We all encounter problems at work and in life. It can be stressful to find yourself in the middle of a problem without a solution. There are ways to solve most problems though if you know when, where, how, and what to look for in creating a solution.
Creative problem solving is the process of solving problems with a view of the issue in more than one way. It’s a necessary skill in the workplace but many people don’t naturally have the instinct for it. That’s why using the tools and techniques outlined in this article will help you.
Begin by identifying and defining the problem, wish or goal. What is the real problem? What’s wrong or lacking? What do you want to achieve or have happen? Look at the underlying reason for the problem. Is it a simple thing or is there something going on causing the problem? Remember, the solution is not to treat the symptom. Address the problem and fix it instead of putting a bandage on the problem.
- Gather Data – Gather the information you need to solve the problem. What data do you need to know? Sort the facts, opinions and fiction. Do you have a clear idea of what the problem is? Examine the problem from every side and from different perspectives or views. View what has already been done to deal with the issue.
- Generate Ideas and Solutions – Brainstorm ways to fix the problem. You must bypass the fears and blocks that keep creative solutions from forming. Use creativity when thinking of ways to solve the problem, goal or situation. Think outside the normal way of doing things when looking for a solution. Other ways to come up with ideas are to use random stimulation by gathering ideas from a randomly chosen word.
- Try It on For Size – Putting yourself in another’s shoes is another idea generator. What would other people do in your situation? Another option for idea generation is to take a break, then come back to it with a new perspective. Realistically evaluate all the ideas before setting up an action plan. Don’t go with the first solution before thoroughly checking out all the ideas.
- Step It Up – Turn the solution into actionable steps. After you generate ideas and lay them all out, decide on which course of action you will take that works best for the needs of the problem. Then create actionable steps on how to do it. Don’t be afraid to come back and re-write or re-evaluate your solutions if you need to adapt or the situation changes.
Creative problem-solving means you must look at the problem in an unconventional way. It should entail evaluating the problem you are trying to solve, gathering all the information you need to evaluate a solution, brainstorming and creativity to find solutions and turning those solutions into actionable steps.