In this chapter you'll discover the nature of creative problem solving and how it's related to decision-making, innovation, inventing, and tradition.
Chapters 2 through 5 contain the tools that are easier to understand
and apply. These tools also are the most crucial ones.
Here are some of the most important thinking skills needed for creative problem solving, including how to prompt new ideas and how to welcome them when they arrive.
Goals exist whether you're aware of them or not, and they influence your thinking in surprising and subtle ways. Identifying goals can be done in ways that expand, instead of limit, possibilities.
When you use the tools in this chapter you'll have too many, not too few, ideas for how to solve a problem. Also included is a tool for using those many ideas to arrive at a single, better solution and suggestions for where to start solving a problem.
Creative ideas typically arrive in a crude and impractical form, so refinement, which transforms rough new ideas into practical solutions, is essential.
The remainder of this book presents the kinds of tools that tend to be
more challenging to understand and apply. The division of this book into halves
should not be interpreted as an actual gap in the nature of creative problem solving.
Instead, you can think of this as a good place to pause
after reading Part One.
Schools heavily emphasize thinking in words and numbers. But there are many other useful ways to think, including thinking visually, thinking in concepts, and using your intuition.
Of course dimensions include quantities such as weight and money that can be measured in numbers. But other dimensions that defy being measured, such as love, risk, and assertiveness, are a part of virtually every real problem. Developing a clear understanding of a problem's dimensions frequently reveals a creative solution.
A failure to reach a clear understanding lies at the root of most unsolved problems. Here are tips for seeking out clear understandings that, almost by themselves, make solutions obvious. As a test of your clarity of understanding, do you already understand the main difference between anger and fear?
Going beyond the suggestions in Chapter 3, here are some advanced suggestions about clarifying goals.
Once you've created a solution worth acting on, you must prepare to handle the criticisms and resistance your improvement is likely to provoke. Also, there are important attitudes about action that, as a thinker, you may not already know.
Tools sitting unused in a toolbox are of little value. Here are tips for applying the tools to solve specific problems, teaching children how to solve problems creatively, inventing, and avoiding problems that are now heading your way.
The book closes with a brief reminder of a few highlights and a list of suggested sources of additional information about creative problem solving.
|Your Situation||What To Read|
|You only want to learn a few of the most important tools.||Chapter 2: Welcoming New Ideas and Chapter 3: Reconsidering Your Goals|
|You only have time to read a third of the book.||Part One: The Basic Tools (chapters 2 through 5)|
|You tend to have too few creative ideas.||Chapter 4: Exploring Your Many Alternatives and Chapter 6: Thinking In Alternate Ways|
|You want to get out of your habitual ways of solving problems.||Chapter 3: Reconsidering Your Goals, Chapter 6: Thinking In Alternate Ways, and Chapter 7: Thinking Dimensionally|
|You want to improve your skills in implementing your creative ideas.||Chapter 5: Refining Your Ideas and Chapter 10: Taking Action|
|You have already learned the basics of creative problem solving and want to learn more advanced skills.||The tools marked with asterisks in the outline on pages 315-321|
|You're already a skilled creative problem solver.||The Teaching Creative Problem Solving section at the end of Chapter 11: Using The Creative Problem Solver's Tools|
|You're primarily interested in facilitating group creative problem solving sessions.||The Conducting Group Problem Solving Sessions section in Chapter 11: Using The Creative Problem Solver's Tools which, in turn, refers to specific chapters of the book|
|You're only interested in reading the examples of creative solutions of a particular kind, such as marketing, engineering, finding employment, dealing with children, or interpersonal conflicts.||The pages listed in the index under Examples, types of for the categories that interest you. The examples in the text are marked with a special symbol.|
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