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Guide to creative problem solving

“Creativity” is often viewed as something vague and intangible that tends to just appear in people’s minds. However, the reality is that creative solutions are usually the result of a well defined problem solving process, as opposed to sudden inspiration that strikes from nowhere. So much so that a Creative Problem Solving process has been documented by some of the world’s most innovative brains. If this is a system that appeals to you there are seven key steps involved.

  1. What’s the goal or problem?

The first step in the process is to identify the issue, objective or goal that has triggered the need for a creative solution. Key questions to ask here might be “what am I actually hoping to accomplish?” “Where will I be in six months?” “Is this an issue others have?” Establish a set of criteria that you want to use to evaluate any potential solutions you come up with, for example avoiding certain situations or limitations.

  1. Learning more

The next stage in creative problem solving is to put time and effort into learning more about the goal or issue. That may mean time spent researching online or asking family, friends or colleagues for input.

  1. Define the creative challenge

This is usually in the form of “How can I/we…” followed by the goal or objective. For example, “How can I find a satisfying job that also covers my living expenses?” or “How can we develop products that meet a new consumer need at a lower cost?”

  1. The process of idea generation

Idea generation – is what most people associate with creative thinking. However, the reality is that it’s actually only a single stage in the process. The best way to do this is to find a quiet space, either alone or with the team involved, and then set a target of 50 ideas. The purpose of this is to write down every single idea that comes to mind, without any judgment. Even if the idea doesn’t seem particularly sensible at first, add it to the list and keep going until you reach 50.

  1. Going through your ideas

Once you have a list of 50 ideas take a break. Come back to the list after an hour – or a day – and then evaluate it against the criteria that you defined in Step 1. Do any of the solutions meet all of your criteria and, if not, which ones are the closest match?

  1. Make a plan

The next key stage is to take the creativity you’ve generated and form it into some sort of plan of action. Start with where you are now and the objective you’re looking to get to. Then add in all the small and manageable steps that will be required to get you there.

  1. Get started

The difference between great ideas and achieving goals is action – so, once you have a plan of action, get started straight away.

Creative problem solving can be incredibly effective in any situation, from personal issues to corporate strategy. If you’re looking for some fresh thinking it’s an approach that really works.

Our Creative Problem Solving course looks at the various problems that we face in our working lives.

In-House Training with PTP

PTP stands for Practical Training for Professionals and our aim is to make our training as practical as possible so delegates can return to the workplace with skills they can implement immediately. PTP now delivers training to over 40% of the FTSE 100.

What you get for your money

What is 1-to-1 training?

1-to-1 training can be based on any of the 100 plus courses that PTP provides, it includes an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site one to one training session at your premises with one of PTP's expert trainers and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

You have the option of a line manager being involved in both telephone conferences, the second telephone conference which can be for feedback and action planning is generally scheduled during the on-site visit.

Who does 1-to-1 training suit?

Individuals taking on a new challenge or responsibilities. Professionals who want a trusted "sounding board" and thinking partner. Executives or managers who want to enhance their leadership effectiveness to achieve organizational and career success. Executives and professionals wanting to compete successfully but still retain balance in their life. Individuals who want to understand their blind spots so that they don't stand in their own way on their path to success. Executives and Professionals who want to improve their interpersonal skills so as to be more effective with bosses, peers, subordinates, or people in general. How much does 1-to-1 training cost?

A 1-to-1 training session costs from as little as £400 + VAT and will include an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site training at your premises and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

What is U-Choose?

Choose from any of the 150 plus courses that PTP provides, and choose from 1 of our 50 plus UK wide training venues. You must book for 2 or more delegates and at least 4 weeks in advance, but that’s it, the course you want where you want it. The reason we ask for a minimum of 4 weeks notice is to enable us to market the course you have scheduled to other companies and organisations. However, if we fail to sell any additional places we guarantee to run the course just for you.

How much does U-Choose Training cost?

U-choose costs the same as our normal open courses i.e. the normal delegate rate. This includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, framed certification and comprehensive training notes. A U-Choose booking can only be confirmed once we receive payment which can be made via credit/debit card, BACS or cheque. Payment is due at least 4 weeks before the date you request. Please note to be eligible for U-Choose you must book a minimum of 2 delegates on the same course & date.