September 2016 Business SCAN
“Agile” techniques usually make little reference to established creativity theories and techniques, and integrating creative thinking into agile processes is a challenge.
What Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and other creative geniuses have in common is that rather than waiting for creative ideas to strike them, they focus on trying to solve a clearly stated problem.
Problem solving is highly interrelated with the processes usually referred to as thinking, learning, memory, transfer, perception and motivation (Voss 1989). Though many people find that creative thinking and problem solving are closely related, there are also some important distinctions.
Distinctions between Problem Solving and Creative Thinking
|Problem Solving||Creative Thinking|
|General||More objective and more consistent with the facts||More personal, less fixed and tends to include more intuition|
|Purpose||Closing the gap between what is said and what is desired||Guides us in generating and selecting alternatives|
|Task definition||Well-defined and clearly structured||Fuzzy, ill-defined and ambiguous|
|Process: The nature of the pathway toward the solution||Well-known method, a clear and standard approach is available, and the pathway is determined and simply directed towards a goal, usually external||No known or determined method, the approach is extremely complex|
|Goal: The nature of the desired outcome or the results obtained||Outcomes that are readily available or already exist. The challenge for the problem solver is to discover them.||The needed outcome is not currently or readily available. Achieved something new.|
Table: Brief overview based on several scholars’ thinking
Sources: Isaksen, S. G. & De Schryver, L. (2000). Making a difference with CPS: A summary of the evidence. In S. G. Isaksen, (Ed.), Facilitative leadership: Making a difference with creative problem solving (pp. 187-248). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing; Voss, J. F. (1989). Problem solving and the educational process. In A. Lesgold & R. Glaser (Eds.), Foundations for a psychology of education (pp. 251-294). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum; Isaksen, S. G. (2016) CPS: Linking Creativity and Problem Solving, [Online], Available: http://www.cpsb.com/research/articles/creative-problem-solving/CPS-LinkingCandPS.html [18 Aug 2016]; Hollis, B. and Maiden, N. (2013) Extending Agile Processes with Creativity Techniques, Washington: Washington: The IEEE Computer Society
Assess the difference between problem solving and creative thinking in the table above. Try to implement this method in your daily problem solving within your team.
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