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Creative Approaches to Problem Solving
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Creative Approaches to Problem Solving
A Framework for Innovation and Change

Third Edition


April 2010 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Creative Approaches to Problem Solving (CAPS) is a comprehensive text covering the well-known, cited, and used system for problem solving and creativity known as Creative Problem Solving (CPS). CPS is a flexible system used to help individuals and groups solve problems, manage change, and deliver innovation. It provides a framework, language, guidelines, and set of easy-to-use tools for understanding challenges, generating ideas and transforming promising ideas into action.

Features and Benefits:

- Specific objectives in each chapter for the reader – This provides a clear focus for instruction or independent learning

- Practical case study introduced in the beginning of each chapter and then completed as a "rest of the story" toward the end of the chapter – This feature provides an application anchor for the reader

- Upgraded mix of graphics – These updated and refreshed graphics include tables, figures, and illustrative images that are designed to provide "pictures" to go along with the word. The aim has been to aid attention, retention, and practical application

- Enhanced emphasis on flexible, dynamic process— Enables users to select and apply CPS tools, components, and stages in a meaningful way that meets their actual needs

- A framework for problem solving that has been tested and applied across ages, settings, and cultures— Readers can apply a common approach to process across many traditional "boundaries" that have limited effectives.

Creative Approaches to Problem Solving has been (and continues to be) used as a core text for faculty who are teaching courses in Creative Problem Solving or Creativity and Innovation as part of an MBA program, or in Education, a course on Creativity (often as a component of certification or endorsement requirements in gifted education). It is also used as a core text for those enrolled in professional development, continuing education, or executive education programmes.

 
Chapter One: Creative Approaches to Problem Solving
Introduction

 
What is Creativity?

 
Characteristics of Creative People

 
Operations Within the Creative Process

 
Removing Blocks and Barriers

 
Creative Results and Outcomes

 
The Context for Creativity

 
What is Problem Solving?

 
What is a Creative Approach?

 
Linking Creativity and Problem Solving

 
A Framework for Change

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter Two: Creative Problem Solving
Introduction

 
What is Creative Problem Solving?

 
The Origins and History of CPS

 
Personal Process Activity

 
The CPS Framework

 
Understanding the Challenge

 
Constructing Opportunities

 
Exploring Data

 
Framing Problems

 
Generating Ideas

 
Preparing for Action

 
Developing Solutions

 
Building Acceptance

 
Planning Your Approach

 
Appraising Tasks

 
Designing Process

 
The Heartbeat of CPS

 
Guidelines for Generating

 
Defer Judgment

 
Strive for Quantity

 
Freewheel

 
Seek Combinations

 
Brainstorming

 
Brainstorming is Not the Same as Having a Group Discussion

 
Brainstorming Includes Having Someone Lead the Session

 
Brainstorming Includes Recording All Options Generated

 
Brainstorming Involves Extended Effort

 
Brainstorming Supplements Individual Ideation

 
Guidelines for Focusing

 
Use Affirmative Judgment

 
Be Deliberate

 
Consider Novelty

 
Stay On Course

 
ALUo (Advantages, Limitations, Unique Qualities, and Overcoming Limitations)

 
Identifying the Advantages, Strengths, or Strong Points

 
Identifying Limitations or Areas for Improvement

 
Identifying Unique Qualities

 
Overcoming Limitations

 
Generating and Focusing Lead to Creativity

 
The Tools of CPS

 
Knowledge From Practical Experiences

 
Knowledge Derived From the Literature

 
A Solid and Explicit Conceptual Foundation Exists

 
There is Continuous Research and Development

 
Formal Courses Are Available

 
Courses and Programs Have Been Evaluated

 
Communities Exist to Advance Knowledge

 
Communities Exist to Advance Practice

 
There is a Documented Need

 
There is Experimental Evidence

 
Cps Has Been Widely Applied

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter Three: Understanding the Challenge
Introduction

 
Understanding the Challenge in a “Nutshell”

 
Input

 
Processing

 
Output

 
What is the Constructing Opportunities Stage?

