some unconventional approaches.

Here are three steps to follow:

  • Prioritize : Distinguish the feasible from the fantastical. Choose ideas with sustainable solutions and potential long-term impact.
  • Prototype : Draft rudimentary versions of your top ideas. Use these prototypes to test feasibility and remedy any issues before full-scale implementation.
  • Test : Evaluate your prototype in real-world conditions if possible. Iterate based on feedback until you have a solution ready for rollout.

Remember, innovation often involves stepping off the beaten path. Embrace unconventional approaches when they lead to sustainable solutions, and never fear refining your creations until they shine brightest.

Implementation of Solutions

After refining your solutions, it’s time to put them into action and monitor their progress. This stage is known as Innovation Implementation. Now, you’re not just thinking creatively but acting on it too. Remember, the success of a solution doesn’t solely rest on its brilliance but in its execution.

In this phase of creative problem solving, it’s crucial to be agile and adaptable to changes based on the results from the Solution Evaluation.

Be ready for iterations because creativity is an ongoing process rather than a one-time event.

Techniques for Creative Problem Solving

You’ll find a variety of techniques available for creative problem solving, each unique in its approach and effectiveness. You might be familiar with the classic brainstorming session, a collaborative effort to pool together diverse ideas. Yet, sometimes you may hit brainstorming barriers that hinder the flow of creativity.

In those moments, don’t be disheartened. Instead, consider innovative techniques like mind mapping or lateral thinking to navigate around these innovation roadblocks.

Mind mapping helps you visually organize information, sparking connections between ideas that may not initially seem related. Lateral thinking encourages you to look at problems from different angles, challenging traditional logic and promoting out-of-the-box solutions.

Remember, your creativity is not limited; it’s merely waiting for the right technique to unleash its full potential. Keep exploring until you discover what works best for you!

The Role of Critical Thinking in Creative Problem Solving

Critical thinking plays a pivotal role in developing innovative solutions, acting as the analytical counterpart to your unleashed creativity. It’s not just about wild ideas; it’s critical analysis that makes these ideas viable.

Thought exploration and critical thinking work hand-in-hand when solving problems creatively. You explore different perspectives, dissecting each idea using logical reasoning and precise evaluation.

Here’s a helpful table:

Remember, the creative process isn’t complete without critical thinking.

Your imaginative ideas need the grounding force of rational analysis to become brilliant solutions. Embrace both for successful creative problem solving!

The Importance of Collaboration in Creative Problem Solving

In the realm of innovative solution development, it’s essential to recognize that two heads are often better than one. This isn’t just a cliche but a testament to the power of collaboration in creative problem solving.

Consider Team Dynamics; when you bring together a group with diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and perspectives, you’re essentially stirring up a hotbed of creativity and innovation.

You see, each member adds something unique to the mix; they toss their ideas into this mental melting pot and voila! Out comes an array of solutions more ingenious than any single mind could’ve conjured.

Then there’s Innovation Culture – your team’s shared belief in dreaming big, challenging norms and pushing boundaries. This culture promotes risk-taking and bold thinking which are vital for groundbreaking problem-solving.

So remember, collaboration isn’t just nice—it’s necessary.

The Role of Technology in Creative Problem Solving

Technology’s role can’t be overstated when it comes to fostering innovation and devising unique solutions. It’s a game-changer, pushing the boundaries of what you believe is possible. But remember, even technology has limitations. It doesn’t mean it hinders creativity; instead, it challenges you to think outside the box.

Imagine a scenario where software constraints prevent you from executing an idea as envisioned. This is where your creative problem-solving skills come into play! You might discover unconventional applications for existing tools that bypass these tech restrictions.

Leverage technology to its full potential but never let its limitations confine your creativity. Harness this dynamic duo—creativity and technology—to generate groundbreaking solutions that reshape the world around us. Be fearless in exploring unknown territories of technological possibilities!

The Benefits of Creative Problem Solving

Imagine you’re on a journey of self-discovery. Every challenge is an opportunity for personal growth. You’ve got the power of creative problem solving at your fingertips. It’s like a secret weapon.

This weapon not only propels you towards professional advancement but also refines your persona. Embrace this transformative process. Watch as it amplifies your potential, catapulting you onto paths less trodden. You’ll have a newfound sense of innovation and imagination.

Personal Growth

Developing your skills in creative problem-solving can greatly contribute to personal growth. It allows you to perceive obstacles from new angles and invent novel solutions.

By engaging in self-reflection techniques, you’ll discover previously unseen aspects of yourself that unlock hidden potentials. You’ll start seeing challenges as opportunities for progress, not roadblocks.

The impact of emotional intelligence on this journey can’t be overstated. It fuels your ability to understand others’ perspectives, making collaboration more effective and enriching. Your newfound perspective will allow you to empathize with different viewpoints and navigate complex social dynamics with finesse.

Creative problem-solving encourages a continuous learning mindset, fostering resilience and adaptability – qualities vital for thriving in today’s ever-changing world. This isn’t just about solving problems; it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself.

Professional Advancement

Just as creative problem solving can fuel your personal growth, it’s a critical tool for professional advancement as well. It’s not just about moving up the corporate ladder; it’s about reshaping that ladder and creating new steps.

Here are some key ways creative problem solving promotes career mobility and effective leadership strategies:

  • It encourages innovation, pushing you to think outside the box and challenge traditional approaches.
  • It fosters resilience, allowing you to adapt in rapidly changing business environments.
  • It cultivates influence, empowering you with unique solutions that inspire others.
  • It drives progress by transforming obstacles into opportunities.

Remember, when you solve problems creatively, you demonstrate value beyond your job description. You become more than just an employee – you become an essential asset and visionary leader within your organization.

Creative Problem Solving in Different Fields

In various fields like business, education, science, and arts, creative problem solving is often the key to overcoming challenges and driving innovation. Each sector uses field-specific strategies to address its unique issues.

For instance, in business, you might use mind mapping or brainstorming sessions. In the sciences, experimentation or hypothesis testing may be your go-to.

Interdisciplinary approaches are also vital for creative problem-solving. Imagine combining artistic creativity with scientific rigor – a fusion that could lead to innovative solutions! Don’t limit yourself within your field’s boundaries; explore outside-of-the-box methods from other disciplines too.

Creative problem solving isn’t one size fits all. It calls for flexibility and adaptability depending on the situation at hand. Your imagination is a powerful tool – let it loose!

How to Foster Creative Problem Solving Skills

To foster these essential skills, you’ll need to exercise your mind and step outside of traditional thinking patterns. Embrace the role of emotions in creative problem solving; they’re not a hindrance but rather an ignition for innovation. Feelings can lead you down unexpected pathways, illuminating solutions that logic might overlook.

Next, try out Mind Mapping Techniques. This visual strategy allows you to explore different branches of thought simultaneously instead of the linear approach we’re often taught to employ. It’s like setting foot into a labyrinth where each turn could unlock a new idea.

Creativity isn’t just about being artistic—it’s about inventing fresh approaches to obstacles.

So dare to dream differently, feel freely, and visualize your thoughts because fostering creative problem-solving skills is akin to mastering the art of possibility.

The Challenges of Creative Problem Solving

Despite its many benefits, mastering the art of innovative thinking isn’t without its hurdles. You’re bound to encounter obstacles in creativity and mental blockades that can hinder your progress.

Remember, each hurdle is an opportunity for growth. Don’t let these challenges discourage you; instead, see them as catalysts for honing your creativity towards problem-solving mastery.

