Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why Creative Problem Solving?

Why Creative Problem Solving?

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” –Elinor Smith

Train Your People in the Basics of the Creative Process

When Etienne Veber, former president of Nutrasweet Company was racing to bring a product to market with a potential payoff of close to $1 billion dollars, he sponsored a year-long creativity and innovation intervention. In order to optimize working relationships and work output, he trained his team in the fundamentals of the creative process and secured ongoing coaching and facilitation services throughout the year. Looking back on the results he says, “The creativity and innovation training has made a world of difference to our team. It showed us how we could do things differently so we could be much faster to market and much more creative -- the results have been amazing.”

Deliberate Creativity isn’t just about new products or breakthroughs

Last year, after Pernod Ricard Winemakers adopted a new vision of “Leading Wine Innovation”, they launched a creative leadership program called Th!nk that is based on creative problem solving. Paulina Larocca, Creativity and Concept director says, “in order to live into our new vision, we wanted to empower our people to be individually creative, to enable them to use deliberate creative tools and techniques not only for big challenges but also for everyday interactions.” 6 months after the training, Russ Schoen did follow up interviews with the 20 participants. In addition to several real business challenges being solved, participants reported the biggest impact they saw was how they approached everyday situations with more creativity.  Tony, a participant from New Zealand in operations said, “Now my meetings and everyday conversations are more effective because I am using the principles of deferred judgment and generous listening.” Anne Marie, a participant from the finance group said – I use one of the key tools – phrasing problems as questions almost daily in conversations with co-workers to get unstuck. And Marie from Marketing said, “the whole understanding of Foursight Preferences, that people have difference energy for different parts of the Creative Problem Solving process, has changed how I approach everyday meetings – I am now able to adapt and actively manage them much better.”

People embracing deliberate creative thinking tools gives an organization the ability to tap people’s natural creative abilities as soon as they are faced with a pressing business challenge. According to Paulina, “It starts with a recognition that everyone is creative. We just need to empower people with the right tools and the right mindset, so they can start having more creative conversations and interactions everyday.”
Take the first step
In the 1950’s, Alex Osborn, an advertising executive, discovered Creative Problem Solving by observing highly creative people, groups and teams and documenting the stages they went through to solve challenges. Osborn realized that problem solving was a natural process and that by making the problem solving process explicit rather than strictly intuitive, people would be able to significantly improve their problem solving abilities. He was right!  Hundreds of research studies have proven its effectiveness; Creative Problem Solving (CPS) provides a common language and framework for individuals and groups to understand complex challenges, generate innovative solutions and create deliberate plans of action.
The result: a process designed to deliver breakthrough results on real challenges utilizing people’s native abilities and gifts.
So whether you want to have more creative meetings, better creative conversations, launch new products, or fuel creative leadership growth, Creative Problem Solving may just be the right engine. Who knows? You may even find yourself on with some stellar new ideas!