Creative Problem Solving Techniques

How many times have you caught yourself saying that a problem leads to a dead end?

How many times have you felt stumped when confronted by a problem? You see no leads, options, or solutions. When faced with an enormous problem, it seems like you are up against a mountain that is huge, unconquerable, overwhelming, and impregnable.

Hold it, there might be some hope yet!

Creative problem-solving techniques enable you to look at the problem in a different light. Creative problem solving requires an open mind and belief that there is more than just one solution to the problem.

The following are steps that you might want to consider in order to become more creative in solving your problems:

1) Study the problem.
The reason why you cannot solve your problem is that you have not really taken a hard look at it. Understanding the problem is an integral part in solving it.

Simplify the problem into a single statement. Identify the causes and take note of the interrelationships of these causes.

2) Take note of all the constraints and underlying assumptions.
Sometimes, assumptions can obstruct you from finding possible solutions. Identify valid assumptions and start from there.

3) Solve the problem by parts.
People refer to this as the top-down approach. Write down the question and come up with a one-sentence solution. From there, you can further break down the solution into manageable steps.

4) Always think that there are many ways to skin the cat.
There is more than just one solution. Try to keep track of all the solutions as you brainstorm for creative and innovative ideas.

5) Remember the old adage, "two heads are better than one."
Always be open to new ideas. You will benefit from listening to other people’s ideas. This is especially true when the person has vast experience in solving problems similar to yours. You do not have to be a solo hero to solve the problem.

6) Always practice.
Creative thinking exercises can also help you in your quest be a creative problems solver. Here is one simple exercise:

Take a piece of paper. In the middle of the paper, write any word that comes to mind. Next, write two words related to the first word. This can go on until you build a tree of related words. This exercise helps develop analytical skills and fortifies your creative thinking processes.

So, the next time you see a challenging problem, think again. The solution might just be right under your nose. All it takes is just a little creative thinking!

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