Case Studies of Successful Creative Problem Solving

Now that you’ve had a glimpse of the challenges, let’s dive into some real-life examples of creative problem solving in action. These case studies serve as your problem solving inspiration, showcasing how individuals and organizations have turned stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

  • Dyson Vacuum Cleaner : James Dyson faced over 5,000 failed prototypes before he invented his bagless vacuum cleaner by embracing creative constraints.
  • Airbnb : The founders solved their financial struggles by selling themed cereal boxes during the 2008 US election.
  • Uber : Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp came up with Uber after having difficulty hailing a taxi on a snowy evening in Paris.
  • Netflix : Reed Hastings created Netflix out of frustration with late fees from video rental stores.

These success stories testify to the power of innovative problem-solving techniques!

Tools and Resources for Creative Problem Solving

You’ll find a variety of tools and resources at your disposal that can help you think outside the box and tackle challenges in innovative ways.

One such resource is the concept of ‘Problem Solving Artistry’. This technique encourages you to approach problems like an artist, using creativity and imagination to craft unique solutions.

Another tool is ‘Innovation Constraints’. By imposing artificial restrictions, you force yourself to get creative within those boundaries. It’s a counterintuitive strategy that often leads to ground-breaking ideas.

There are also numerous online platforms offering courses on creative problem-solving, fostering both lateral thinking and critical analysis.

So don’t be afraid to inject some art into your problem-solving process or use constraints as catalysts for innovation – they could unlock surprising results!

The Future of Creative Problem Solving

Looking ahead, it’s clear that your ability to think outside the box will play a crucial role in navigating an increasingly complex world. The future of creative problem solving is bound to be redefined by emerging trends.

  • Innovation Forecast – Rapid advancements in technology are set to revolutionize how you approach and solve problems creatively.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI can generate new ideas, breaking through creativity constraints traditionally faced by humans.
  • Virtual Reality – This tech opens up immersive environments where your creative problem-solving skills can be tested and honed like never before.
  • Collaborative Platforms – These tools are expected to further promote collective intelligence, enabling global brainstorming sessions.

Gear up for these changes; they’re poised to reshape the landscape of creative problem-solving, offering you uncharted territories of opportunities!

Final Thoughts on Embracing Creative Problem Solving

Embrace the future with open arms, and you’ll find that your ability to generate innovative solutions will not only skyrocket, but also make a true difference in our ever-evolving world.

A key element of embracing creative problem solving is accepting failure. Mistakes are merely stepping stones on your path to success, so don’t shy away from them.

Risk taking should be encouraged in the realm of creative problem-solving. Often, the most unconventional ideas turn out to be game-changers. So dare to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.

Remember that it’s OK if things don’t work out as planned first time around – just dust yourself off and try again! Embracing failure and risk-taking paves the way for truly transformative solutions.

what is creative problem solving in english

Creative Problem Solving And Its Techniques

Entrepreneurs need to script their own journeys, figure out their own things, and solve problems. If you keep running back…

Creative Problem Solving And Its Techniques

Entrepreneurs need to script their own journeys, figure out their own things, and solve problems. If you keep running back to your mentor at the drop of your hat, you’re not an entrepreneur. A true entrepreneur is a risk-taker, problem-solver, a person who’s willing to face challenges and failures.

– Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson, and MD of Biocon

While scripting your own life and career journey, it is imperative to master the skill of creative problem-solving. Successful people and organizations recognize that the solutions to their problems lie within themselves. They try to find them with a creative problem-solving process.

Most professionals face problems at work. It could be meeting a sales target or fixing a technical glitch in a product. Learning how to solve problems efficiently is a key skill for success at work and life in general. Sometimes, you have to think out of the box to solve problems creatively.

What is creative problem-solving?

Have you noticed how some people have a knack for turning a problem into an opportunity? Take the stones people throw at you and use them to build a monument, said former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata. It was a fantastic way of expressing creative problem-solving at work.

Creative problem-solving involves approaching a problem or a challenge in an inventive way. It is a process that redefines problems and opportunities and helps us come up with innovative solutions.

Generally, the creative problem-solving process involves the following stages:

Identify the problem or the challenge

Generate ideas that may be possible solutions

Solve the problem with the help of generated ideas

Implement the solution plan and move to the next step

A well-planned and strategically executed creative problem-solving process brings team members together. It encourages proactive participation among colleagues.

Let’s look at an example. Seema was not happy with her career in the IT industry. She approached the problem by thinking about various options that appealed to her. Using her creative problem-solving skill, she decided to try her hand at travel blogging given her passion for travel and nose for digital marketing.

Let’s turn to some highly successful techniques of creative problem-solving.

Techniques of creative problem-solving

1. brainstorming.

Brainstorming is one of the most popular techniques of creative problem-solving. It is an individual as well as a group activity. When the city’s municipal corporation needs to come up with measures regarding safety and health, citizens are often asked to brainstorm and suggest innovative ideas. Brainstorming is a blend of creativity and problem-solving.

2. Mind-mapping

Mind-mapping is a useful creative problem-solving process. A mind map is a graphic representation of ideas and concepts. It is a visual tool for creativity and problem-solving. Mind maps help you categorize and structure information. They aid comprehension, analysis, and help generate innovative ideas. Seeing the problem and possible solutions represented in visual form helps many of us see the bigger picture and connect the dots.

3. Counterfactual Thinking

When Rosie has to take a call on a problem, she thinks about all her previous decisions. She thinks of the things that have gone wrong and the opportunities that she missed out on. Such counterfactual thinking helps her face the current problem and find a solution. Counterfactual thinking is one of the smartest examples of creative problem-solving at work. However, it is important not to channel negative emotions while going down the counterfactual thinking route. Use your past experiences to ensure you don’t repeat mistakes, seize opportunities, and measure how far you’ve come. Be present and future-focused, and don’t use counterfactual thoughts to get trapped in the “What ifs” of your past.

4. Abstraction

Abstraction is a great booster for creativity and problem-solving. When a creative director in an advertising agency has to design a campaign for a brand of fruit drinks or evening wear, he uses abstraction. He thinks about the emotions associated with the drink or the evening, such as camaraderie, romance, taste, health, joy, and so on. ( xanax )

You must have noticed many examples of creative problem-solving at work.

Deploying a thought experiment by using comparison or similarity as a tool

Breaking free from assumptions to think originally

Going beyond assigned tasks to experiment

Raising questions and seeking new viewpoints

Reapplying  rules that have worked previously

Stepping out  of your comfort zone and thinking differently

Go ahead and build a culture of creativity around you. Overcome your mental barriers and let your imagination run free. Navigate obstacles to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions.

Harappa Education’s Unleashing Creativity course teaches you how to generate, test, and refine new ideas. It empowers you with in-depth creativity and problem-solving skills by teaching you concepts such as the Disney Creative Tool framework involving three roles: including dreamers, realists, and critics. Assigning these roles to groups will help organizations brainstorm ideas, create plans, and identify roadblocks. to reach the desired goals successfully. Sign up and begin your creative problem-solving journey.

Explore topics such as Creative Thinking & How to be Creative at Work from our Harappa Diaries blog section and develop your strategic thinking skills .


eSoft Skills Global Training Solutions

What Is Creative Problem Solving?

Creative Problem Solving

Ever wondered what sets apart creative problem solvers from the rest?

The ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions is a skill highly sought after in today’s dynamic world.

But how exactly does one cultivate this skill?

By exploring the essence of creative problem solving, you can uncover valuable insights that may just revolutionize the way you approach challenges.

