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Solving Problems Through Creative Thinking

In today’s ever-growing and changing world being able to think in an innovative way is essential at many levels. But sometimes it can be challenging to take a step back and reflect in a fast-moving environment.

 

Problem solving includes 4 different stages:

 

Creativity, in turn, isn’t the ability to come up with something out of nothing. It’s about generating new ideas by combining, changing or reapplying existing concepts to different contexts.

 

 

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein

 

 

So how do we use our imagination effectively in the problem solving process?

–   Different Thinking Styles   –

 

Divergent thinking: generating as many solutions as possible to a specific challenge

Convergent thinking: considering various ideas, proceeding to refine them and select which one to take forward

Analytical thinking: breaking down a challenge to its constituent parts in order to find a problematic element

Critical thinking: considering a wide range of relevant factors in evaluating an issue and exploring the evidence that supports or opposes an idea

Analogical thinking: finding a connection between two scenarios and analyze if a valuable solution can be inferred as a result

Inductive thinking: involves the use of knowledge and theories to form a conclusion

Deductive thinking: verification of a new solution by testing it against different scenarios

 

Combining one (or multiple) of these thinking styles with creativity tools like mood boards, story boards, mind mapping or brainstorming sessions will allow us to reach an effective solution even to the most mundane obstacles.

 

Here’s a few last tips to remember, regarding this process:

  • No problem is too big or too small;
  • Creativity tools don’t produce new ideas, they assist the generative process by improving their fluency, flexibility and originality;
  • Interdisciplinarity is good, as it’ll bring more diverse perspectives;
  • A low-stress and safe environment will contribute to a highly active subconscious;
  • Taking an evidence-based approach is important, remember not to focus on the why and how but on quantifiable information instead!

How to Turn Your Creative Switch On

You thought you could never be creative, but …

 

Being creative in every step you take is the winning formula for a fulfilling and successful life.  Although many believe that creativity is a quality some people might lack, it is in fact far more a skill that can be learned. Being creative means being unique and as each person is one of a kind if you feel your creativity has switched off, you can easily press the “ON” button again through following a couple of simple methods.

 

1. Leave the comfort zone

Constantly challenge your thoughts, actions and perceptions. Without continuous development of your mindset and improvement of your personal skills, you might find it hard to show your originality. Break  out of your comfort zone and do something you never would have imagined. Test your limits, scare yourself and study your own reactions. Only through deeper understanding of your character and  personality, can you bring out the best results. Extreme sports are a good option, as well as taking an extra class in a new field of your interest.

2. Multitasking makes your mind flexible

If your daily life is marked by a routine, which makes it hard to distinguish one day from the other, you  should try to change that by adding or switching to some new tasks. Find what makes you excited, what interests you and challenge yourself. Do not be afraid to play on more than one field at the same time, because multitasking makes you think quicker, improves your concentration and enhances creative thinking. In that way you set a more dynamic motion, spark your imagination and expand your view.

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3. Discover your stimulus

Every single individual is unique. However, our personalities are doubtlessly influenced by our environment and interaction with others. Building up the right social setting with pleasant and productive atmosphere is a key element for a full efficiency. Surround yourself with people that foster constructive communication that help you find your motivation drivers and stimulate your creative receptors. Not only people, but the right atmosphere, the right song, quote or video can unlock  your imagination and spark ideas.

4. Collect your ideas

Writing down your thoughts is a great way to preserve ideas. You can use a notebook or your smartphone for the collection and keep it on hand, so that you do not miss anything. At the end of the first month,  read what you have, reflect and understand the direction your mind is going to. This process will help you further work on and develop your ideas. Also coming back to them and expanding them can be quite enjoyable and effective for your creativity.

At last, keep in mind that there is barely any better stimulator for creativity, happiness and self-fulfillment than dreaming. Let your mind wonder and imagine all your wishes coming true. Carl Jung once said that, no creative work has ever been born without playing with the fantasy. So, dare to dream.

Author: Iulia Matei