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Analysis of Individual Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Skills in Workplace

Introduction

Creative thinking skills are as much about attitude and self-confidence as about talent. Creativity is often less ordered, structured, and predictable. For individuals high in creative thinking skill, range information improved idea generation originality, which in turn enhanced creative outcome novelty but reduced outcome usefulness(TamaraMontag-Smit,2016). Creativity thinking isn’t limited to artistic types. Creative thinking is a skill that anyone can nurture and develop. Creative thinking can take the following forms:

Artistic Creativity

Scientifically creative students had better cognitive inhibitory and response inhibitory ability than artistically creative students, but no significant difference existed between them in switching(Boldt G,2019). Artistically creative tasks might include designing logos, writing advertising copy, creating the packaging for a product, or drafting a phone script for a fundraising drive

Analysis of Individual Creative Thinking Skills

Creative Problem-Solving

The early history of the study of creative problem solving introduced some central themes that remain relevant today. The two overarching themes to emerge are:

  1. The experience of insight (also known as the aha! or Eureka! moment) is an important phenomenon that can result in fantastic creative ideas (Wertheimer, 1945).
  2. Creative ideas are challenging to find. The first theme, insight, was a focus of Gestalt psychologists, who also studied fixation, the “archenemy” of insight (Adams, 2001).

Creative problem-solving stands out as innovative. A creative problem-solver will find new solutions rather than merely identifying and implementing the norm. It is about brainstorming new ways to reduce energy use, finding new ways to cut costs during a budget crisis, or developing a unique litigation strategy to defend a client.

Creativity in STEM

Several studies have focused, in particular, on differences in Person and Process factors between Arts and Science (Furnham & Crump, 2013;). For instance, Furnham and Crump (2013) found that art students, compared to science students, were more open, but less conscientious. Kaufman et al. (2013) found that art students were less agreeable, but reported higher self-assessed creativity, than students in science studies (e.g. chemistry, mathematics, psychology). The fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are highly creative. Designing a more efficient assembly line robot, writing an innovative new computer program, or developing a testable hypothesis are all highly creative acts. The history of science and technology is filled with projects that did not work, not because of errors in technique or methodology, but because people remained stuck in their assumptions and old habits. STEM fields need creativity to flourish and grow.

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Types of Creative Thinking

Critical thinking, Reflective Thinking, and Creative thinking are correlated with each other in a positive and significant way(Uğur Akpur,2020). Creative thinking is expressed in several ways. The following are some of the types of creative thinking in the workplace.

  • Analysis

Before thinking creatively about something, one needs to be able to understand it. This requires the ability to scrutinize things to know what they mean. Whether looking at a text, a data set, a lesson plan, or an equation, one needs to be able to analyze it first.

  • Open-Mindedness

To think creatively, one needs to set aside any assumptions or biases they have and look at things in a completely new way. By coming to a problem with an open mind, the chance to think creatively increases.

  • Problem-Solving

Employers want creative employees who will help them to solve work-related issues. When faced with a problem, one should consider ways to solve it before asking for help. When the input of a manager is required, solutions are to be suggested rather than just presenting problems.

  • Organization

The organization is an essential part of creativity. One needs to organize his ideas so others will understand and follow through with the same vision.

  • Communication

People will only appreciate a creative idea or solution if proper communication is made. Strong written and oral communication skills are prerequisites for that. The situation needs to be adequately understood before starting to think creatively.

