# The Creative Problem Solving Process

By Andrew Zenyuch

Outline

• • • • CPS Background Tradition CPS Outline Ground Rules Step 1 – Objective Finding

– – – – Goal & Statement Starters Process Diverge Converge

• • • • • •

Step 2 – Fact Finding Step 3 – Problem Finding Step 4 – Idea Finding Step 5 – Solution Finding Step 6 – Acceptance Finding Wrap Up

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

CPS Background

• Definition - 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 rather than learned with assistance. (wiki) • It is a 6-step process that helps you structure a problem in a way that you can create your own solution to it. • It was introduced by Alex Osborn (BBDO) and developed in collaboration with Sid Parnes.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

CPS Outline

Stage 1 Explore the Challenge

Fact Finding Objective Finding Problem Finding

Stage 3 Prepare for Action

Stage 2 Generate Ideas

Solution Finding

Acceptance Finding

Idea Finding

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Ground Rules

When Diverging • Defer Judgment • Combine and Build Ideas • Seek Wild Ideas • Go for Quantity When Converging • Be Deliberate • Check Your Objectives • Improve Your Ideas • Be Affirmative • Consider Novelty

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Objective Finding

Objective Finding

• Goal: To take a look at what’s going on in your life and identify a ranked list of goals, challenges, objectives and wishes to work towards achieving. • Statement Starters:

– – – – I wish… It would be great if… What if I could… Wouldn’t it be great if…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Objective Finding

Objective Finding

• Pause, take a step back, and view your life as a whole from a distance. • Use the next sheet to answer the following questions:

– – – – – – – – – What would I like to change in my life? Where would I like to go in life? What keeps me up at night? What would you like be to doing in 5 years? What frustrates me to the point I want to put your head through a wall? If I had all the money and time in the world, what would I do? What is driving me crazy? What NEEDS to change? If I could change 1 thing in my life, it would be…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Objective Finding

Objective Finding

Strive for a long list and be sure to use the Statement Starters.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Objective Finding

Objective Finding

• Once you have a list you feel contains some goals, challenges, objectives and wishes you’d like to accomplish, stop and review your list. • Add anything else that comes to mind. • Reflect upon your list and see if any themes boil to the surface. • Cluster similar thoughts together. • Put a star next to anything that:

– – – – – Immediately grabs your attention. You feel the strongest about. Would be the most satisfying to solve. You have the most control over. You feel needs the most imagination and new ideas.

• The ones with the most stars should represent your most important. However, the stars are only advisory. • Now the tough part – pick just one to work on. (But don’t worry, the beauty of the process is you can come back and pick a different one to continue the process with at a later time.)

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Fact Finding

Fact Finding

• Goal: Gather data to develop a wellrounded view and a clear understanding of your objective by writing down important information about it.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 1 - Fact Finding
**

• • • •

Fact Finding

Write your goal/objective/wish at the top of the next sheet. Ask yourself: “What do I know about this?” Write down everything that comes to your mind. Use the following questions to get more answers around your goal/objective:

– – – – – – – – – – How did this start? What’s challenging about it? Why aren’t you there yet? What’s getting in the way of reaching it? Who else is involved? How? What are the components of getting there? What does it feel like? What color is it? Does it have a smell? Was there a time when you were there or when this wasn’t a problem? What was it like?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

• Don’t be afraid to be simple. No fact is too big or too small.

**Stage 1 - Fact Finding
**

Strive for a long list. Goal/Wish/Objective:

Fact Finding

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Fact Finding

Fact Finding

• Once you have what you feel to be a comprehensive list of all the facts around your goal/objective/wish, review the list and write down anything you think you’ve missed. • Be sure to look to see if you missed the obvious. • Put a star next to the facts you feel help you best understand your goal/objective/wish. • Cluster similar facts together. Facts included in clusters do not need stars. • Give each cluster a name that represents the common theme running through each idea within that cluster. • These clusters will be used as a reference to help guide you along the way to reaching your goal/objective/wish.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Problem Finding

Problem Finding

• Goal: To look within your goal/objective/wish to find what problems are blocking the way. To zero-in on the biggest problem and create a defined problem statement to help generate solutions. • Statement Starters:

– How to… – How might I… – How might we…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Problem Finding

Problem Finding

• Write your goal/objective/wish at the top of the next sheet. • There are many barriers and reasons you have not reached your goal or completed your objective. Write down as many problems as you can think of that are keeping you from reaching your goal. • Be sure to use your Statement Starters to make your problems actionable. • Use your list of clustered facts as a guide. • If you’re stuck, use these questions:

