- Use a strategic framework.
- Practice empathy.
- Get a hobby.
- Relax your assumptions.
- Practice persistence.
- Question standard practices.
- Consider your past experiences.
- Become an expert in your field.
Try These Tips to Boost Your Creative Problem Solving Skills
How to improve your creative problem-solving skills
Analyzing a problem, developing a strategy, and putting it into practice are all parts of creative problem-solving. Like any other skill, it needs practice and a strategic approach to improve.
Follow these steps to start improving your creative problem-solving skills.
1. Use a strategic framework
Creative problem-solving is a framework within itself. It enables you to use a structured approach to deconstruct issues that are challenging to measure.
Try these steps:
2. Practice empathy
Empathy is the ability to see the perspective of others. It’s a key element of emotional intelligence. It enables you to comprehend the perspectives of coworkers and customers in the workplace. Being an excellent leader also requires having high emotional intelligence. Employ empathy to put solutions into practice that will benefit the organization and other people.
Example: You sent your coworker an email hours ago, but you haven’t heard back. Consider what the cause could be and practice patience. Try asking them about it if you are in the same office. If you notice they are busy, offer to assist if you can. Try calling them or sending a follow-up email if you work remotely. By remaining objective, you can avoid making the mistake of taking something personally.
3. Get a hobby
A hobby presents unique obstacles that force you to switch up how you use your brain. You will gain from the problem-solving activities while having a constructive outlet for stress because creativity is a transferrable skill. You can push the limits of your abilities when you are learning something new. A hobby is a constructive way to take creative risks.
Example: While building scale models as a hobby is mentally taxing, it also helps you unwind and relieve stress from work because you enjoy it.
4. Relax your assumptions
Your ability to recognize something with more frequency is increased by your brain. This might make you want to approach problems the same way you always do. Recognize this tendency when you need unique solutions or innovations.
When you make an assumption based on prior knowledge or the way things have always been, important details and information are omitted. Confront this tendency by making others’ assumptions clear, acting appropriately, and defining expectations for the goals.
Example: Customers have changing tastes. Find out what services are most valuable to them, where they spend their time, and the best ways to communicate with them to increase leads. This data is most helpful before implementing marketing campaigns.
5. Practice persistence
Maintaining a level of strategic focus while dealing with difficult situations until a solution is found is necessary for persistence toward a goal. Some problems take longer than others to solve. Perhaps you haven’t found the right connections, the information isn’t readily available, or the technology isn’t yet advanced enough. Being driven to overcome challenges by a compelling reason why your problem or challenge must be resolved is a great motivator.
Reduce the amount of time between when you recognize a problem and when you take action by practicing persistence. Some objectives call for regular, daily action that is completed over long periods of time each day. Be persistent by looking for information or resources, trying various approaches, and settling on one that works.
An entrepreneur finds that her current marketing strategies are ineffective, for instance. After experimenting with various business ventures for a few years, she learns search engine optimization techniques and begins producing digital content for small businesses. She sets aside time each morning to work on her business and find new clients until it can support her full-time.
6. Question standard practices
Working together is a great way to generate original ideas. It’s also a great way to find simple solutions that others in your company might not have considered. Consider whether this approach is the best one if your colleagues or the industry as a whole are gravitating toward it, and make an effort to discuss alternatives.
Example: A salesman is continuously turned down by prospective clients. His coworkers frequently counsel him to call repeatedly until they finally respond in the affirmative. He decides to find out what the client values and finds appealing because he believes there must be a better approach. This enables him to establish a personal connection with customers and provide them with tailored goods and services. As customers begin to value their time spent with the salesman more, his business gradually grows.
7. Consider your past experiences
You’ve acquired a wealth of knowledge and skills over the years in a variety of ways. Your personal history can help you decide when to persevere and when to switch your attention. This is different from leaning on past assumptions. Your past experiences have given you a distinctive viewpoint that you can use with careful consideration. Consider any similar situations you may have previously experienced, remember how they turned out, and decide what you can do to get the same or better results in the current situation at work.
As an illustration, a personal development coach meets with his clients once a week. This is his first experience coaching a group. He’s learned from prior interactions with specific clients that accountability is necessary for people to feel connected and motivated. The coach introduces this concept to the new group and gives each member a role that will play to their strengths and ensure their success.
8. Become an expert in your field
Sometimes you simply need more skills to be more creative. Understanding the technical aspects of your field will make it simpler for you to define issues, find connections, and create solutions. You gain the ability to anticipate problems by being exposed to more scenarios.
An illustrator, for instance, would like to be able to depict people in realistic detail. To do this, they begin learning about texture, lighting, and line contour, as well as everything else that influences the realism of an illustration.
9. Practice creative problem-solving
Practice is the key to learning a skill. The more problems that require original thinking are presented, the simpler it will be to refine a problem-solving approach. Try regularly putting yourself in situations that call for unconventional thinking. Attending conferences in your field or a related one will help you achieve this.
Example: A backend developer decides to learn graphic design. This expands the services he can provide and presents new challenges that force him to adopt new working methods.
10. Ask for help
Any industry can benefit from understanding the inventive methods used by others, as it can help you make better decisions. A mentor may be an invaluable asset to your career. Try seeking advice from someone else in your field if you are stuck on a problem. They provide insight into a way of thinking that you may not have previously considered through their personal experiences.
Example: A client who consistently requests additions to their project and rejects work without adequate feedback is a freelance web designer. She seeks assistance from a more seasoned designer, who gives her guidance on how to define scope parameters and assist the client in making their ideas more clear. The inexperienced designer can then provide the client with excellent service while still feeling satisfied with the quality of work produced for the cost.
What is creative problem-solving?
Through the process of problem identification and resolution planning, creative problem-solving seeks out novel solutions to problems. It looks beyond traditional methods to address issues with workflow, product innovation, or brand positioning. To foster a culture of ongoing innovation, developing the skill of creative problem-solving requires constant improvement.
Creative problem-solving is considered a soft skill, or personal strength. You might be requested to provide instances in which you’ve displayed this skill during an interview. Employers use this question to get a better understanding of your thought process, how you handle difficult situations, and how you can contribute to their organization.
How to show your creative problem-solving skills in an interview
Employers want to know that you are prepared to overcome challenges when they occur. Walk your prospective employer through a scenario in which you made decisions that resulted in a favorable outcome during the interview. Use these tips to help you construct your answer:
What tends to enhance creative problem solving?
When the CPS is in this divergent stage, brainstorming and mind maps are excellent tools for idea exploration. Additionally, you can increase your creativity by reading our articles on Problem Solving, Rolestorming, Hurson’s Productive Thinking Model, and The Four-Step Innovation Process.
What are examples of creative problem solving?
Creative problems should be straightforward, succinct, and narrowly focused. For instance, attempting to find employment in Shanghai and improving one’s Chinese language proficiency are two entirely different challenges. It will be challenging to try to come up with ideas that address both problems, which will stifle the idea generation process.
What is creative problem solving techniques?
Different organizations will define creative problem solving (CPS) differently. CPS is fundamentally about approaching a problem in an original, creative, and unorthodox manner. The method challenges you to think in fresh, original ways that can assist you in quickly resolving the current problem.