Developing a Creative Climate

  1. To run a useful creative problem-solving session, the climate and culture within the organization must be such that the company encourages innovation and creative thinking (McFadzean, 1997). This can be undertaken by ensuring participative safety (Anderson et al., 1992). Employees can only be encouraged to think creatively if they are not afraid of criticism or punishment. For example, if a project fails and the champions in fear of losing his job, then he will never take the risk of thinking creatively again.
  1. Employees should be encouraged to challenge their assumptions and perceptions regarding procedures, products, services, and processes (Jones and McFadzean, 1997). In particular, they should examine procedures that “have always been done that way.”
  1. Managers should encourage “visioning”. Creative thinkers look into the future and visualize where they would like to be in five or ten years. This can be applied to the company as a whole or a department or section or products, services, procedures, and processes.
  1. Establish a climate of excellence (Anderson et al., 1992). Creative ideas need to be implemented effectively to succeed. Managers should ensure that employees are committed to achieving a first-rate performance. This can be undertaken by develop-ing achievable objectives (both as an organization and as individuals) and by producing a strategy for fulfilling them.
  1. Employ people who do not seem to fit in(Jones and McFadzean, 1997). By upsetting the status quo, it encourages people to look at situations from a different perspective instead of a “corporate viewpoint”. This may not necessarily be comfortable for management, but it can help the company produce some excellent innovative ideas.
  1. Allow people to spend time on their pet projects so they can be researched and developed (McFadzean, 1996). For example, the Post-It Note was developed by 3M because the company had allowed its inventor – Arthur Fry – to spend time working on the concept. 3M allows 15 per cent of the time to be spent on researching pet projects (Nayak and Ketteringham, 1991).
  1. There must be senior management support for creativity and innovation (Often, managers will articulate their support but will not enact it. They must provide sufficient resources and training, encouragement for developing new ideas, time to work on pet projects, and/or financial support.
  1. Encourage an atmosphere of enjoyment and fun (Isaksen,2011). Creative thought can be significantly enhanced if participants are enjoying themselves. An appropriate atmosphere may be created by reducing distractions and enhancing relaxation (Briggs and Nunamaker, 1996).
  1. Develop creative problem-solving teams that can work together and develop trust for one another (McFadzean, 1996). Problem-solving teams will be more effective if the participants have the same goals and are supported by a trained facilitator. Group members who share goal congruence will work towards their objectives together rather than working with hidden agendas and conflictinginterests, which will ultimately reduce the efficiency of the group. Also, the group will work more effectively together if it is supported by a competent facilitator. The facilitator helps the group to reach its objectives and can help the group to look at the situation from different perspectives by using a variety of creative problem-solving techniques (Cackowski,1969).

Creative Problem Solving Techniques

Although many teams use some form of creative technique – Brainstorming being the most common – research has shown that other techniques encourage groups to produce a more excellent range of creative ideas. McFadzean (has classified creative problem solving(CPS) techniques into three categories – paradigm preserving, paradigm stretching, and paradigm-breaking. These are discussed below:

Paradigm preserving techniques do not tend to change a participant’s perspective. In other words, no new elements of relationships are introduced to the problem space. For instance, if we developed a paradigm preserving ideas for a new, improved camera, then we may specify issues such as a better quality casing or a faster shutter speed). Examples of these techniques include Brainwriting and Brain-storming.

Paradigm stretching techniques encourage users to stretch the boundaries of the problem space. This is achieved by either introducing new elements or new relationships so that group members can consider something new. For instance, we may develop paradigm stretching ideas by adding new elements to our camera (e.g.adding a motor to convert a hand-wound camera into an automatically-wound cam-era) or by changing the relationship between elements (e.g. using a Polaroidfilm instead of a traditional film). Examples of these techniques include Object Stimulation and Metaphors (VanGundy,1988; 1992).

 Paradigm breaking techniques encourage participants to completely break down the boundaries of the problem space and to look at something entirely new. This occurs when both new elements and new relationships are introduced. For instance, we may develop an entirely new type of camera (e.g. a digital video camera) by adding new elements and relationships to our traditional photographic camera. Examples of these techniques include wishful thinking and precious pictures (Check-land and Scholes, 1990)

Analysis

Case 1: Under Armour

Under Armour, Inc. engages in the development, marketing, and distribution of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and youth. It operates through the following geographical segments: North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The innovative apparel maker has been mounting a $15 million ad campaign, its largest-ever aimed at women, that speaks to those who refuse to accept limits put on them by others. The “I Will What I Want” series began a year ago with an inspiring video of American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland that has racked up 9 million views on YouTube. Copeland, who started ballet at 13, was told she was too old and curvy, and not of the right race to be a prima ballerina. Now she solos to rave reviews. It is clear that how under armour has creatively decided to include a dedicated series of apparel for women. This attracts a lot of women of different ages, and the purpose is served perfectly. Here paradigm stretching technique has been used for creative problem-solving.