Stay tuned to discover the key elements that make creative problem solving a game-changer in various aspects of life.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Embrace curiosity and experimentation for innovative solutions.
  • Challenge the status quo and think outside the box.
  • Welcome failure as a path to innovation and growth.
  • Approach problems with fresh perspectives and new methods.

Understanding Creative Problem Solving

When tackling creative problem solving, you need to embrace a mindset that thrives on curiosity and experimentation. Creative approaches involve thinking outside the box, exploring unconventional solutions, and challenging the status quo. To excel in problem-solving strategies, you must be willing to take risks, push boundaries, and welcome failure as a stepping stone towards innovation. By approaching problems with a fresh perspective and a willingness to try new methods, you can reveal hidden opportunities and discover unique solutions that traditional approaches may overlook.

Creativity in problem solving isn’t just about coming up with wild ideas; it’s about strategically applying innovative thinking to address complex issues effectively. Embracing creative problem solving allows you to break free from conventional thought patterns and explore uncharted territories. By blending creativity with analytical thinking, you can develop holistic solutions that consider multiple perspectives and factors. Remember, creativity isn’t a talent reserved for a select few but a skill that can be nurtured and honed through practice and persistence. So, dare to be different, experiment boldly, and watch your problem-solving abilities soar to new heights.

Importance of Creativity in Problem Solving

To truly elevate your problem-solving capabilities, you must recognize the pivotal role that creativity plays in managing complex challenges. Creative thinking isn’t just a nice-to-have skill; it’s a necessity in today’s dynamic and fast-paced world. Problem-solving creativity allows you to approach issues from unique angles, leading to innovative solutions that traditional methods might overlook.

  • Sparking Innovation : Creativity in problem-solving opens doors to new ideas and innovative approaches that can revolutionize how challenges are addressed.
  • Enhancing Adaptability : Creative problem solvers are better equipped to adapt to unexpected obstacles and find alternative pathways to success.
  • Fostering Collaboration : Creativity encourages collaboration by creating an environment where diverse perspectives are valued, leading to richer problem-solving processes and outcomes.

Embracing creativity in your problem-solving endeavors can open hidden potential and empower you to navigate even the most challenging obstacles with confidence and ingenuity.

Characteristics of Creative Problem Solvers

Discover your potential as a problem solver by embodying the key characteristics of creativity that set innovative thinkers apart. Creative problem solvers possess a unique blend of skills that enable them to tackle challenges in fresh and effective ways. One of the defining traits is their ability to think outside the box and approach problems with innovative approaches. They aren’t afraid to experiment, take risks, and push boundaries to find solutions that others may overlook.

Critical thinking is another essential characteristic of creative problem solvers. They have a knack for analyzing situations from different angles, questioning assumptions, and identifying underlying issues. This allows them to uncover hidden opportunities and devise strategies that address the root cause of a problem rather than just its symptoms. By combining critical thinking with creativity, these individuals can develop holistic solutions that are both innovative and practical.

To become a more effective problem solver, cultivate your creativity by embracing new ideas, seeking diverse perspectives, and challenging conventional wisdom. By honing your innovative approaches and sharpening your critical thinking skills, you can reveal your full potential to tackle challenges with confidence and ingenuity.

Benefits of Implementing Creative Solutions

Embodying the characteristics of creative problem solvers can lead to a multitude of benefits, particularly in the field of implementing innovative solutions. When you embrace creative problem solving in business and education, you open doors to a world of advantages:

  • Enhanced Adaptability: Creative solutions encourage flexibility and adaptability in ever-changing environments. By thinking outside the box, you become more resilient to challenges and can pivot quickly when needed.
  • Increased Engagement: Implementing creative problem-solving techniques fosters engagement among team members or students. When individuals are encouraged to think creatively, they become more invested in finding solutions and actively contribute to the process.
  • Improved Innovation: Creative problem solving fuels innovation by pushing boundaries and exploring new ideas. In both business and education, innovative solutions often stem from the ability to think creatively and approach problems from different angles.

Techniques for Creative Problem Solving

Ready to take your problem-solving skills to the next level? Let’s start by brainstorming ideas together, mapping out solutions, and immersing ourselves in role-playing scenarios.

These techniques will help you think outside the box, foster creativity, and tackle challenges with a fresh perspective.

Are you ready to ignite your creative problem-solving potential?

Brainstorming Ideas Together

To enhance your creative problem-solving skills, engage in collaborative brainstorming sessions to generate innovative ideas collectively.

  • Create a Safe Space : Encourage open communication and remove judgment to foster a supportive environment for sharing diverse thoughts.
  • Divergent Thinking : Embrace wild ideas without immediately evaluating them, allowing for unique and unconventional solutions to emerge.
  • Build on Each Other’s Ideas : Use the ‘Yes, and…’ technique to expand on suggestions, leading to more refined and creative outcomes.

Collaborative brainstorming and group ideation can spark a synergy that drives forward-thinking solutions. By leveraging the collective intelligence and creativity of a group, you can uncover fresh perspectives and breakthrough ideas to tackle even the most complex problems.

Mind Mapping Solutions

Explore the interconnected web of ideas through mind mapping techniques to navigate and solve complex problems with creativity and insight. Mind mapping is a powerful tool for visual brainstorming and collaborative mapping. By creating a visual representation of your thoughts and ideas, you can see connections, identify patterns, and uncover new possibilities.

Reveal the potential of your mind and release innovative solutions with mind mapping techniques.

Role-playing Scenarios

Engage in dynamic role-playing scenarios to unlock your creative problem-solving potential and cultivate innovative solutions through immersive experiences.

Immerse into the world of improvisational exercises, interactive workshops, and simulation activities that challenge your thinking and push you to explore new perspectives.

By immersing yourself in these scenarios, you can break free from traditional problem-solving constraints and discover unconventional solutions to complex problems.

Through interactive workshops, you can collaborate with others, share ideas, and experiment with different approaches in a safe and supportive environment.

These immersive experiences provide a platform for you to think outside the box, test out ideas, and refine your problem-solving skills in a fun and engaging way.

Real-World Applications of Creative Problem Solving

Let’s get real-world practical now!

You’re facing a complex issue at work, and the traditional solutions just don’t cut it anymore.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and witness some innovative problem-solving magic in action.

Practical Problem-Solving Examples

In real-world scenarios, creative problem solving is exemplified through innovative approaches that result in practical solutions for complex challenges. When faced with difficult problems, consider these examples:

  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Bringing together diverse teams to tackle multifaceted issues, leveraging different perspectives and expertise.
  • Design Thinking Workshops: Utilizing structured processes to encourage creativity and empathy, leading to unique and effective solutions.
  • Prototyping and Testing: Building quick prototypes to test ideas, gather feedback, and refine solutions efficiently.

These practical problem-solving examples showcase how innovative thinking can lead to tangible solutions that address real-world problems effectively.

Innovative Solutions in Action

Accessing the power of creative problem-solving requires a dynamic blend of imagination and strategic thinking, paving the way for innovative solutions to thrive in real-world challenges. When looking at case studies and success stories, you can see how creative problem-solving has transformed businesses and industries. Here is a glimpse into some remarkable examples:

These examples showcase the tangible benefits of employing creative problem-solving techniques in various scenarios, proving its effectiveness in driving innovation and success.

Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills Through Creativity

Enhancing problem-solving skills involves infusing creativity into your approach, leading to novel solutions and breakthroughs. To hone your problem-solving creativity, consider the following:

  • Creative Brainstorming: Engage in free-flowing idea generation sessions where no suggestion is too wild. Encouraging unconventional thinking can lead to unique solutions.
  • Mind Mapping: Visualize your thoughts by creating a mind map to connect ideas and uncover new perspectives. This technique can help you see relationships between different elements of a problem.
  • Role Play: Step into different roles related to the issue at hand to gain diverse viewpoints. By embodying various perspectives, you can approach the problem from different angles and identify innovative solutions.

So, as you can see, creative problem solving is like a breeze in a stuffy room of challenges. It allows you to think outside the box, break free from limitations, and unlock your full potential.

By embracing creativity, you can tackle problems with a new perspective, find innovative solutions, and pave the way for success.

So, go ahead and let your creative juices flow – the world is waiting for your unique solutions!

eSoft Skills Team

The eSoft Editorial Team, a blend of experienced professionals, leaders, and academics, specializes in soft skills, leadership, management, and personal and professional development. Committed to delivering thoroughly researched, high-quality, and reliable content, they abide by strict editorial guidelines ensuring accuracy and currency. Each article crafted is not merely informative but serves as a catalyst for growth, empowering individuals and organizations. As enablers, their trusted insights shape the leaders and organizations of tomorrow.

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what is creative problem solving in english

Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

Creativity encompasses the ability to discover new and original ideas, connections, and solutions to problems. It’s a part of our drive as humans—fostering resilience , sparking joy, and providing opportunities for self-actualization.

An act of creativity can be grand and inspiring, such as crafting a beautiful painting or designing an innovative company. But an idea need not be artistic or world-changing to count as creative. Life requires daily acts of ingenuity and novel workarounds; in this sense, almost everyone possesses some amount of creativity.

  • Sources of Creativity
  • How to Be More Creative
  • Creativity and the Brain
  • Creativity and Mental Illness
  • Dark Creativity

what is creative problem solving in english

There are many pieces to the puzzle of creativity, including a balance between controlled, deliberate thought and spontaneous play and imagination . Personality plays a role, as well as biology and life experience.

But everyone possesses some measure of creativity, even if they don’t realize it. Life is full of small moments that require new ideas or surprising solutions. A choice that you don’t think twice about—how you cook a fried egg or the route you take to work—someone else might find delightfully original.

Creative people embody complexity; they show tendencies of thought and action that are segregated in others, according to the pioneering creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. They balance intense energy with quiet rest, playfulness with discipline, fantasy with reality, and passion for their work with objectivity.

Neuroscience research seems to support this idea. Creative people may better engage the three brain systems —the default mode network , the salience network, and the executive control network—that collectively produce creative thought.

The trait of Openness to Experience correlates with creativity, encompassing a receptivity to new ideas and experiences. People who are low in openness prefer routines and familiarity, while those who are high in openness revel in novelty, whether that is meeting new people, processing different emotions, or traveling to exotic destinations. Accumulating these experiences and perspectives can help the brain forge creative new connections. Other characteristics that are linked to creativity include curiosity, positivity, energy, persistence, and intrinsic motivation.

When we think of creativity, we often think of Mozart, Picasso, Einstein—people with a seemingly fated convergence of talent and opportunity. It's too narrow a set of references, because all sorts of people, possessing various levels of intelligence and natural ability, are capable of engaging in fulfilling creative processes. And buying into a limited definition of creativity prevents many from appreciating their own potential.

Everyday creativity is a framework originally developed by Ruth Richards, Dennis Kinney, and colleagues at Harvard Medical School defined as expressions of originality and meaningfulness. This could encompass daily errands, personal hobbies, or work. Making wacky recipes or dying your hair an unusual color would qualify, as would working on a scrapbook of memories for a friend.

People sometimes refer to “little-c” or “Big-C” to discuss different degrees of creativity. This framework was expanded into a theory called The Four C Model of Creativity by researchers James Kaufman, Ronald Beghetto. Mini-c refers to creativity that arises in any learning process and little-c refers to consistent everyday creativity. Pro-c is the progression to professional expertise in a given domain, while Big-C is reserved for monumental and historic contributions to society.


Many people feel that they have no or very limited creative ability—even some who work in creative fields—and it's true that certain individuals are more creative than others. Fortunately, however, creativity can be acquired and honed at any age or experience level.

Innovation is not some divine gift; it’s actually the skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways. It requires changing up your normal routine, stepping outside of typical comfort zones, and paying attention to the present moment.

When learning new information, taking a break—either by sleeping or simply enjoying a distraction—is another way of allowing the unconscious mind to process the data in novel and surprising ways. This often lays the groundwork for a creative insight or breakthrough.

Various lines of research have converged around common insights that provide steps to be more creative:

1. Aim for output: Creative geniuses often produce their best works at their times of greatest output. Some pieces may miss the mark, but the quantity of output makes it likely that other pieces will yield great creativity.

2. Be willing to go deep: In the realm of artistic creativity, pioneers often spend time in solitude, feel emotions and sensations deeply, and aren’t afraid to self-reflect.

3. Be open and playful: The personality trait most tied to creativity is Openness to Experience—whether that be intellectual, aesthetic, or emotional.

4. Capture your ideas: Remember to record thoughts as they arise so they aren't forgotten.

5. Adopt or hire outside perspectives: It can be difficult to innovate if you become trapped in the rules and language of your domain of expertise.

6. Feel free to procrastinate : If you are motivated to solve a problem, procrastinating, exercising, or sleeping on it can lead to divergent thinking and more possibilities.

Most of the time, ideas develop from the steady percolation and evaluation of thoughts and feelings. But every so often, a blockbuster notion breaks through in a flash of insight that’s as unexpected as it is blazingly clear. So-called “aha moments” can generate the brilliant idea for a tech startup, the theme of a musical composition, or the answer to an engineering quandary.

Improving the odds of having a “eureka moment” involves toggling between two modes of thinking: conscious, methodological, concerted problem solving and the restful, spontaneous, unplanned connections of the default mode network, the brain’s resting state. In this way, the default mode network can inspire new solutions when all of the puzzle pieces are in place.

Studies show that training can lead both children and adults to hone creative skills. Sessions may focus on identifying problems to solve, exploring different possibilities, and enhancing emotional intelligence . In one training, for example, instead of making art immediately, children were asked to play with materials—feel their textures, try them out, arrange and rearrange them. Children were encouraged to use emotion -laden memories to explore ideas for art portraying different emotional themes—what colors or textures could be associated with anger?

Several strategies can help build your creative muscle. One is to find a problem that needs solving, and another is to be open to new opportunities, such as trying new foods or using a new approach to complete a task at work. Another is to change your perspective, such as by imagining what somebody else or somebody in a different time period might think. Yet another is to simply create—creativity requires risk-taking and critical feedback, but persisting through discomfort can lead to an innovative and daring outcome.

Creativity may offer some surprising psychological benefits. It can contribute to the ability to make meaning—such as finding ways to successfully cope with past experiences such as trauma , regret, or nostalgia , helping to manage moods, relationships, and problem-solving, and establishing one’s professional and personal legacy for the future. Well-being, in turn, may facilitate creative thinking, such as by practicing mindfulness , research suggests.

what is creative problem solving in english

Creative thinking involves making new connections between different ideas, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing yourself to new experiences and to learning. While research psychologists are interested in tapping innovative thinking, clinical psychologists sometimes encourage patients to use artistic expression as a way to confront difficult feelings.

Three key networks operate as a team to spark creativity in the brain, research suggests. The default mode network helps generate ideas, the executive control network evaluates them and propels them forward, and the salience network identifies which ideas are relevant and important. These networks may also influence one another via other feedback loops; for instance, the executive control network might tune the way the salience network scans internally, depending on the task at hand.

