Creative Problem Solving

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Creative Problem Solving:

Creative Problem Solving

Introduction :

Introduction Creativity can be defined in a simple manner in terms of the output(s) of creative effort. In this sense, creativity may be defined as the discovery or production of something that is novel & also useful or relevant or economical or superior or valuable. Creativity is often linked with problem solving. Problem solving is a mental process & is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem facing. Problem are what people have when they want something and don’t know how to get it. Problems are of two types, Close ended and Open ended - Close-ended problems have answers that are the logical consequences of the nature of the problem ‘given’. - Open-ended problems do not have correct answers, because e.g., they are not precisely enough defined or because there is disagreement about the nature of the problem ,with different people seeing it in different ways.

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Thus ,creative problem solving is the mental process of creating a solution to a problem. It is a special form of problem solving in which the solution is independently created than rather than learned with assistance. CPS is a method of approaching change within the organisation . Usually involves a team approach because people within the workplace are empowered to participate in the change process when looking for creative solution. An effective organisation recognises that its own personnel often hold the keys to innovation within themselves and only need the right outlet to share their experience based ideas.

Elements of Creativity:

Elements of Creativity Creativity is manifested along the following four dimensions or forms of mental capability:- Conceptual Fluency Ability to generate a large number of ideas relatively rapidly with reference to a given problem / Situation / Issue under consideration. Conceptual Flexibility Ability to shift perspectives /view points , to move from one frame of reference to another and to change or vary the approaches to solutions to problems. Originality Ability to produce unusual novel, answer to questions, responses to problems and interpretation of issues, situations and events.

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d) Complexity Orientation Ability to challenge and find meaning in complex and ambiguous Problems / situations and to enjoy the efforts to analyse,integrate,clarify and resolve them.

Neuropsychological Theory / Janusian Theory about creativity in individuals:

Neuropsychological Theory / Janusian Theory about creativity in individuals Another perspective towards creativity in individuals is provided by the Neuropsychological theory of specialization in the 2 cerebral hemispheres of the brain. This theory holds that the left side of the brain is primarily associated with logical, rational & analytical modes of thinking. The right side of the brain on the other hand is primarily associated with emotional & intuitive experience, inspiration & imagination. According to this perspective, creative individuals may be viewed as those in whom the right side of the brain is relatively dominant. Janusian mode of creative thinking refers to “the Capacity for conceiving & utilizing 2 or more opposite Or contradictory ideas, concepts or images simultane - Ously . The term Janusian is derived from Janus, the 2-headed god in Greek mythology. Janus looks Simultaneously in 2 directions – into the future & the Past. The Janusian thinking hence reflects the creative ability of integrating apparent opposites or paradoxes Towards producing something that is novel & valuable.

Attributes of Creative Individuals:

Attributes of Creative Individuals A strong sense of curiosity Openness & independence of thinking & judgment The ability to see things in unusual ways Accepting & reconciling apparent opposites or paradoxes Tolerance of ambiguity Keen sensitivity, fostering intuition A strong sense of autonomy Not bound by group standards & control Persistence & motivation Flexibility Originality

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8 Phases of the Creative Process Preparation (Step One) The individual learns about the problem. This includes understanding the elements of the problem and how they relate to each other. It may include looking at the problem from different perspectives or asking other people what they know or think about the problem.

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9 Incubation (phase two) In this stage, the prepared decision maker explores a multitude of different paths toward new alternatives. Production or generation of new alternatives Illumination (phase three) This is the instance of becoming aware of a new candidate solution to a problem, that flash of insight when all the pieces come together, either spontaneously or as the result of careful study and work.

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10 Verification (phase four) In the final step the decision maker must verify that the candidate solution does in fact have merit.

Creativity as a Competitive Resource:

Creativity as a Competitive Resource Cultivation & use of creativity in & by organizations enables their members to: Discover new opportunities for growth, development, & performance improvement Analyze & solve difficult problems with innovative insights & approaches in a cost effective manner. Generate resources through greater productivity, cost reduction, & waste avoidance. Amplify the effectiveness of organization’s strategic positioning & responses. Amplify the effectiveness of organization’s work operations & their coordination in all functional areas. Facilitate & strengthen the realization of cross functional integration in the mgt of the organization. Facilitating the planning & implementation of creative methods of management like Total quality control & JIT, & enhance their efficacy. Strengthen the effectiveness of organization’s R&D efforts & facilitate the mgt of technological innovation or product development. Shorten the product development cycle from the stages of concept & inception to market introduction & commercial production.