 
Generating When Constructing Opportunities

 
Opportunity Statements

 
Focusing When Constructing Opportunities

 
Constructing Opportunities – A Sample Application

 
What is the Exploring Data Stage?

 
Generating When Exploring Data

 
Information

 
Impressions

 
Observations

 
Feelings

 
Questions

 
A Tool for Exploring Data: 5WH

 
Focusing When Exploring Data

 
Identify Key Data

 
Exploring Data – A Sample Application

 
What is the Framing Problems Stage?

 
Constructing an Effective Problem Statement

 
Generating In Framing Problems

 
Ladder of Abstraction

 
Focusing When Framing Problems

 
Highlighting

 
Find the Hot Spots

 
Restate the Hot Spots

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter Four: Generating Ideas
Introduction

 
Generating Ideas in a “Nutshell”

 
Input

 
Processing

 
Output

 
What is the Generating Ideas Component and Stage?

 
Points to Remember About Idea Generation

 
The Generating Phase

 
Qualities to Consider When Generating Options

 
Using Generating Tools

 
Brainstorming With Post-Its®

 
Brainwriting

 
SCAMPER

 
Forced Fitting

 
Visually Identifying Relationships

 
Imagery Trek

 
Attribute Listing

 
Morphological Matrix

 
Choosing Appropriate Tools

 
Focusing in Generating Ideas

 
Selecting Hits Tool

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter Five: Preparing for Action
Introduction

 
Preparing for Action in a “Nutshell”

 
Input

 
Processing

 
Output

 
What is the Developing Solutions Stage?

 
Generating In Developing Solutions

 
Generating Criteria

 
Focusing in Developing Solutions

 
Choosing Tools for Focusing

 
The Evaluation Matrix

 
Prepare the Matrix

 
Complete the Matrix

 
Interpret the Results

 
Paired Comparison Analysis

 
Put Your Options In the PCA

 
Compare Each Pair of Options

 
Sum the Scores

 
Interpret the Results

 
Summarizing the Developing Solutions Stage

 
What is the Building Acceptance Stage?

 
Level of Involvement

 
Degree of Complexity

 
A Formula for Change

 
Generating in Building Acceptance

 
Generating Sources of Assistance

 
Generate Possible Assisters

 
Generate Possible Resisters

 
Generating Potential Action Steps

 
Identifying and Overcoming Limitations

 
Focusing in Building Acceptance

 
Sequencing Action Steps

 
Planning for Implementation

 
Implementation Checklist

 
Relative Advantage

 
Compatibility

 
Complexity

 
Trialability

 
Observability

 
Other Questions

 
Obtaining Feedback on Your Plan

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter Six: Planning Your Approach to CPS
Introduction

 
Planning Your Approach in a “Nutshell”

 
What is Appraising Tasks?

 
The People and Context Dimension

 
People

 
Context

 
The Content-Method Dimension

 
Content

 
Method

 
What is Designing Process?

 
Required Results From the Process

 
Needed Elements of the Method

 
Desired Involvement and Interaction

 
Constraints From the Context

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter 7: People as Creative Problem Solvers
Introduction

 
Ownership

 
Influence

 
Interest

 
Imagination

 
Some Key Questions About Ownership

 
Diversity

 
Problem Solving Style

 
Orientation to Change

 
The Explorer Style

 
The Developer Style

 
Manner of Processing

 
The External Style

 
The Internal Style

 
Ways of Deciding

 
The Person Style

 
The Task Style

 
Moderate Preferences

 
Working Outside Your Preferences

 
Some Key Questions About Diversity

 
Task Expertise

 
Some Key Questions About Task Expertise

 
Using Information About People When Appraising Tasks

 
Apply Cps

 
Modify the Task

 
Find the Right People

 
Wait or Withdraw

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
Chapter Eight: the Context for CPS

 
Introduction

 
The Environment Conducive to Creativity

 
Support for Creative Productivity

 
Support for People’s Efforts

 
Enhance Satisfaction

 
Respond to Change

 
Knowledge Management

 
Are You Ready for Change?

