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Creative problem-solving

Creative problem-solving

Creative problem-solving is the mental process of searching for an original and previously unknown solution to a problem. To qualify, the solution must be novel and independently. [1]

Creative solution types

The process of creative problem-solving usually begins with defining the problem. This may be a simple non-creative solution, a textbook solution, or a discovery solution developed by other individuals. If the solution is sufficient, the process may then be abandoned [2] [3] .

A creative solution will have a number of features that include the existing components, or the problematic factor, as the basis for the solution. However, a change of perspective may be helpful. [4] A solution may also be considered to be able to solve the problem within a short time limit [5] (factors typical to the solutions employed by the title character in the MacGyver television series ).

If a creative solution has broad application – that is, it is beyond the original intent – it can be referred to as an innovative solution, or an innovation (some innovations may also be considered an invention ).

“All innovations [begin] as creative solutions, but not all creative solutions become innovations.” [6]

-  Richard Fobes

Techniques and tools

Many techniques and tools are used for creating effective solutions to a problem in the technical and problem solving .

Creative problem-solving technical categories

  • Mental state shift and cognitive re-framing : Changing one’s focus away from active problem-solving and towards a creative solution set.
  • Multiple facilitation idea : Increasing the quantity of fresh ideas based on the belief that a greater number of ideas will increase the chances that one of these is valuable. This may include a randomly selecting an idea (such as choosing a word from a list) and thinking about its similarities to the situation. In turn, this random act may inspire a related idea that would lead to a solution.
  • Inducing a change of perspective : Efficiently entering a fresh perspective may result in a solution that becomes obvious. This is especially useful for solving particularly challenging problems. [6] Many techniques to this end involve identifying independent dimensions that differentiate closely associated concepts. [6] Differentiating concepts helps to overcome the problem of oversimplified associative thinking, in which two related concepts are so closely associated that their differences are overlooked. [6]

See also

Related articles

  • Creativity
  • Collective problem solving
  • Invention
  • Lateral thinking
  • Problem structuring methods
  • Systems thinking
  • TRIZ

Related lists

  • List of thought processes
  • List of cognitive biases
  • List of creative thought processes
  • List of decision-making processes
  • List of emotional intelligence topics
  • List of emerging technologies
  • List of counseling topics


  1. Jump up^ Michigan State University. “Creative problem solving for teachers” . permanent dead link ]
  2. Jump up^ Definition of creative problem solvingis Alex Osborn’s (inventor of the term and process ofbrainstorming) Creative Education Foundation website.
  3. Jump up^ Problem definition [ permanent link dead ] in presentation is creative problem-solving, on theUniversity of Arizonawebsite
  4. Jump up^ Mike Vence about the 9 dots as a corporate promotion of creative thinkingat theWalt Disney Company(Creative Thinking Association website)
  5. Jump up^ About creative problem solvingin an invitation to a conference by theUniversity of South Alabama
  6. ^ Jump up to:d Fobes, Richard (1993). The Creative Problem Solver’s Toolbox: A Complete Course in the Art of Creating Solutions to Problems of Any Kind . ISBN  0-9632221-0-4 .