Strategic issues & company culture (By Miller in 1987):

Strategic issues & company culture (By Miller in 1987) C = Collaboration & communication (How do people work together & communicate across department lines & within project teams) R= Roles, Risks & Rewards (Who are the best initiators & implementers of new ideas, & how do they work best?) E= Environmental monitoring (What trends & events signal threats & opportunities, & how is the information spread throughout the organization) A= Administration (How is the innovation supported by the follwg systems: Budget & accounting, information management, PA, reporting structure & innovation process) T= Transition Management (How are changes in organizational life planned, paced, communicated & implemented) I= Intuition & logic (How are both intuition & logic honored, utilized in defining problems, generating solutions & making decisions)

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V= Vision & Purpose (How do people agree with & unite around a central sense of purpose & vision and the subsequent priorities for innovation) E= Evaluation methods (How are ideas evaluated by what criteria & processes at various stages?) The above 8 issues C.R.E.A.TI.V.E bring out the pervasive (universal, consistent) role of organization culture, in each of the preceding contexts. They also exemplify the myriad ways in which a strong culture of creativity & shared vision, influences an organization’s steering of its innovation processes.

Skills required for building a creative environment:

Skills required for building a creative environment In order to develop a creative approach to problems & ways of coping with them innovatively, organization personnel need to cultivate certain basic thinking skills. These essential skills are: CONVERGENT THINKING : It is rational & involves mechanisms like categorization/classification, logical analysis, comparison, evaluation, synthesis & optimization. It consists of those abilities which enable one to reach a right solution to problems which mostly have one right solution. Problems that may potentially have plural solutions, require the exercise of divergent thinking mechanisms. The mechanisms of convergent thinking may be outlined as follows: A. Classification/Categorization : It involves listing the components/elements of a problem, using analogies, making comparisons & displaying the situation through tables, charts & diagrams. B. Analysis: It involves breaking down or factoring a problem into sub-problems, seeking relationships & cross-relationships among components to design steps to a possible solution, & transforming the problem into an abstract or symbolic form of a model on which symbolic manipulations may be performed.

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C. Synthesis : it is concerned with seeing patterns among components or elements & involves aggregation & juxtaposition of elements in terms of their similarity, proximity, consistency, relationships, & so on. D. Optimization : It is essentially concerned with refining a solution. It may hence involve substitution of parts, addition of components/elements, deletion of superfluous items, modification of elements & alternation of connecting points or relations in terms of the evaluative criteria for a solution. DIVERGENT THINKING : It involves approaches or perspectives that may be uncommon or unusual, resulting in novel solutions MAKING FORCED RELATIONSHIPS : A distinctive characteristic of the creative process is the ability to connect 2 or more apparently different or disparate ideas, concepts, elements, or entities. Eg : Locomotive engine & a competent manager. RECOGNIZING POSITIVE POTENTIAL IN A PROBLEM : The ability to find the positive potential in a problem is a mark of creative openness, receptivity & flexibility.

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DISSECTING IDEAS : Dissecting an idea implies developing a list of what is useful or relevant & then identifying what is missing. VISUALIZING FUTURE SOLUTION STATE(S): In terms of such a vision, they take existing components or elements & manipulate them into something new in order to solve a problem. For them “what could be” or “what should be” are more important & meaningful than “what is”. They possess a futuristic orientation towards towards problem solving.

Techniques for Creative Problem Solving:

Techniques for Creative Problem Solving Reverse Brainstorming : It is a variation of the brainstorming technique. The group here is asked to focus on as many things wrong with a product, process, system or service as they can. The focus may then shift towards recycling the deficiencies. Induced Disassociation: This technique consists of looking at, or staring at a product or object, while trying to keep the mind in a blank state. The purpose here is to obtain a new & unusual view of the product / object. Attribute Listing : This technique involves a listing of all the meaningful attributes of a procedure, process or product & then focusing on ways of improving or upgrading any or all of them. Synectics : It is an approach & a procedure developed by Gordon who defines it as “ the joining together of different & apparently irrelevant elements” to resolve a paradox or a problem. The team uses analogy & metaphor for 2 asks: Making the strange familiar Making the familiar strange Types of analogy used are: Personal , Direct, Symbolic, Fantasy

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Morphological Method: Developed by Zwicky , which suggests looking at different combinations of problems and solutions putting them into a matrix for exploring further opportunities. Inter-relationship Digraph: The technique starts with a central idea, issue or problem & leads to the generation of a large number of ideas. Arrows are used to mark relationships. Key factor is recognised which is closely related to the central element. Majorly adopted to resolve operational issues. Tree or Systems flow diagram : This technique attempts to systematically map out the full range of paths & tasks that need to be accomplished for achieving an overall goal.

