• Katie Trowbridge

The Creative Process - Childlike Wonderment and Creative Problem Solving

Updated: Jan 4

Do you remember when you were young? For some of us, it might be a while since we thought about our childhood.

Being a parent or a grandparent often allows us to revisit our childlike side: we can play with dolls and action figures, dress up as kings and queens, wrestle the “bad guys” on the floor, playhouse, and teach our stuffed animals to read. We can play hide and seek, kick the can, design masterpieces with Play-Doh and Legos, and create silly and adventurous bedtime stories.

Watch any child and you will be in awe by the depth of his/her imagination and wonder.

Where does that go?

When was the last time you used your imagination or were overcome by a sense of wonder? Has our world become so complex and scary that we forget to find time to play? Do the problems you face feel daunting and ambiguous?

In the last few blogs, we discussed the importance of creativity and started breaking down the four ways of understanding creativity starting with the creative person. Now that we all realize that we can be creative - let’s dig deeper into the creative process and in a way - try to solve those complex problems and regain our imagination.

What do you do when you face problems that are:

  • Unique - Maybe you have never encountered this kind of problem. There is no precedent for it or procedure to follow.

  • Ambiguous - Maybe you simply can’t define the problem - you know it’s there but can’t seem to put it into words.

  • Complex - Maybe your problem has so many layers that you simply can’t solve it alone.

Can you think of a problem in your life at home, work, or school that fits into one of those categories? Then keep reading. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) to the rescue!

What is Creative Problem Solving (CPS)?

Creative Problem Solving was specifically designed to help us look at complicated obstacles in an innovative way. There are training programs and classes you can attend to help through this process. Research has found that:

Based on 70 prior studies, it was found that well-designed creativity training programs typically induce gains in performance with these effects generalizing across criteria, settings, and target populations. Moreover, these effects held when internal validity considerations were taken into account” (Scott, Leritz, and Mumford, 2004).

Basically, if you learn how to use Creative Problem Solving (CPS) it can help you excel in all areas of your life - no matter who you are or where you live.

So why not learn how?

First, you need to assess the situation by gathering data and insights into the problem. Clearly define the problem you are about to tackle.

Next, there are three broad stages to CPS: Clarification, Transformation, and Implementation. These three stages are flexible and you can start the process at any point. This process is rarely linear and may need to be repeated several times before clearly solving the problem.