Let's work backwards again cause that worked well last time. Problem solving is coming up with solutions for needs, wants and desires. We have established our basis for creativity is so let's put these two thoughts together.
Creative problem solving is rearranging the building blocks of reality to come up with solutions for needs, wants and desires.
Creative problem solving goes one step farther than creativity by taking creative ideas and putting them to good use. Creative problem solving is a tool for us to use every day of our lives. For example, let's go back to our soda pop analogy.
Putting Dr Pepper and Coke together is creative but it doesn't solve any problems. In fact it creates one or two problems during the car ride home from KFC. Now if a 12 year old had the problem of choosing which pop to get and not wanting to make multiple trips back to the soda fountain to get refills with a different kind of pop every time then he could solve his problem by examining how much of each type of pop he wanted to drink during his meal.
First, he likes Coca-Cola more than Dr Pepper so he puts more Coca-Cola in his cup than Dr Pepper. Secondly, he enjoys the taste of Root Beer but still wants caffeine so he only puts a small amount to get the taste while satisfying his need for caffeine with the other flavors. Lastly, He puts in a touch of Sprite to cut the overpowering amount of syrup in the mixture and add a touch of lemon flavoring (always a plus). He has now not only come up with something new or different, but it is something that is useful to him. He can understand it and apply it to any soda fountain he encounters. He has a new tool in his belt, and a lot of soda in his stomach.
He has used creative problem solving. This seems to be a rather elementary level but he has solved his problem!
Now as an adult when an ad for a job says that candidates must be able to use creative problem solving, he can walk up to that soda fountain and remind himself that he’s been using creative problem solving since the first time he was thirsty. And all you need is a desire to do it, the reality to start it, the curiosity to look into it, and the blocks to rearrange it. You can do this with any concept or problem you encounter.
Remember: effective creative problem solving starts with a thorough understanding of the building blocks you have to work with.
- Mark Baral, 2018