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Aircraft late to gate Late food service Late fuel Late cabin cleaners Poor announcement of departures Weight and balance sheet late Delayed Departures Delayed check-in procedure Acceptance of late passengers Facilities, Equipment Gate agents cannot process fast enough Late/unavailable airline crew Arrive late Oversized bags Weather Air traffic Frontstage Personnel Procedures Materials, Supplies Backstage Personnel Information Customers Other Causes Mechanical Failures Late pushback Late baggage Cause effect / Ishikawa/ Fish-bone diagram

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Matrix Analysis: The technique organizes large group of characteristics, functions & tasks in terms of their logical connections. A matrix diagram is based on a premise that whenever a series of items are placed in a horizontal row & another series of items in a vertical column there will be intersecting points indicating a relationship. Matrix diagrams are used in several form: L-shaped T-shaped Idea box L-shaped Matrix Matrix: Allocation of Organizational tasks Coding: pr : Primary responsibility sr : Senior responsibility nk : Need to know pr Persons P1 P2 P3 ………….. Pn Tasks T1 T2 T3 . . . Tn sr nk

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T-shaped Matrix: Combination of 2 L-shaped matrix diagrams. It is based on the premise that 2 separate sets of items are both related to a 3 rd set. c4 C A B A1 A2 A3 A4 --------- C4 C3 C2 C1 B 4 B 3 B 2 B 1 Eg : To show the relationship between a set of courses in a curriculum (A items), & 2 important set of considerations: Who should provide the training for each course (C items) And the most appropriate functional area personnel to attend each of the courses (B items)

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Idea box: 2 dimensional idea box is used to explore new ideas or alternatives.4 steps to be followed: - Specifying your purpose or what you are trying to accomplish Identifying the parameters of the problem Listing variations & Trying different combinations Input Timing Subject Target group 1) Meeting Once Programming Seniors 2) Forum Quarterly Facilities Teenagers 3)Questionnaire Semi-annually Access & hours Pre-scholars 4) E-mail Ongoing Volunteering Business Eg : City development A forum helds semi annually on volunteering for seniors A questionnaire mailed quarterly on facility construction to business people

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Value Analysis : Value is a personal perspective of, a person’s willingness to pay for the performance delivered by a product, process or project. Good value is achieved when the required performance can be accurately defined & delivered at the lowest lifecycle cost. Value (P) = Desired performance Overall costs © Serendipity : Serendipity is the discovery of things by happy accident or chance such as Fleming is purported to have done with pencillin SWOT Analysis : How to turn weakness into strengths & threats into opportunities. Force Field Analysis : A technique to find out what impact a proposed solution is likely to have during implementation. Solutions are subject to myriad of forces, some supportive called driving forces & some unhelpful & constraining called restraining forces . The key lies in increasing the strength of the driving forces or by removing or decreasing the resisting forces. Eg : Introduction of Information technology in the Banking arena.

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Barriers to Creative Problem Solving Overcoming Barriers to Creative problem solving Fear of Rejection Fear of Risk No expectation that Idea’s are everyone’s responsibility Too much time between creation & implementation Neglect Only left brains Valuing only big ideas Short term Over allegiance (commitment) Encourage challenge from all Involve people Know the problem Get people together Remember 90/10 rule

Japanese Enterprises as Exemplars :

Japanese Enterprises as Exemplars Japan is a mountainous, overcrowded, & resource poor country. It is compulsively dependent on exports for survival, but for which it must import materials of all types including fuel & food. Japanese enterprises, however not only they have been able to cope with these challenges effectively but also in the process have been able to elevate their country to the status of the world’s foremost economic superpower. “ The Phoenix Bird ” Japanese firms ability to turn challenges into opportunities has been based on the creative skills, talents & commitment of their human resources. Japanese firms have overturned a number of principles & practices of western management wisdom. Some examples in this context may be briefly as follows: By inventing the JIT System of stockless production, Japanese firms made the entire western system of inventory management obsolete, & gained cost savings of the order of more than 10%. Zero-defect production Partners-in-profit : Coopting their suppliers as partners in profit & developing strong & stable collaborative relationships with them, Japanese enterprises reduced drastically the time, costs such involved. The collaborative relationship also helps reduce their time-to-market for new products.

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By introducing the small group mechanism of quality circles , Japanese companies created a low cost & a high gain system of extensive bottom line experimentation for improving production technology in a continuing & cumulative manner. By developing a flexible & fluid organization structure & cross-functional teams for projects & problem solving, Japanese companies have been able to shorten substantially the time for developing new products. Technology Fusion

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