Innovative Thinking: Using Creative Problem Solving

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is more than thinking outside of the box. CPS is a process that encourages you to identify a problem and seek solutions—questioning why, when, and how will help you in Creative Problem Solving.

Problems are, at times, overwhelming. Creative Problem Solving utilizes who, what, where, when, and how to formulate short and long-term goals. Great ideas aren’t spontaneous. Following a step by step process will help you achieve Creative Problem Solving.

Creative Problem Solving Steps

The Creative Problem Solving Process includes:

  • Clarify and identify the problem. What we perceive as a problem in a situation may not be the actual problem. Identifying and processing the problem or plan can lead to discovering the legitimate issue or goal. Identifying the problem or why you perceive something as a problem is essential. Once you have answered why something is a problem, the next step is to assess your goal and determine if there is any other problem.
    • Once you establish the problem and why the problem exists, narrow your focus on how to solve the problem. Setting a goal helps define how to plan short and long-term goals. Ask yourself what, if anything, is hindering your ability to reach your goal. Are you procrastinating or not sure where you need to start? Don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, or a therapist to help you meet your goal.
    • Research the problem – Identifying the problem or goal is a start. To understand the problem or the plan, you must do your research. The easiest way to do your research is to use a search engine. Be careful where you find your information. Scholarly papers are best for mental health, addiction, and other issues.
    • Formulate creative challenges – Creative challenges focus on one issue. They are straightforward and concise. Be careful to avoid criteria that require an assessment.
  • Generate ideas. Generating ideas is often associated with brainstorming. Be creative, write down every thought you have, and don’t be afraid to let go and let your imagination run. Watch how you think; use “yes, then go from the yes to a solution, stay away from “no, but.” Find an environment that encourages you to be creative. Take a walk, cook, do anything that allows you to free your mind.
  • Combine and evaluate the ideas. After you finish brainstorming, read through what you wrote. Stepping away from your thoughts is okay. Take time to relax, focus on something else, and ready to come back to your list. Discard the ideas that you feel aren’t related to the problem or goal. Re-evaluate your plan and start to connect your thoughts. Maybe one idea isn’t feasible, but what happens if you link another idea with the first idea? Find solutions by breaking boundaries.
  • Draw up an action plan. Ideas are only as good as the action plan. Ask yourself how you will implement your creative solutions. Build a step-by-step action plan, so you don’t lose sight of your goal or resolution.
  • Do it! (implement the ideas). Take chances, re-adjust your plans when necessary, and don’t stop trying. Whether the plan is easily achieved or takes a few tries, Creative Problem Solving intends to find a solution or reach your goal.

Creative Innovators

Some of history’s most significant creative innovators are:

  • Thomas Edison – With over 1,000 patented inventions, Edison wasn’t afraid to try several different innovative ideas to find the answer to a problem. He said, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  • Isaac Newton – Newton is best known for his discovery of gravity. He used what was around him to find creative solutions. He explains his method for discovery “ I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.”
  • Marie Curie – Marie Curie was the first woman to receive not one but two Nobel Prizes. Her scientific discoveries broke down barriers for women in science. One of her quotes is, “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
  • Steve Jobs – Steve Jobs pushed the boundaries in the tech world. He was a visionary; he introduced the personal computer revolution and the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. One of his creative thoughts is, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something; your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Creative Problem Solving is essential to reach your goals or find a solution to a problem. Don’t wait to see what happens; act! Identify the problem or goal and follow the steps. The regrets we have in life are the ones we have about not taking the first step.

Courage to act on your dreams or find a solution to a problem can seem overwhelming. The catalyst for getting out of your comfort zone is personal. The goal is to seek answers and move forward. You can connect the dots, think creatively, push boundaries, and get up each time you fail. Failure is not having the answer or reaching your goal on the first try – success is learning from each mistake. You can succeed if you let go and believe in yourself. Self-defeating thoughts, anxiety, depression, or fear can hobble your belief in yourself. Feeling any of these emotions is why you may need to talk with someone who can help you reach your goal or solve a problem. Reaching out to a therapist is the beginning of a healthy journey to success. Achieve Concierge provides in-office or in-home therapy focused on your needs. For more information, call (619) 393-5871.

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