Leading modules


Module 5 “Can I solve problems?” – Creative problem solving

Unit 1 – What is Creative Problem Solving?
What are the stages of Creative Problem-Solving?

How does the CPS process work?

If you search the Internet for “Creative Problem Solving,” you’ll find evidence of many variations, all of which may be traced back to the work that was started by Alex Osborn in the 1940s, developed with Sid Parnes in the 1950s, and nurtured at SUNY Buffalo State and the Creative Education Foundation. The diversity of approaches to the creative problem-solving process that have developed since is a testimony to the power of the idea. While many models exist, the Creative Education Foundation focuses on an evolution of the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem-Solving process called the CPS Learner’s Model.

Based on the Osborn-Parnes process, the CPS Model consists of four stages with a total of six explicit process steps. The importance about the CPS process is to use it step by step. Every step needs to be accomplished before starting the next one.

1. Clarify

Explore the vision: Identify your goal, desire, or challenge. This is a crucial first step because it’s easy to assume, incorrectly, that you know what the problem is. However, you may have missed something or have failed to understand the issue fully and defining your objective can provide clarity.

Gather data: Once you’ve identified and understood the problem, you can collect information about it and develop a clear understanding of it. Make a note of details such as who and what is involved, all the relevant facts, and everyone’s feelings and opinions.

Formulate questions: When you’ve increased your awareness of the challenge or problem you’ve identified, ask questions that will generate solutions. Think about the obstacles you might face and the opportunities they could present.

2. Ideate

Explore ideas: Generate ideas that answer the challenge questions you identified in step 1. It can be tempting to consider solutions that you’ve tried before, as our minds tend to return to habitual thinking patterns that stop us from producing new ideas. However, this is a chance to use your creativity. Brainstorming and Mind Maps are great ways to explore ideas during this divergent stage of CPS.

3. Develop

Formulate solutions: This is the convergent stage of CPS, where you begin to focus on evaluating all of your possible options and come up with solutions. Analyze whether potential solutions meet your needs and criteria and decide whether you can implement them successfully. Next, consider how you can strengthen them and determine which ones are the best “fit.”

4. Implement

Formulate a plan: Once you have chosen the best solution, it’s time to develop a plan of action. Start by identifying resources and actions that will allow you to implement your chosen solution. Next, communicate your plan and make sure that everyone involved understands and accepts it.