Skill no. 20: Solving problems creatively

In a global business environment, where changes are fast and furious, organizations desperately need creative people. The uniqueness and variety of problems that managers face demand that they be able to solve problems creatively. Creativity is a frame of mind. You need to expand your mind’s capabilities – that is, open up your mind to new ideas. Every individual has the ability to improve his or her creativity, but many people simply don’t try to develop that ability.

You can be more effective at solving problems creatively if you use the following 10 suggestions:

  • Think of yourself as creative

Although this may be a simple suggestion, research shows that if you think you can’t be creative, you won’t be. Believing in your ability to be creative is the first step in becoming more creative.

  • Pay attention to your intuition

Every individual has a subconscious mind that works well. Sometimes answers will come to you when you least expect them. Listen to that “inner voice.” In fact, most creative people will keep a notepad near their bed and write down ideas when the thoughts come to them. That way, they don’t forget them.

  • Move away from your comfort zone

Every individual has a comfort zone in which certainty exists. But creativity and the known often do not mix. To be creative, you need to move away from the status quo and focus your mind on something new.

  • Determine what you want to do

This includes such things as taking time to understand a problem before beginning to try to resolve it, getting all the facts in mind, and trying to identify the most important facts.

  • Look for ways to tackle the problem

This can be accomplished by setting aside a block of time to focus on it; working out a plan for attacking it; establishing sub goals; imagining or actually using analogies wherever possible (for example, could you approach your problem like a fish out of water and look at what the fish does to cope?) or can you use the things you have to do to find your way when it’s foggy to help you solve your problem?; using different problem-solving strategies such as verbal, visual, mathematical, theatrical (for instance, you might draw a diagram of the decision of problem to help you visualize it better or you might talk to yourself out loud about the problem, telling it as you would tell a story to someone); trusting your intuition; and playing with possible ideas and approaches (for example, look at your problem from a different perspective or ask yourself what someone else, like your grandmother might do if faced with the same situation).

  • Look for ways to do things better

This may involve trying consciously to be original, not worrying about looking foolish, eliminating cultural taboos (like gender stereotypes) that might influence your possible solutions, keeping an open mind, being alert to odd or puzzling facts, thinking of unconventional ways to use objects and the environment (for instance, thinking about how you could use newspaper or magazine headlines to help you be a better problem solver), discarding usual or habitual ways of doing things, and striving for objectivity by being as critical of your own ideas as you would those of someone else.

  • Find several right answers

Being creative means continuing to look for other solutions even when you think you have solve the problem. A better, more creative solution just might be found.

  • Believe in finding a workable solution

Like believing in yourself, you also need to believe in your ideas. If you don’t think you can find a solution, you probably won’t.

  • Brainstorm with others

Creativity is not an isolated activity. Bouncing ideas off of others creates a synergistic effect.

  • Turn creative ideas into action

Coming up with creative ideas is only part of the process. Once the ideas are generated, they must be implemented. Keeping great ideas in your mind, or on papers that no one will read, does little to expand your creative abilities.


Author: bd


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