The default mode network is the pattern of brain activity that occurs when people are not focused on the outside world. It’s the network that becomes active when the mind turns inward, as people daydream, rest, and reflect on the past or imagine the future. The default mode network can spark connections between different ideas, contributing to creative thought.

The salience network is a large system within the brain that helps to detect and filter important information from the environment , and then determine how to respond to that information. It scans for relevant signals, whether they contain sensory, cognitive, or emotional information. The salience network is rooted in the anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, but it contains nodes in other regions as well.

The executive control network, or executive function, refers to the systems and processes that allow people to plan, monitor, and execute their goals . In the context of creativity, executive functioning monitors the observations, connections, and ideas that are generated, directs attention to particular ideas, and oversees decision-making in the context of a larger goal.

A hallmark of creativity, divergent thinking involves generating multiple ideas or solutions to a problem. It’s original and imaginative, exploring as many different connections as possible. By contrast, convergent thinking is converging onto a single, correct answer or solution, by analyzing the information available and judging which answer is best.

The belief that the left hemisphere completely controls logic and the right brain governs creativity is largely a myth. Creativity and imagination involve communication between networks throughout both hemispheres, research shows. Those networks work together and collectively manipulate ideas, images, and symbols.

what is creative problem solving in english

From Vincent van Gogh to Sylvia Plath and Winston Churchill, individuals with mental illness have unleashed intellectual and artistic genius throughout history. The connection has fascinated psychologists and everyday individuals alike. What biological theories might explain the overlap? And what evolutionary advantages might these individuals possess?

Psychotic spectrum disorders, including bipolar disorder , schizotypy, and schizophrenia, are disproportionately diagnosed in highly creative individuals (they've been most often measured in artists, musicians, and writers) or in their first-degree relatives. 

But this connection can be confounded by the degree of giftedness at play. While creative types are more mentally stable than are non-creatives, the correlation reverses in the presence of exceptional creativity. Extraordinarily creative individuals are more likely to exhibit psychopathology than are noncreative people, according to University of California at Davis psychologist Dean Keith Simonton. He dubs this concept the "Mad Genius Paradox."

An inability to filter out seemingly irrelevant information is a hallmark of both creative ideation and disordered thought. The state, known as reduced latent inhibition, allows more information to reach awareness, which can in turn foster associations between unrelated concepts. The barrage accounts for both the nonsensical ideas seen in psychosis and for novel thinking.

One hypothesis for the mystery between genius and mental illness is rooted in the diametric theory, an idea put forth by sociologist Christopher Badcock and evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi to explain how autism and schizophrenia are poles on one cognitive continuum. (In this theory, paternal gene expression pushes towards mechanistic thinking—autism at its most extreme—and maternal genes produce mentalizing traits—psychosis at its most extreme.)

The theory makes a key prediction—that epoch-making minds, likely including John Nash's and Isaac Newton's, exhibit both hypermechanistic and hypermentalizing extremes. These men were both autistic and schizophrenic—double outliers. True genius in some realms, especially mathematics and science, could represent that unique overlap.

Some research has found that genetic variants that are more common in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also more common in certain creative professions. However, it’s difficult to conduct reliable studies of the link between genetics and a broad trait like creativity. What we do know, however, is that many mental health conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have a genetic component, so the condition and potentially related traits are passed down from one generation to the next.

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be debilitating illnesses, so scientists have wondered why these conditions have persisted over time. Some believe that schizophrenia and  bipolar disorder offer an evolutionary advantage, in that they predispose individuals to greater creativity, achievement, and success that can benefit both individuals and societies.

People with bipolar disorder can be deeply concerned that medication will strip away the creativity and productivity that accompany manic episodes . Therefore it’s important to address the topic in therapy .

Therapists should explain that manic energy can be confused for creative skill; mania often deludes individuals into believing they are greater than their skills. The pair can discuss the patient’s innate talents and skills to develop, and then devise a strategy to do so following mood stabilization, continuing to adapt to new circumstances or challenges as they arise.

what is creative problem solving in english

Creativity is typically seen as a socially beneficial trait. But some people use their imagination in pursuit of antisocial ends—what's sometimes termed “dark creativity” or “malevolent creativity.”

A scam artist who devises a novel or foolproof scheme for luring his victims is exercising creativity. But as it’s being deployed to harm others and enrich himself, most observers would find his scheme objectionable, no matter how imaginative.

In recent years, researchers have sought a greater understanding of how darkness and creativity interrelate. Some studies have found that creativity is associated with narcissism ; others have identified a link between higher creativity and reduced honesty and humility. In one study, dispositional creativity was found to predict unethical behavior.

Ultimately, creativity may be better conceived as neither inherently positive nor inherently negative. Instead, it may be best to assess motivations and outcomes when judging the value of any creative act.

One distinction between light and dark creativity involves who benefits and who stands to be harmed by the creative pursuit. Light creativity is associated with ways to benefit others in society, or at least not detract from their welfare, such as composing a moving symphony or founding a tech start-up. Dark creativity is primarily associated with harming others or helping oneself without caring about the potential for collateral damage—devising an elaborate plot to rob a store, for example.

Malevolent creativity has been linked to childhood experiences, such as neglect, and traits in the dark triad , such as narcissism. Another characteristic linked to dark creativity is aggression . In one study, premeditation (planning ahead of time) controlled an individual’s expression of malevolent creativity more than implicit aggression—in other words, being able to hold off on your impulses can make even those primed to be aggressive and darkly creative less harmful when provoked.

Some argue that creativity exists on a spectrum and creative pursuits can exist in the gray area between light and dark. For example, if someone comes up with a clever white lie to avoid meeting someone, that original and plausible idea might lean toward a darker use of creative thinking. The grayer areas of creativity arise when it’s not completely clear where the eventual benefit of the creative behavior lies. For example, is hacktivism bright creativity or dark?

what is creative problem solving in english

Workplace bullying is a community problem that requires a community response to stop the abuse cycle.

what is creative problem solving in english

Advanced AI language models radically reinvent language, paralleling literary pioneers like James Joyce to evolve new "tongues" transcending conventional human frameworks.

what is creative problem solving in english

Research shows that there are several ways to improve our creative thinking.

what is creative problem solving in english

Having a supportive partner can encourage you to take creative risks and look for opportunities to continue to learn and grow.

what is creative problem solving in english

Traditional educational practices rely on noting differences between items. However, when we shift our thinking to the similarities between items, we nurture our creative spirit.

what is creative problem solving in english

When you embrace anything as your life's purpose, it will lead to personal fulfillment. No better example of this is in the arena of innovative fine dining.

what is creative problem solving in english

The space that you're in can help you think and do, or not.

Illustration in Schleiden's 'The plant: a biography'

Matthias Jakob Schleiden contributed to cell theory in the course of a troubled life, which included two suicide attempts.

what is creative problem solving in english

Which teachers do you most remember? The ones who were inspired and inspiring, and the ones who cared. Here's how to be a great teacher.

what is creative problem solving in english

Nobel Prize-winning scientists, professional athletes, and tech innovators have utilized psychedelic medicines to enhance their creativity and performance. Read on to learn how.

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Why Creative Problem-Solving and Lifelong Learning Should Anchor 21st-Century Education

Take creative skills back to school to future-proof tomorrow’s workforce..

what is creative problem solving in english

Artwork by Monica Acedo .

