Creative problem-solving: from complex problems to elegant solutions

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Creativity is one of the most important thinking skills we can develop. It allows us to see things in a new light and think outside the box. Creativity also helps us come up with ideas, solutions, and approaches that other people might not see or think of. Creative problem-solving is an important ability that’ll help you succeed at almost anything you do, from writing essays to working on a team to playing competitive sports and creating the next world-changing invention. Creative problem-solving involves using your imagination, creating new connections in your mind, and breaking problems into smaller pieces until you find the underlying cause or answer. Creative problem-solving isn’t something that just comes naturally to everyone. It requires practice and dedication if you want to become great at it. Luckily, creative problem-solving skills are trainable! In this article, we will explain what creative problem-solving is and why it’s so important for success later in life. Some useful exercises are also listed at the end of this article that you can use as a tool in your daily life to strengthen your creativity and develop your creative problem-solving skills even more.

What is creative problem-solving?

Creative problem-solving is the ability to come up with new approaches, solutions, and ideas. It’s the ability to come up with novel solutions to challenging problems. In essence, creative problem-solving is a series of considered steps. First, you have the opportunity to brainstorm different approaches to tackling a specific problem by drawing from experience(s), thoughts, or ideas. If you can’t think of anything interesting or original, try breaking down the problem into smaller pieces until you find an underlying cause or answer. This process will also help you stay focused and not give up too quickly when facing challenges that are difficult. Secondly, you’ll begin the exploration and elimination phase. Here you have a chance to put any potential solutions into action, testing viability, and so on. The key here is to learn as much as possible from what works and what doesn’t, to think creatively and holistically in order to uncover and highlight new opportunities. Last but far from the final step is refinement. Utilizing all the insights realized through exploration, this is where you pull it all together into a more refined solution and iron out any wrinkles that may prohibit you from achieving a successful outcome.

Benefits of creative problem-solving and how it helps us succeed

The process of blending creativity, critical thinking, and analytical thinking supports new concepts, reveals hidden patterns and structures while adding tremendous value. It encourages the development of innovative ideas through dynamic and sustainable development of new products or services that can elevate the human experience. Fundamentally creative problem-solving has been instrumental in remedying and even eliminating some of the world's most complex problems. It can serve as a catalyst for revolutionary and beautiful innovations. It enables transformative learning and heightened levels of adaptability when handling obstacles posed by fluid situations, complicating constraints, and other variable challenges. Furthermore, overtime through repeated cycles of thinking creatively to tackle issues you begin to develop an innate sense of inspiration and enthusiasm for overcoming these obstacles. Creative problem-solving is an important ability that will help you succeed at almost anything you do. Your creativity will allow you to be original and excel.

Becoming a better problem-solver and ways to strengthen your creative thinking skills

There are many ways to become a better problem-solver, but the good news is that the most effective method is as simple as it gets — repetition. Creative problem-solving is a skill set that requires a demanding amount of mental agility and cognitive power, so it only makes sense that repeated practice is the key to mastering it. Even better, one of the best ways to work on bolstering your creativity is through playing games. Not just any kind of game though, games like Chess, Tetris. Minesweeper, and Kami 2 are some prime examples. These games are useful tools for training your mind and improving cognitive output because they require you to think strategically, creatively, and quickly to solve problems. By utilizing self-awareness and reflection here, these games can also help to highlight how your thought processes can be improved overtime with practice. Another major key to becoming a strong creative problem-solver and thinker in general is by paying attention to your emotions. When you’re solving complex problems, it’s important to stay focused on what you are trying to achieve, and maintain a grasp on clarity of the task, which can be difficult when emotions run high or are not effectively managed and addressed. Taking stake in your emotions is also crucial to enable you to acknowledge and take into account the feelings those emotions evoke — failing to do either of these can dramatically impact your ability to keep yourself engaged during the creative process. Lastly, be mindful not to get too analytical, avoid looking too hard at all the steps required for reaching a goal and instead focus on each one separately with clarity yet keeping the big picture in mind. Lacking the ability to narrow your focus while still being able to align your thinking to the larger goal simultaneously can hurt your creativity because focusing on and analyzing too many aspects at once takes away from the emotional sensations associated with problem-solving for each phase of the process. Instead, focus on every step as if it is the only step, the potential victories, constraints, losses, and how they all make you feel throughout the process as this will help you come up with new ideas faster than if you were solely relying on rational and considering each step in great but stale detail. Here are some quick tips to help you in your pursuit of becoming a better creative problem-solver:

  • Make time in your day to do some form of meditative practice — this could be traditional meditation, taking a walk, or listening to bi naural sounds.
  • Consume content that goes beyond your comfort zone. Aim to diversify the mediums, industries and time period of creation.
  • Practice and exercise your creative problem-solving muscles by playing mentally stimulating games like Chess, Tetris, Minesweeper, or Kami 2 as mentioned before.
  • Create a routine to put your mind in a creative state. The best triggers are typically sensory-related such as scent, sound, and environment. For example, having a specific playlist and scent for your oil-diffuser that you only utilize for deep creative work will signal to your brain that it is time to start thinking creatively, making it much easier to get into the flow of creative problem-solving.

Final words

Creative problem-solving is a creative process that offers a variety of benefits to you, the companies you work for, and the end users who benefit from the derived solutions. To become more well-versed, and hone your creative-thinking skills, continue to learn and practice creative problem-solving techniques. As you develop these skills, you will be able to solve new and more complex problems with greater ease and grace.

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