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Carella echoes this sentiment: “Neuroscience tells us that creativity comes from creating novel neural paths.
Mattimore expands on this idea: “The seven key skills to be an effective creative problem solver that I detail in my book are: 1) curiosity 2) openness 3) a willingness to embrace ambiguity 4) the ability to identify and transfer principles across categories and disciplines 5) the desire to search for integrity in ideas, 6) the ability to trust and exercise “knowingness” and 7) the ability to envision new worlds (think Dr.
Seuss, Star Wars, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc.).”“As an individual contributor to problem solving it is important to exercise our curiosity, questioning, and visioning abilities,” advises Carella.
The three creative techniques we use to help our clients ‘identify the right problem to be solved’ are questioning assumptions, 20 questions, and problem redefinition.
A good example of this was a new product challenge from a client to help them ‘invent a new iron.
Without a clear articulation of the problem at stake, it is impossible to analyze all the key factors and actors, generate possible solutions, and then evaluate them to pick the best option. Elliott Jaffa is a behavioral and management psychologist with over 25 years of problem solving training and management experience.
“Start with defining the problem you want to solve,” he says, “And then define where you want to be, what you want to come away with.” He emphasizes these are the first steps in creating an actionable, clear solution.Mac Leod thinks of problem solving as an integral practice of successful organizations.“Problem solving is a collaborative process — all voices are heard and connected, and resolution is reached by the group,” she says.Problem solving, especially in business, is a complicated science.Not only are business conflicts multifaceted, but they often involve different personalities, levels of authority, and group dynamics.“Problems and conflicts occur in all groups and teams in the workplace, but if leaders involve everyone in working through, they will foster cohesion, engagement, and buy in.Everybody wins.” Although problem solving techniques vary procedurally, experts agree that the first step in solving a problem is defining the problem.Joe Carella is the Assistant Dean for Executive Education at the University of Arizona.Joe has over 20 years of experience in helping executives and corporations in managing change and developing successful business strategies.Decision making is choosing one of multiple proposed solutions — therefore, this process also includes defining and evaluating all potential options.Decision making is often one step of the problem solving process, but the two concepts are distinct.