 
Dimensions of the Climate for Creativity

 
Challenge/Involvement

 
Freedom

 
Trust/Openness

 
Idea-Time

 
Playfulness/Humor

 
Conflict

 
Idea-Support

 
Debate

 
Risk-Taking

 
Implications of Understanding Climate

 
History

 
Are You Willing to Manage Change?

 
Are You Able to Move Forward?

 
Using Information About Context When Appraising Tasks

 
Apply CPS

 
Modify the Task

 
Modify the Context

 
Wait or Withdraw

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter 9: The Role of Content
Introduction

 
What is Content?

 
The Role of Content In the System

 
Novelty: What Kind of Novelty Do You Need?

 
Size: How Great An Impact Do You Want?

 
Breadth of Impact

 
Depth of Impact

 
Leverage: Where is the Best Place to Focus Your Energy?

 
Identifying Key Leverage Points

 
Level of Importance

 
Level of Capability

 
Using Your Understanding About Content

 
Apply CPS

 
Modify the Task

 
Adjust Expectations You Hold for CPS

 
Use a Different Method

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter 10: Cps as a Change Method
Introduction

 
What is a Change Method?

 
Being Deliberate About Method

 
CPS as a Change Method

 
Do You Need the Purpose and Unique Qualities of CPS?

 
The CPS Framework

 
The CPS Tools

 
The CPS Language

 
How Confident Am I In Using CPS?

 
What Are the Benefits and Costs of Using CPS?

 
What Are the Benefits of Using CPS?

 
What Are the Costs of Using CPS?

 
Your Options From Exploring Methods

 
Apply CPS

 
Combine CPS With Other Method(S)

 
Wait or Withdraw

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter 11: Designing Your Way Through CPS
Introduction

 
Linking Needs to Process

 
An Example of Matching Process to Need

 
Using Understanding the Challenge

 
Using Generating Ideas

 
Using Preparing for Action

 
Returning to Our Example

 
What is Designing Process?

 
Setting the Scope of CPS Application

 
Designing a Single Session

 
The Session Purpose and Outcome

 
The CPS Component and Stage to Use

 
The Tools to Apply

 
Group Involvement

 
The Plan for the Session

 
Tips for Designing a Single Session

 
Tips for Designing a Single Session

 
Have Other Stages and Tools Ready for Use

 
Designing a Project Application

 
The High-Level Project Plan

 
The Parts of the Project Involving CPS

 
The Involvement of Different People Along the Way

 
Scheduling (People, Time, Locations, Etc)

 
Tips for Designing Project Applications

 
Design Flexibility Into Your Project Plans

 
Plan Links Between Multiple Sessions

 
Design for Extended Effort

 
Designing An Initiative

 
The Goals and Strategies for the Initiative

 
The General Plan for Guiding the Initiative

 
Time-Frames and Outcomes of Projects

 
Plan for How People Will Be Involved

 
Tips for Designing Initiative-Level Application of CPS

 
Keep Your General Plan at a CPS Component Level

 
Design for Consistent Project Outputs

 
Plan for Changing Involvement of People

 
Plan Check-In Points Throughout the Initiative

 
Designing Ways to Involve People

 
Determine Your Level of Use

 
Using CPS At An Individual Level

 
Using CPS At the Group Or Team Level

 
Using CPS At the Organizational Level

 
Clarify People’s Roles and Responsibilities

 
Involving Clients

 
Involving Resource-Group Members

 
Involving Facilitators

 
Designing for the Impact of Context

 
Designing for Readiness

 
Designing for Willingness

 
Designing for Ability

 
Designing Your Work Space

 
Some Suggestions for Designing Process

 
Design With Purpose In Mind

 
Design a Straightforward Pathway Through CPS

 
Be Ready to Change Your Plans

 
The Rest of the Story

 
Putting This Chapter to Work

 
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 
 
Chapter 12: Applying CPS
Lost Prizes

 
What Did the Participants In the Session Do?