Workforce, meet the iPhone generation. They’ve grown up in a wholly digital, graphics-based world, enmeshed in the random access that defines their content consumption. These early career professionals must master the skills needed to excel in the age of automation, where creative problem-solving is king.

For generations, the path from school to the workforce was clear cut: students chose a focus, studied, learned critical “hard” skills, and — diploma in hand — hit the ground running. Now, “digital native” students learn differently , and are prepared to learn endlessly. And those already in the workforce are finding new ways to head back to school for a regular refresh.

How we learn at every stage of life — and the skills we need — are being redefined by our world of fast-paced innovation. In our Back to School collection , we’re taking a look at how technology is changing how we learn and why we think a focus on creative skills is foundational to every course of study.

****Creative problem-solving — the one skill critical to success

How can schools and educators prepare students for a future career given the speed of technology and innovation? This constant shift means the very tools students will be using in their not-yet-discovered careers may still be emerging — or may not have even been invented yet.

In the Adobe-commissioned global Creative Problem-Solving study , researchers pulse-checked enterprise leaders, teachers, and policymakers on what it takes to prepare students for jobs in the age of automation. Responses confirmed an undeniable gap between what students need to learn and what teachers are teaching, while, simultaneously, highlighting creative problem-solving as the one skill that’s critical to success, now and in the future .

“Creative problem-solving is a skill that really matters in terms of setting students on a course where they are likely A) to have a job, B) have a job where they can make money, and then C) have a job that can ultimately lead toward a leadership position,” says Tacy Trowbridge, who heads up Adobe’s global education programs.

Defined as the process of “redefining problems and opportunities, coming up with new, innovative responses and solutions, and then taking action,” creative problem-solving has become an increasingly critical soft skill. In the study, 97 percent of educators and 96 percent of policymakers agreed that creative problem-solving is important for students to learn in school, with three in four saying professions requiring problem-solving skills are less likely to be impacted by automation.

what is creative problem solving in english

While agreement on the need for creative problem-solving is universal, the majority of respondents feel these skills aren’t being nurtured by the curriculum requirements schools face. “In schools today there are tasks, but no value is placed on creative solutions,” said one German policymaker as he articulated a common sentiment, “only on the fact that the tasks are executed correctly.”

The discrepancies and challenges are broad reaching. Less than half of educators feel they have the training and the knowledge to help students develop creative problem-solving skills. Nearly four in five educators say they lack the time to create curriculum around problem-solving, and three in five say they don’t personally have control of the lessons within their own classrooms.

Updating education for the 21st century

More and more educators and practitioners are recognizing the importance of teaching creative problem-solving in the classroom. To integrate this effectively, though, teachers must first learn practical strategies and tactical approaches to effectively and efficiently engage students. They must, in short, learn to speak the language of digital natives, and relate to them on their always-on level.

That means abandoning many core elements of the traditional classroom experience. Textbooks, whiteboards, pencils, and paper are disconnected from the preferences and mindsets of today’s students. “Today’s students have grown up interacting with apps on their phones and the ability to create and share on the fly,” Tacy says. “This creates an interesting challenge for Adobe — how do we design and build tools that give young creators a digital experience in an interface and on a platform that makes sense to them?”

But it’s not a matter of simply putting the same content in a digital format. “If we try to digitally duplicate outdated practices, educators won’t get far,” says Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). “A lot of time has been wasted applying new tools to digitally duplicate dusty old processes — and that doesn’t work.” Instead, our focus should be on using technology to implement better, smarter practices.

what is creative problem solving in english

“Technology is an accelerator,” he says. “If you apply it to good practice, if you apply it to solid principles of learning science, you will accelerate great experiences and opportunities for learners. However, if you apply it to poor practices — things that don’t make a difference and aren’t helpful — you will accelerate those inequities and those bad experiences.”

Adobe is fortunate to work with and provide support for a network of teachers who excel at bringing technology and creativity to the classroom. They share their expertise and experience on the Adobe Education Exchange . Professional learning networks like ISTE and the Education Exchange allow forward-thinking educators to give and receive help.

These networks are a critical means of discovering new tools and accelerating learning. “When we ask teachers what’s valuable to them about being a member of this community,” Tacy says, “they talk about what they learn from their peers and how their peers inspire them by sparking new ideas.” This immediately shortens the learning curve teachers have to traverse.

“If you’re a teacher and you’re struggling with something, you can immediately jump into these online networks and say, ‘Hey, how do you do this?’” says Richard. “You can get responses from teachers around the world that help support you in the moment.”

Keeping up with next-gen careers

The need for skills with broad application is seen in the idea that today’s students must somehow be prepared for jobs that don’t exist, using technology that doesn’t exist — yet. If we don’t know what they’ll need for future roles, it’s essential we prepare students to navigate the unknown, overcome hurdles, and come up with cutting-edge solutions to unfamiliar challenges. This, ultimately, is where creative problem-solving skills shine.

“There was a trend in hiring where companies sought graduates from engineering programs over business schools,” says Alex Gay, Adobe’s director of product marketing for educational institutions. “This was driven by a desire to bring in problem-solvers and parts of the engineering curriculum supported this skill development. Leading business schools have responded to this by introducing programs such as design thinking to help nurture this mindset.”

“Broad learning skills are the key to long-term, satisfying, productive careers,” says Cathy N. Davidson , founding director of the Futures Initiative and a CUNY professor. “What helps you thrive in a changing world isn’t rocket science.”

Having creative problem-solving skills ensures students and professionals can continuously learn through success and failure, work within diverse teams, accept challenges, and take risks, all anchored in persistence, grit, and entrepreneurial spirit.

To shift curricula toward preparing for a life of creative problem-solving, schools, educators, and students must shift from their content-centric approach to education.

“We are preparing students to be learners, and we shouldn’t just give them content,” says Richard, “because no amount of content we can give them is going to prepare them to be lifelong learners.”

The alternative — and more effective — approach? “Help them learn to be creators and problem-solvers, and to distinguish between true and false information,” Richard says. “Those are the critical skills that will help students survive in a world where they will have to be continually learning — doing things we can’t even imagine right now.”

what is creative problem solving in english

One way to make this shift is to reposition the educator in the equation. “The educator no longer holds the answer to the challenge,” Tacy says. “He or she is posing the challenges. They aren’t just the person with the answer key. The students need to practice investigating, inventing, and developing solutions. It’s shifting the educator’s role from being the dispenser of knowledge to creating problems for his or her students, without knowing where they’re going to go.”

what is creative problem solving in english

Another way to support a change in focus is to offer the tools and resources students and educators need to improve creative problem-solving skills — an area where inequality tends to bubble to the surface. The gap in resources is something Tacy says she’s fighting to change. “With Adobe’s new licensing model for K-12 schools, students have access at school and home,” she notes. “They can use Adobe tools on their own electronic devices, which is fantastic. Right away, it helps to reduce that barrier.”

A lifelong learning environment

It’s not just educators or policymakers that need to embrace a change in learning. Going forward, people of all ages — including those already entrenched in careers — will need to commit to lifelong education versus earning their diploma and then stepping away from the learning front.

There’s always going to be a critical role for higher education to play — that’s never going away. But many are seamlessly making the switch to add ongoing learning to their career development plans with participation in bootcamps, symposia, challenges, and more.

“The future of work is constantly fluctuating,” says Alex. To keep pace, students and workers must embrace the idea that “learning doesn’t end when you graduate. Employers need to provide opportunities for their employees to continue learning beyond their graduation and throughout their career.”