– What’s stopping me from reaching my goal? – What needs to change to get me where I want to go? – I could reach my goal if it weren’t for…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Problem Finding

Problem Finding

Strive for a long list and be sure to use the Statement Starters. Goal/Wish/Objective:

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 1 - Problem Finding

Problem Finding

• Once you have a long list of problems that are stopping you from reaching your goal/wish/objective, stop and review your list. • Add anything else that comes to mind. • Beware of any problems that might actually have solutions in them. • If you can - cluster similar thoughts together. • If you can - see if any problems in each cluster can be added together to make a more robust problem statement. This restatement should encompass the meaning of each problem statement. • Go through your list and put a star next to anything that:

– – – – – Immediately grabs your attention. You feel the strongest about. Would be the most satisfying to solve. You have the most control over. You feel needs the most imagination and new ideas.

• The ones with the most stars should represent your most important. However, the stars are only advisory. • Now the tough part – pick just one to work on. (But don’t worry, the beauty of the process is you can come back and pick a different one to continue the process with at a later time.)

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

**• Goal: Generate ideas that are potential solution to the problem statement selected. • Statement Starters:
**

– – – – I wish… It would be great if… What if I could… Wouldn’t it be great if…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

• Write your new problem statement at the top of the following page. • On the following page, begin generating solutions to your problem. • Try to use the Statement Starters as much as possible. • Try not to limit yourself when generating these ideas. • If you get stuck, try:

– Brainwriting – Forced Connections – SCAMPER

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

Strive for a long list and be sure to use the Statement Starters. Problem Statement:

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 2 - Idea Finding
**

Brainwriting

Idea Finding

1. Take out a blank sheet of paper 2. Write your problem statement at the top of this paper. 3. Draw a line down the middle of the page vertically, then draw 3 more lines about the same distance apart horizontally. Your paper should be divided into 8 sections. 4. Write down 2 ideas to solve your problem in the first 2 boxes of your sheet. 5. Once you have 2 ideas written down, give you paper to somebody else and have them write 2 ideas down in the next 2 boxes. They can build off of your ideas or they can write completely original ideas. 6. When they’ve written 2 ideas, your sheet should have 4 ideas on it. Pass your sheet on to someone else and have them write 2 ideas down in the next 2 boxes. They can build off of your ideas or they can write completely original ideas. 7. Your sheet should have 6 ideas on it now. Pass your sheet on to someone else and have them write 2 ideas down in the next 2 boxes. They can build off of your ideas or they can write completely original ideas. 8. Your sheet should now have 8 ideas on it. 9. Review your sheet and see if the ideas from the other people spark any ideas of your own. See if you can build off of them or take them in a whole new direction. Turn your paper over and write down these ideas.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

Forced Connections 1. How would your mother solve this problem? 2. Think about your favorite movie. Who was the main character? What characteristics did he/she embody. How would he/she solve this problem? 3. Refer back to your Fact Finding list and find who else is involved. How would they solve this problem? 4. How would a 4 year-old solve this problem? 5. Are they any objects in the room? Pick one up, study it, write down some of its characteristics and see what ideas you can get from it. 6. Pick up a magazine, thumb through it, read a page or 2, look at some ads and see what ideas you can get from it. 7. How would your favorite teacher growing up solve this problem? 8. Put on some music. Listen to the lyrics, the instruments, and other musical elements and see what ideas you can get from it. 9. Think of your favorite vacation. Mentally relive your favorite parts of it for a few minutes and see what ideas you can get from it. 10. Take out your wallet or purse and examine the contents. What’s in it? What does it do? How can it help solve your problem?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

**SCAMPER Think of your problem statement and ask what can I:
**

• Substitute – What can be swapped out for something else? People? Processes? Components? • Combine – Are there things I can put together to help? Can I put a few things together to help me solve my problem? • Adapt – What’s something I can modify to help? What’s useful for me in other areas that I can apply to this problem? • Magnify or Minimize – Can I make part of this problem really big or really small to help? • Put To Other Uses – If I could move this problem to another part of my life, how would I solve it there? Is there another use for this problem? • Eliminate – Are there any parts of this problem that I can eliminate? How? • Reverse or Rearrange – What if I turned this problem completely around?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 2 - Idea Finding

Idea Finding

• Once you have a long list of ideas for possible solutions to your problem, stop and review your list. • Add anything else that comes to mind. • Cluster similar ideas together. • Give each cluster a name that represents the common theme running through each idea within that cluster. • Go through your list and put a star next to anything that:

– – – – – Immediately grabs your attention. You feel the strongest about. Would be the most satisfying to solve. You have the most control over. You feel needs the most imagination and new ideas.

