CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING TECHNIQUES FOR BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

Creativity is an essential attributes of any successful entrepreneur. With creativity the entrepreneur has different understanding of a situation due to varied form of ideas being generated.

Creativity can be unlocked and creative innovative ideas generated using any of the techniques below:

Brainstorming         

This is probably the most well known and widely used techniques for both creative problem solving and idea generation. Brainstorming can generate ideas about a problem within a limited time frame through the spontaneous contribution of participants.

An effective approach to brainstorming is to starts with a problem statement that is neither two broad nor too narrow. Once the problem statement is clear, a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve individuals are selected to participate.

As a guiding rule, no group member should be recognized as expert in the field of the problem. Every idea, no matter how illogical must be recorded and analyzed.

 

Reverse Brainstorming

This is a group method for obtaining new ideas while focusing on the negatives. In reverse brainstorming criticism is allowed as against the brainstorming approach.

The technique is based on finding fault by asking the question “in how many ways can this idea fail”. With the fact that it focuses on the negative aspects of a product or service, the group’s morale must be maintained in the right direction.

This approach can be effectively used before other creative techniques to stimulate innovative thinking.

This method produces some worthwhile results as it is easier for an individual to be critical about an idea than to come up with a new idea.


Brainwriting

This is a form of written brainstorming. Brainwriting differs from the classical brainstorming by giving participants more time to think than in brainstorming session, where ideas are expressed spontaneously.

It is a silent, written generation of ideas by a group of people. The participants write their ideas on a special card, which circulates within the group (usually six members).

Each group member generates and writes down three ideas during a five-minute period. The card is passed on to the adjacent person, who writes down three new ideas and so on, until each form has passed all participants.

A moderator or group leader monitor the time intervals and can reduce or increase the time given to participants with respect to the needs of the group.

A variation of this idea-generation method is that participants are located at their respective work-place, separated by distance and the card are rotated by e-mail, in this case the interval can be longer.


Checklist Method

In this method, a new idea is developed through a list of related issues or suggestions.

The entrepreneur uses a list of questions or statements to guide the direction of developing entirely new ideas or focusing on specific idea areas.


Collective Notebook Method

In the collective notebook method, a small notebook that easily fits in a pocket containing a statement of the problem, blank pages and any pertinent background data is distributed to participants.

Participants are expected to consider the problem and its possible solutions recording ideas at least once or three times daily. At the end of the week, a list of the best ideas is developed, together with any suggestions.

Each participant now submits their notebooks to a central coordinator who summarizes all the materials and lists the ideas in order of frequency of mention.

The summary thereafter becomes the topic of a final creative focus group discussion by the group participants.


Free Association     

Free association is a method of developing new idea through a chain of word association. This technique is helpful in developing an entirely new angle to a problem.

The process involve a word or phrase relating to the problem being written down, then another and another, with each new word attempting to add a new idea to the ongoing thought processes, finally creating a chain of ideas ending with the new product idea merging.

This is the simplest yet most effective method that an entrepreneur can employ.

 

The Gordon Method

The Gordon method involves developing new ideas when the individuals are unaware of the problem. This implies that group members do not know the exact nature of the problem.

The entrepreneur begins by mentioning a general concept associated with the problem. The group thereafter responds by expressing a number of ideas. This can then lead to a concept being developed, followed by related concept through guidance by the entrepreneur.

At last the actual problem is revealed, enabling the group to make suggestion for the implementation or refinement of the final solution.

 

Forced Relationship

This is a process of forcing relationship among some product combinations and their features. It is a technique that asks questions about objects or ideas in an effort to develop a new idea.

The new combination and eventual concept emerged through a five step process given below

-      Isolation of elements of the problem.

-      Establish relationships between these elements.

-      Record the relationships in an orderly manner.

-      Analyze the emerging relationship to find ideas or pattern.

-      Develop new idea from these patterns.

 

Big-Dream Approach

Here the entrepreneur dreams about the problem and its solution. He or she thinks big. In this approach, every possibility is recorded and investigated or the resources required documented.

To the entrepreneur idea are conceptualized without any constraint until an idea is developed into a workable form.

 

Attribute Listing

Attribute listing is an idea-finding technique that requires entrepreneurs to list the attributes of an item or problem and then look at each from different perspectives.

Through this method, originally unrelated objects can be brought together to form a new combination and possible new uses that better satisfy a need.

In summary, attribute listing refers to a method of developing a new idea by looking at the positives and negatives.

 

Parameter Analysis

This is a method of developing new idea by focusing on parameter identification and creative synthesis.

Parameter identification involves the analysis of variables contained in the situation to determine their relative importance.

These variables thereafter become the focus of the investigation with other variables being set aside.



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