“As workers adapt to becoming lifelong learners and gain new skills to respond to real-time changes in technology, individuals and businesses alike will need to think differently about how to meaningfully invest in ongoing training and education,” says Tom Ogletree, senior director of social impact and external affairs at global educational company General Assembly .

This, he says, comes back to preparing students for the future of work. “There’s a broader paradigm shift happening as all companies become, to one degree or another, tech companies, and so firms across multiple sectors are grappling with what it means to have a workforce that possesses both the skills and the agility to succeed in the digital economy.”

Just as educators are shifting to provide learning opportunities, Richard says, “Employers need to focus on providing opportunities for employees to explore, play, and continue to learn. That’s broader than the standard class that an HR department might offer. You’ve got to foster an environment where learning is essential, where change is anticipated, and where innovation is expected.”

For more stories that explore the intersection of technology and education, visit our Back to School collection .

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Anand Mahindra says ‘there’s always a solution’; 6 strategies to become an efficient problem solver

Organisational psychologist and hr consultant at that culture thing, gurleen baruah, says, “consistent efforts and creative problem-solving often lead to successful outcomes..

what is creative problem solving in english

In a recent post on X, Anand Mahindra, a business leader, highlighted a fundamental truth about problem-solving: it takes patience, persistent effort, and creative thinking to overcome obstacles. 

“At first glance, most problems seem unresolvable. There’s always a solution,” he wrote.

what is creative problem solving in english

Whether you’re facing personal dilemmas, professional hurdles, or societal issues, the principles of consistency and creativity can serve as guiding lights.

At first glance, most problems seem unresolvable. There’s always a solution. All problems take patience, consistent effort—and some alternative thinking to resolve. #MondayMotivaton pic.twitter.com/IPcCfKC70N — anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) April 29, 2024

Organisational psychologist and HR consultant at That Culture Thing, Gurleen Baruah, agrees, “Consistent efforts and creative problem-solving often lead to successful outcomes. Understanding the problem thoroughly before implementing solutions is crucial . By spending time and considering different perspectives, one can gain a holistic understanding of the issue at hand.”

Individuals who cultivate resilience, she adds, are better equipped to navigate challenges, overcome obstacles, and ultimately achieve successful outcomes in their problem-solving endeavors.

Let’s delve into six strategies that harness these principles to tackle problems effectively, as suggested by Baruah:

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Start with diagnostics

It’s crucial to first understand the problem from various levels. Imagine going to the doctor, what does the doctor do? They ask you about your symptoms, where it hurts, and to assess, give out tests so that they get the data on what’s really happening. A doctor never prescribes without diagnosing a problem. Similarly, in any problem or challenge, start with diagnosing the issue. Talk to stakeholders, get into the history of it, what led to the problem, and try to get to the root cause of it. Use the “5 whys” method for it.

Hypothesise and brainstorm solutions  

The next step would entail designing a hypothesis around the issue. When you identify the root cause of an issue, try to come up with potential solutions that if a set of solutions is implemented, will lead to desired results. Make sure that you think through things and logically try to propose potential solutions . It usually takes brainstorming and divergent thinking. For brainstorming purposes, I recommend the “6 thinking hats” method where participants think through problems and solutions from 6 various standpoints.

problem solving, Anand Mahindra

Learn to work within constraints and think outside and inside the box

We’ve all heard of out of the box thinking, right? But does it really work? Imagine a problem and you have solutions but it costs a lot of money but your budget is a fraction of your idea. So no matter how great or out of the box the idea is, it cannot be implemented because there’s less budget . Hence start with boundaries, start with a box (like a boundary) and lay out the limitations and constraints first, and then think of novel ways to solve it.

Stand on the shoulders of giants  

Many times you don’t need to think of a solution from scratch. To reach a good solution, take inspiration from history, and research on similar areas, there might be already formed good solutions, like in open source, build on top of that. Use your creativity and imagination on the well-laid-out foundation.

Adopt a growth and learning mindset  

In a fast-paced world, skills become redundant overnight. In order to be successful problem solvers, make sure that you adopt a growth mindset . Be open to learning, fail and get up again. Your quickness to learn will be and is a crucial skill in the 21st century.

Perseverance and a persistent attitude  

You may witness failures and not apt solutions. It’s ok, get up and try again. Most known problem solvers failed many times before they got successful. Persevere, try again and don’t lose hope. Sometimes we are so close to problem solving when we give up. A little more push and you’re already there. So keep consistently working on it.

  • Anand Mahindra

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President Joe Biden believes immigrants have made the US stronger and criticized xenophobia from countries like China, Japan, Russia, and India. Speaking at a fundraising event, he credited immigrants for the country's economic growth, contrasting his pro-immigration stance with former President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric.


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what is creative problem solving in english

Best Games That Reward Creative Problem-Solving

  • As video game technology advances, puzzles have become more open-ended, allowing for creative solutions and multiple outcomes.
  • Games like Portal 2 and Baldur's Gate 3 reward players for thinking creatively and finding unique ways to solve problems.
  • Undertale and Scribblenauts Unlimited offer players the freedom to approach puzzles in their own way, showcasing the importance of player choice.

In the early days of video games, puzzles and their solutions were pretty cut and dry. Get from Point A to Point B, and accomplish A, B, and C using a very specific method. There was only one way to beat the game; players just needed to find it. Part of this was due to hardware and scripting limitations. Consoles had such limited memory that there simply wasn't room for more creative solutions.

11 Best Puzzle Games On Steam That Deserve More Attention

But as video games and consoles become more advanced, puzzle-solving in games has become more open-ended. Developers are now usually more than happy to hand players the reins and let them run wild with their creativity. All the pieces are there; players just need to put them together. There are no right or wrong answers, just what works and what doesn't, and for those looking to flex their creative puzzle-solving muscles and get rewarded for doing so , there are plenty of gaming options available.

Peace is Always An Option

Platform(s) PS Vita, Switch, PS4, PC, Xbox One

Released September 15, 2015

Developer(s) Toby Fox

Genre(s) RPG

This 2015 smash hit revolutionized puzzle-solving and story progression in RPG adventure games, being one of the first where players could complete the entire game without killing a single enemy. Instead, they could choose the Pacifist route and befriend NPCs instead (or go from killing a single enemy to all of them in the notorious Genocide route ).

Beyond the multiple endings, Undertale is filled with puzzles to overcome, not all of which have a single solution. Is a dastardly skeleton placing a maze trap before the fallen human? They might be able to solve it, or they can opt to simply walk around it. New dialogue options and story branches open and close based on who the player chooses to spare and how. The reward for creative puzzle-solving is that players get to explore more of this colorful world and iconic characters.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

The noun's the limit.

Platform(s) Wii U, Switch, PS4, PC, iOS, Android, 3DS, Xbox One

Released November 13, 2012

Developer(s) 5th Cell

Genre(s) Puzzle, Sandbox

Scribblenauts proves that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. No, seriously. The titular heroes in this popular puzzle RPG series use the power of words to solve all their problems. Players can write down a noun and watch it appear in the world. Giving it an adjective results in the object or creature transforming to match its new description. Giving a pig wings will allow it to fly, and manifesting some glue out of the ether will permit players to stick things together. The possibilities are literally endless.

Scribblenauts Unlimited builds on its predecessors with an expansive list of nouns, adjectives, and adverbs that players can use and provides multiple ways to solve each puzzle. The game doesn't care how players accomplish their goals, so long as they clear the level's main objective. The only real limit is the player's imagination (and their vocabulary).

