Creative Problem Solving (CPS)

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) begins with two assumptions:

– Everyone is creative in some way

– Creative skills can be learned and enhanced

The Core Principles are:

– Divergent and Convergent Thinking must be balanced

Keys to creativity are learning ways to identify and balance expanding and contracting thinking (done separately), and knowing when to practice them.

– Ask Problems as Questions

Solutions are more readily invited and developed when challenges and problems are restated as open-ended questions with multiple possibilities. Such questions generate lots of rich information, while closed-ended questions tend to elicit confirmation or denial. Statements tend to generate limited or no response at all.

– Defer or Suspend Judgment

As Osborn learned in his early work on brainstorming, the instantaneous judgment in response to an idea shuts down idea generation. There is an appropriate and necessary time to apply judgment when converging.

– Focus on “Yes, and” rather than “No, but”

When generating information and ideas, language matters. “Yes, and” allows continuation and expansion, which is necessary in certain stages of CPS. The use of the word “but” – preceded by “yes” or “no” – closes down conversation, negating everything that has come before it.

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