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CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING

Q-1. What do you mean by creative problem-solving? Briefly discuss various


methods/techniques of creative problem-solving.
Ans: Creative problem-solving : Creative problem-solving is the mental process of creating
a solution to a problem. Creativity is an important attribute of a successful entrepreneur. But, it
declines with age, education (i.e. development of logic) and lack of use. Creativity can be
unlocked by using creative problem-solving techniques. Creativity plays an important role in
generating a useful idea, which can be transformed into a commercial product/service.
Techniques/methods of creative problem-solving : Some of the creative problem-solving
techniques used by entrepreneurs are as follows :
(1) Brainstorming : It is a well-known and widely used technique for creative problem-solving
as well as idea generation. In brainstorming, the problem is clearly and specifically defined.
It is written on a whiteboard or a flipchart. Approx. 612 people participate. The duration
can be from 30 minutes to an hour. Participants give their suggestions/ideas one-by-one.
Certain ground rules are set and followed, such as .
No idea should be criticized or evaluated.
All ideas are welcomed logical as well as illogical.
Freewheeling is allowed the wilder the idea, the better it is.
Participants can use ideas of others to suggest their own.
Quantity of idea is more important than its quality -the greater the no. of ideas, the
greater the chances of the useful ideas.
All the ideas (including wild ones) are recorded.
Brainstorming helps people to come out of their fixed thinking patterns and use ideas of
others to trigger their own thinking. It is fun as no one dominates or inhibits the discussion.

(2) Reverse Brainstorming : Reverse brainstorming is also called negative brainstorming. It


requires more efforts as compared to brainstorming process. Here, instead of finding out a
creative idea, group members try to find out what can go wrong with the idea, product or
service. Everyone tries to answer the question : In how many ways can the idea / product /
service fail ? Unlike brainstorming, here members are encouraged to criticize each idea.
Once the possibilities and causes of failure are identified, the group discuss the ways for
preventing such failure. This exercise, ultimately leads to a newer, safer and superior
product or service.

(3) Brainwriting : Brainwriting is a form of written brainstorming. In brainwriting, participants are


given more time to think than brainstorming. Here, a leader is appointed to monitor the
whole process. Each participant gets 5 minutes to write down 3 ideas on special forms or
cards. He then passes it on to the next participant. The next person uses them to trigger
own ideas. He also writes another 3 ideas and passes it on to the next. The process
continues until the form/card is completed. The comments, questions and suggestions of
each member are recorded. Finally, all the cards are collected and posted on the wall.
Now, the discussion starts, which may result into a creative idea.
(4) Gordon Method : In this technique, participants are not told about the exact nature of the
problem. Suppose the problem is whenever a viewer wants to talk with senesce, he/she has
to reduce T.V. volume every now and then. The entrepreneur starts by mentioning a general
concept associated with the problem e.g. reduction in noise. Participants responds by
expressing a number of ideas such as closing the door to prevent outside noise, or
disturbance created by neighbors music system.. Then a concept is developed, followed by
related concepts. The entrepreneur keeps on guiding the participants during all these.
Finally, the actual problem is revealed. Based on that, participants refine the final solution.
Gordon method prevents preconceived ideas and fixed behavioural patterns. Thus, it helps
to generate an innovative solution to a problem.

(5) Checklist Method : In checklist method, a new idea is developed or a problem is solved
through a list of related issues or suggestions. The issues / suggestions are in the form of
questions or statements. The entrepreneur can use this list to develop an entirely new idea
or to concentrate on specific ideas.

(6) Free Association : It is a simple, but very effective method for idea generation/creative
problem-solving. It helps to view a problem from a new, different perspective. Here, first, a
word or phrase related to the problem is written down. Then, one after another, new
words are added. Thus, a chain of ideas is created, which can result into a new product
idea. Mobile Phone idea
1

Mobile Library
Social Mobility idea 2
idea 6
Trigger Idea
Mobile
Mobile car repair Mobile Blood Bank
idea 5 idea 3
Mobile Ice cream
vendor idea 4

(7) Collective Notebook Method : In this method, the entrepreneur arranges for a small,
pocket-sized notebook. The notebook contains a statement of the problem, related data
and blank pages. Such notebook are then distributed to the target participants. Participants
have to record their ideas (solutions) in three notebooks preferably three times a day. At
the end of the month, these ideas are collected and analyzed. Based on them, a list of the
best ideas along with suggestions is developed. Ideas can also be given to a central co-
ordinator, who prepares their summary.

(8) Attribute Listing : Here, the entrepreneur makes a list of various attributes of a product,
service or problem. e.g. attributes of a pencil would be shaft material, lead material, hardness
of lead, width of lead, quality, colour, weight, price etc. A table is drawn, having these
attributes as column headings. Below each column heading, possible variations are listed
one-by-one. Now, by selecting and mixing one item from each column, a new mixture of
components can be prepared. It can be a new product, service, strategy or solution.
Finally, the mixtures are evaluated and improved to ensure whether any of them is feasible
or not.

(9) Forced Relationships : It is the process of forcing relationships between different


products e.g. paper and soap. Thinking about different combinations can lead to a new
idea or solution.
e.g. Relationship/Combination Idea for possible product
Papery soap Flakes
Soapy paper Wash & dry travel aid
Paper soaps Tough paper having immersed into liquid
soap-useful to wash surfaces.

(10) Big-dream Approach : Here, the entrepreneur dreams about the problem and its solution.
thus, he thinks big. He records and investigates every possibility, without considering
anything negative. The base of this technique is to conceptualize idea without any
constraints until it gets into a workable form.