 
What Challenges Did the Participants Face?

 
What Impact Did CPS Have?

 
Creating Computer Software

 
What Did the Project Manager Do?

 
What Challenges Did the Project Manager Face?

 
What Impact Did CPS Have?

 
Developing New Products

 
What Did We Do?

 
What Challenges Did We Face?

 
What Impact Did We Have?

 
Preparing to Apply CPS

 
Prepare the People

 
Prepare the CPS Process

 
Prepare the Topic to Be Addressed

 
Prepare the Working Environment

 
General Suggestions for Getting Started

 
Use CPS Personally to Demonstrate its Effectiveness

 
Demonstrate the Benefits of CPS

 
Use CPS Soon After Reading This Book

 
Continue Your Learning

 
Debrief Your Use of CPS

 
Use the CPS Framework Flexibly

 
Start By Using CPS On Low-Risk Tasks

 
Integrate CPS Into Your Current Activities

 
Find a Sponsor for Your CPS Application

 
Find a Safe Group With Which to Practice

 
Team Up With Someone Who Knows CPS

 
Use Outside Experts to Get Help

 
 
Additional Resources
About Our Organizations

 
The Creative Problem Solving Group, Inc (CPSB)

 
Center for Creative Learning, Inc (CCL)

 
 
An Invitation
Visit Our Web Sites

 
Attend a Course

 
 
Putting This Chapter to Work
Activities to Guide Reflection and Action

 

"The authors have assembled a complete illustration of the CPS construct."

Paul B. Carr
Professor of Organizational Leadership, Regent University

The book offers a fun-filled was to teach highly important topics like the generation of ideas in a team, preparing individuals and teams for action, and the essentials of planning and designing ones approach to problem solving.

I will be mainly using these parts of the book for the current IHRM course, but am contemplating a separate workshop on design thinking and creative problem solving that uses the Isaksen, Dorval and Treffinger text as one of the two or three essential texts.

Dr Mayank Golpelwar
Business Administration / Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Bremen University of Applied Sciences
September 30, 2016

The book offers a fun-filled was to teach highly important topics like the generation of ideas in a team, preparing individuals and teams for action, and the essentials of planning and designing ones approach to problem solving.

I will be mainly using these parts of the book for the course current course, but am contemplating a separate workshop on design thinking and creative problem solving that uses the Isaksen, Dorval and Treffinger text as one of the two or three essential texts.

Dr Mayank Golpelwar
Business Administration / Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Bremen University of Applied Sciences
September 30, 2016

Useful information

Mr Robert Freund
Learning & Development , Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust
March 20, 2014

Seems to have a good overview of CPS in an experiential approach

Dr Jeff Hornsby
Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Missouri - Kansas City
July 31, 2013

Hands-on approach to problem solving with strategies that can easily be put into practice.

Dr Nadine Tchelebi
Business Law , University of the West of England, Bristol
April 29, 2013

This book provides very clear and detailed description of each aspect opf a relatively complex model. It is very practical and illustrated with some useful examples. As one would expect the work is very systematic and comprehensive, with useful reflective tasks. The case studies aid understanding, and the tips for getting started are useful. Good web site too.

Mr Peter Hammond
business, University of Teesside
September 29, 2012

Recommended text for the Business Methods module. Steps student through problem solving concepts from idea generation to evaluation through to implementation.

Ms Julie Devereux
Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin
July 28, 2012

Nopt what I expected for use in this class but good generally for a mid level management class. Perhaps in the future.

Dr Lawrence Audler
Business Administration , Our Lady of Holy Cross College
June 2, 2012

Fits well with our course and has a resource site.

William Haney
Business Administration Dept, Brenau University
March 29, 2012

For instructors

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