• The ones with the most stars should represent your most important. However, the stars are only advisory. • Now the tough part – pick just one cluster (But don’t worry, the beauty of the process is you can come back and pick a different one to continue the process with at a later time.) • Using the cluster you picked, restate the cluster as a way to solve your problem by using the Statement Starter: “What I see myself doing is…”

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Solution Finding

Solution Finding

• Goal: Selecting and strengthening potential solutions to the problem by judging them against success criteria and finding the best fit. • Statement Starters:

– Will it… – Does it… – Is it…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Solution Finding

Solution Finding

• Write your “What I see myself doing is…” statement at the top of the following page. • Refer back to your problem statement and look for what you’re looking for this solution to do. • Be specific in your goals for this solution.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Solution Finding

Solution Finding

Strive for a long list and be sure to use the Statement Starters. What I see myself doing is…

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Solution Finding

Solution Finding

• Go through your list of goals and criteria and put a star next to the ones that you feel are the most important in solving your problem. • Pick the top 3-6 criteria with stars. • Fill in the 3-6 criteria in the top of the columns on the following page. • Fill in the ideas within the cluster you selected from the Idea Finding stage in the rows. • Give each idea a rating in the corresponding boxes based on the follow:

– If it meets or could meet the criteria, give it a “+” – If it does not or will not meet the criteria, give it a “-” – If you are unsure, give it a “0”

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 3 - Solution Finding
**

Criteria

Solution Finding

Solutions

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Solution Finding

Solution Finding

• This matrix should give you a clear indication of which solutions will help you best solve your problem. • Select just one solution, multiple solutions or a combination of solutions that you feel will best solve your problem. • Write the solution you picked at the top of the following page. • For each solution, answer the following:

– – – – Pluses – what’s good about this solution? Potentials – what could this solution turn into? (You may have to move some pluses down to this. It’s okay if there’s overlap.) Concerns – what are you worried about with this solution? (Use “How to…” and “How might I…” as Statement Starters for this step.) Opportunities – how can I overcome those concerns?

• When you are finished, you should have a well-rounded understanding of the best possible solutions to solve your problem. • Re-write your solution using the Statement Starter: “What I see myself doing NOW is…”

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 3 - Solution Finding
**

What I see myself doing is… Pluses:

Solution Finding

Potentials:

Concerns:

Opportunities:

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Action Finding

Action Finding

• Goal: Plan to implement your solution by identifying the resources and actions needed. • Statement Starters:

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Action Finding

Action Finding

• Write your solution using the Statement Starter: “What I see myself doing NOW is…” at the top of the following page. • Reread your statement and ask yourself: What needs to happen to get this done? • Write down all the actions that need to be taken. • If you get stuck, ask yourself:

– – – – Who else needs to get involved? What do they need to do? Where does this need to take place? What can do differently that I’ve done before? Picture yourself enjoying the end-game after you’ve implemented your solution. What do you need to do to get there?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 3 - Action Finding
**

Strive for a long list.

Action Finding

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Stage 3 - Action Finding

Action Finding

• Once you have a list you’re comfortable with, go through and star the ones that will ensure success. • Next, write each one into the Action column of the following form and fill in the rest of the columns with the pertinent information. • Be specific with names and dates. • Once the grid is filled, rank each task by what has to be completed first through last. • If you can, try to assign a task that can be completed within the next day or so to get the ball rolling.

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

**Stage 3 - Action Finding
**

Action When? Who?

Action Finding

Who Checks?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

Finished!

Action Finding

You have successfully completed the Creative Problem Solving Process! Congratulations! Now go out there and get started!

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

What Did You Like?

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What Didn’t You Like?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009

How I Would Do It

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Objective – Why are we here? Facts – What do you know about it? Criteria – What does success look like? Problems – What are you biggest obstacles in getting there? Ideas – What solutions can get you over those obstacles? Evaluation – Which solutions best match your criteria? Strengthen – What do you know about this solution? Action – How do you implement this solution?

© Andrew Zenyuch 2009