Aperture Science Tests One's Creativity

Platform(s) PS3, Switch, Xbox 360, PC

Released April 18, 2011

Developer(s) Valve

Genre(s) Puzzle, Platformer

The Portal games make no secret that they want to test players' problem-solving abilities. The game's central antagonist, GLaDOS , makes that abundantly clear. In fact, the entire plot is to use those same skills to escape the testing facility once and for all. Each test follows the same simple premise: get to the end of the testing chamber in one piece. How the player does it is up to them - and the game's physics engine. Jump through portals, avoid deadly turrets and bottomless pits, propel through the air -- it doesn't matter. As the saying goes, "If it's stupid and it works, it isn't stupid."

Portal 2 takes this engaging premise and amps it up to eleven. Puzzles are bigger, deadlier, and more complicated than ever before. While some answers are laid out more obviously than others, players are free to ignore those options and think outside the box as much as they want. So long as they reach the final door, GLaDOS doesn't mind how they did it. After all, data is data.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Zonai devices help players reinvent the wheel.

Platform(s) Switch

Released May 12, 2023

Developer(s) Nintendo

Genre(s) Adventure

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a massive breath of fresh air for the franchise. Linear adventures with clear-cut solutions were swapped out for a massive open world and a fun new physics engine that led to infinitely creative gameplay. Many fans of the series felt the game essentially reinvented the wheel of a franchise that had started to get a bit formulaic. However, its direct sequel, Tears of the Kingdom , didn't just reinvent the wheel; it allowed players to invent their own.

8 Hardest Zelda Games To 100% Complete

On top of the many new mechanics introduced in Breath of the Wild , Tears of the Kingdom introduced several new mechanics for players to tinker around with. The best by far is the introduction of Zonai devices, allowing players to use various moving mechanical parts in endless combinations to solve puzzles. Gamers can build siege engines that breathe fire, gliders powered by fans, or massive catapaults to launch enemies (or themselves) off into the horizon.

Baldur's Gate 3

Any solution is just a dice roll away.

Platform(s) Xbox Series X, PS5, PC, macOS, Stadia

Released August 3, 2023

Developer(s) Larian Studios

This award-winning RPG action-adventure game from 2023 famously adapted the core rules of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition into a video game format. But the game didn't just take the basic stats and mechanics; it went above and beyond to allow players to think just as creatively as they would while playing real D&D . Any D&D campaign can go off the rails at any moment. One bad dice roll or truly chaotic player choice, and there will be consequences. That's what makes the game so fun, and Baldur's Gate 3 understands this.

No two playthroughs of Baldur's Gate 3 are the same, thanks to the infinite array of choices , dice checks, and consequences. Players are rewarded for seeing just how many different ways they can solve the same problem. Do they exterminate the goblin camp or side with them? Can they pickpocket the vendor for powerful items to avoid paying? Can they talk their way out of being arrested, either through smooth-talking or saber-rattling? Every decision opens doors and closes others. Each interaction can forge new allies or enemies. Every quest has multiple endings, good or bad. Players can play the campaign however they want and will be rewarded for their creative thinking along the way.

Puzzle Games You Have To Be A Genius To Complete

Best Games That Reward Creative Problem-Solving

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Gemini, Horoscope Today, April 24, 2024: Ideal day for problem-solving and creative ventures

Gemini, Horoscope Today, April 24, 2024: Ideal day for problem-solving and creative ventures

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AstroDevam is a premium organisation providing ancient and authentic knowledge of Astrology, Vastu, Numerology, and Innovative Corporate Solutions with a contemporary perspective. AstroDevam, having patrons in more than 100 countries, has been promoted by Achary Anita Baranwal and Achary Kalki Krishnan, who not only have Master's Degrees in Astrology, but are engaged in teaching Scientific Astrology, Vastu, and Numerology for more than three decades. Read More

Visual Stories

what is creative problem solving in english

Mon, 04/29/2024

Mike Krings

LAWRENCE — New research from the University of Kansas has found an intervention based on the science of reading and math effectively helped English learners boost their comprehension, visualize and synthesize information, and make connections that significantly improved their math performance.

The intervention, performed for 30 minutes twice a week for 10 weeks with 66 third-grade English language learners who displayed math learning difficulties, improved students’ performance when compared to students who received general instruction. That indicates emphasizing cognitive concepts involved in the science of reading and math are key to helping students improve, according to researchers.

“Word problem-solving is influenced by both the science of reading and the science of math. Key components include number sense, decoding, language comprehension and working memory. Utilizing direct and explicit teaching methods enhances understanding and enables students to effectively connect these skills to solve math problems. This integrated approach ensures that students are equipped with necessary tools to navigate both the linguistic and numerical demands of word problems,” said Michael Orosco, professor of educational psychology at KU and lead author of the study. 

The intervention incorporates comprehension strategy instruction in both reading and math, focusing and decoding, phonological awareness, vocabulary development, inferential thinking, contextualized learning and numeracy.

“It is proving to be one of the most effective evidence-based practices available for this growing population,” Orosco said.

The study, co-written with Deborah Reed of the University of Tennessee, was published in the journal Learning Disabilities Research and Practice.

For the research, trained tutors developed the intervention, developed by Orosco and colleagues based on cognitive and culturally responsive research conducted over a span of 20 years. One example of an intervention session tested in the study included a script in which a tutor examined a word problem that explained a person made a quesadilla for his friend Mario, giving him one-fourth of it, then needed to students to determine how much remained.

The tutor first asked students if they remembered a class session in which they made quesadillas, what shape they were and demonstrated concepts by drawing a circle on the board, dividing it into four equal pieces, having students repeat terms like numerator and denominator, and explaining that when a question asks how much is left, subtraction is required. The students also collaborated with peers to practice using important vocabulary in sentences. The approach both helps students learn and understand mathematical concepts while being culturally responsive.

"Word problems are complex because they require translating words into mathematical equations, and this involves integrating the science of reading and math through language concepts and differentiated instruction," Orosco said. "We have not extensively tested these approaches with this group of children. However, we are establishing an evidence-based framework that aids them in developing background knowledge and connecting it to their cultural contexts."

Orosco , director of KU’s Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Neuroscience, emphasized the critical role of language in word problems, highlighting the importance of using culturally familiar terms. For instance, substituting "pastry" for "quesadilla" could significantly affect comprehension for students from diverse backgrounds. Failure to grasp the initial scenario can impede subsequent problem-solving efforts.

The study proved effective in improving students’ problem-solving abilities, despite covariates including an individual’s basic calculation skills, fluid intelligence and reading comprehension scores. That finding is key as, while ideally all students would begin on equal footing and there were little variations in a classroom, in reality, covariates exist and are commonplace.

The study had trained tutors deliver the intervention, and its effectiveness should be further tested with working teachers, the authors wrote. Orosco said professional development to help teachers gain the skills is necessary, and it is vital for teacher preparation programs to train future teachers with such skills as well. And helping students at the elementary level is necessary to help ensure success in future higher-level math classes such as algebra.

The research builds on Orosco and colleagues’ work in understanding and improving math instruction for English learners . Future work will continue to examine the role of cognitive functions such as working memory and brain science , as well as potential integration of artificial intelligence in teaching math.

“Comprehension strategy instruction helps students make connections, ask questions, visualize, synthesize and monitor their thinking about word problems,” Orosco and Reed wrote. “Finally, applying comprehension strategy instruction supports ELs in integrating their reading, language and math cognition… Focusing on relevant language in word problems and providing collaborative support significantly improved students’ solution accuracy.”

Media Contacts

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