Creative problem solving is required for any thriving business. Inevitably, problems will arise throughout the course of the day, and it’s up to your team and leadership to find feasible solutions. Unfortunately, creative problem solving is a rare art in today’s business communities. Many organizations are locked into old patterns of thinking which result in quick fixes and fail to address long-term impact.
Here, we will explore the definition of creative problem solving, ways this process can help your business, and tips for executing the entire process. You’ll feel refreshed and excited about tackling your next challenge and you’ll feel well-equipped to do so.
What Is Creative Problem Solving?
Creative problem solving sounds dreamy. But it can actually be quite challenging. In fact, most organizations never truly master this process. Creative problem solving can best be defined as a proven method for addressing a problem in an innovative and unique way. Typically, the process will lead to out-of-the-box thinking and should generate some of the most original ideas. Researchers have taken an interest in this topic and there are a ton of resources and techniques for best implementing this process. But the stages are pretty consistent and clearly defined. The stages of the creative problem solving process include the following:
- Defining the problem;
- Collecting information;
- Exploring ideas;
- Stating a solution;
- Defining action steps.
Who Uses Creative Problem Solving?
The creative problem solving process typically lies in the hands of an organizational leader or spokesperson. This person may be the sounding board for problems and is expected to help resolve any presented issues.
Generally, employees in positions of power or influence are asked to lead the discussion and document the final verdict.
How Will Creative Problem Solving Help Your Business?
Practicing the process of creative problem solving can make a world of difference to you and your organization. You’ll find that you can come up with more efficient and effective methods for completing tasks. Also, you’ll unleash more camaraderie among your team and employees. You may even be able to identify future road blocks before they even take place.
Creating problem solving does require dedication and planning. But the end result impacts all areas of your business. Overall, this detailed process can help you navigate your organization in new ways and tap into unused resources and ideas. These changes can impact finances, customer service, and employee engagement. These are all important components of a functioning organization.
5 Key Strategies for Creative Problem Solving
As we’ve already discovered there are a ton of ideas for better handling the problem solving process. Researchers have studied this phenomena for many years. So they have uncovered a variety of successful techniques. Here are a few of the most highly touted methods:
1. Require Prep Work
One of the biggest barriers to effective problem solving is allowing one person to dominate the conversation. Unfortunately, the first person or the most outspoken person in the group generally sets the tone for the brainstorming session even if the idea is off the cusp and irrelevant.
Instead of asking for ideas on the spot, have everyone send you their ideas prior to the meeting. At the time of the meeting, anonymously place all of the ideas on a large white board. Then, allow your team to begin the brainstorming process from there. This is also suitable if you want to develop or review the crisis communication plan of your company.
2. Reverse the Question
Sometimes, the best way to uncover a new solution comes with playing the opposite game. For example, if you’re trying to drive participation at an event, start the session by asking what sort of things would drive people away.
Jot these answers down and then spend time reversing these suggestions. This is a fun and engaging way to get people talking, and you might just uncover some of your best ideas yet!
3. Focus on Diversity
Research suggests that diverse groups will come up with the best possible solutions. As a leader of an organization, you should try to focus on diversity whenever possible. Creating diverse and dynamic groups will allow multiple perspectives to be part of the process. Moreover, this diverse range of backgrounds and experiences might even help you avoid future problems.
Diversity can mean anything from cultural background to roles within the organization. So get creative and make sure you put together a solid problem solving team.
4. Identify Key Stakeholders
Part of the problem solving process involves identifying key influences within the organization. You want to make sure you have the backing and support of those people who can motivate others and get them on board with any new strategies. This is especially important when dealing with difficult or uncooperative employees.
Make sure you write down a list of key stakeholders and keep them in the loop throughout the decision-making process. This ensures the flow of communication is positive. Consequently, it increases your chances of making an effective change.
5. Engage in Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a creative problem solving tool used quite often within organizations. It involves using a collection of graphical images as inspiration and creativity. Participants will often be asked to create a collage of various images that relate to the problem at hand. Using magazines, books, or other graphical insights they can creatively piece together a unique blend of items, looking for new perspectives on the problem.
The group might then be asked to go through the same process with solution-oriented images. A visual display can often spark new ideas or thoughts and can lead to a productive conversation.
Overall creative problem solving is a challenging, yet worthwhile process. If you stay committed, and follow these simple guidelines you’ll enjoy a wealth of new ideas while bonding your team. You will soon notice that you are also moving forward as an organization.
Images from depositphotos.com.