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.

 

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.

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