Case 2: Luxottica

Luxottica Group SpA engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of fashion, luxury, sport, and performance eyewear. It operates through the Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution and Retail Distribution business segments. The Manufacturing and Wholesale distribution segment specialize in the production and sale of its house brands and designer lines of mid to premium-priced prescription frames, sunglasses, and sports eyewear. The Retail Distribution segment operates through the marketing of its retail brands which include LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, OPSM, Laubman & Pank, Oakley O Stores and Vaults, David Clulow, GMO, and its licensed brands Sears Optical and Target Optical. It has never been shy about experimentation. It was early into the trend of using aerospace materials to make frames lighter and is now trying out 3-D printed frames in its factories. These new Ray-Bans come in denim, leather, wood, and velvet. Luxottica’s Oakley brand is working with computer-chip maker Intel on a new line of smart eyewear due within the next year. The open-mindedness creative thinking as we have already seen above, is being applied here. Trying out new things is a way of creative thinking, and when the vision is right, the product becomes successful. They have used the paradigm-breaking techniques by going off the path.

Case 3: Mastercard

Mastercard, Inc. operates as a technology company. The firm engages in the payments industry that connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, and businesses. It offers payment solutions for the development and implementation of credit, debit, prepaid, commercial, and payment programs. The company was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Purchase, NY. The charge-card network is testing facial recognition software that it hopes will eliminate the biggest scourge of online payments. “We knew that consumers had reached password fatigue,” said spokesman Seth Eisen. “People often forget, and it’s a pain to go through the retrieval process.” Mastercard is also testing secure online transactions with the fingerprint to prove that people are whom they say they are.” This is an example of creative problem-solving. We can see that they have clearly analyzed the problems faced by the people and then creatively developed a solution to it. This is also an example of a paradigm stretching technique.

Case 4: Baidu

Baidu, Inc. engages in the provision of internet search and online marketing solutions. The firm’s products and services include Baidu App, Baidu Search, Baidu Feed, Haokan, Quanmin, Baidu Post Bar, Baidu Knows, Baidu Encyclopedia, Baidu Input Method Editor or Baidu IME and Overseas Products. It operates through the following segments: Baidu Core and iQIYI. The Baidu Core segment offers keyword-based marketing services. The iQiyi segment provides online advertising services. After recent scandals in China over restaurants using rancid, recycled cooking oil, Baidu last year unveiled its Smart Chopsticks prototype, with sensors that warn diners of the presence of overused oil. The Chinese search giant is also collaborating with Tsinghua University to create a device that will help the blind get information through Braille and voice input. The organization has analyzed the problem and made a creative solution to it. A paradigm stretching technique has been applied here.

Case 5: Marriot

Marriott recently collaborated with Netflix so guests at select hotels can stream their queue in-room and with GoPro to rent action cameras so tourists can record their adventures. Marriott and Universal Music Group set a roster of the label’s artists to play exclusive performances in hotels around the globe. Here, creative thinking is a smart collaboration with well-known companies like Netflix and GoPro. This shows that creativity or creative thinking is not always bringing a new product but also bringing new smart ideas and innovation.

Conculsion

By looking at all the above case studies, one thing is evident that there are different approaches to creative thinking and creative problem-solving. The above cases also show us that creativity is not always about inventing a new product but to develop ideas that are smart and practical. Most of the cases solved a problem that existed in the market with their innovative ideas; hence a creative product or service should aim to solve a problem to have a considerable impact. Some of the organizations also showed no fear of testing out new things, and that is also an essential aspect of creative thinking. Experimenting new things without the fear of failure is also a part of creative thinking. Proper analysis is another essential part of creative problem-solving. Analyzing the problems of the customers and acting accordingly is of paramount importance when it comes to creative thinking or creative problem-solving. Hence overall creative thinking involves analyzing, smartly solving a problem and experimenting with new things without the fear of failure.

References
  • Montag-Smit, T., and Maertz, C.P. (2017). Searching outside the box in creative problem solving: The role of creative thinking skills and domain knowledge. Journal of Business Research, 81, pp.1–10.
  • Boldt, G. (2019). Artistic creativity beyond divergent thinking: Analyzing sequences in creative subprocesses. Thinking Skills and Creativity, p.100606.
  • Adams, R.M. (1992). A Creative Four Years. Dermatitis, 3(4), p.157.
  • Uğraş, M. (2018). The Effects of STEM Activities on STEM Attitudes, Scientific Creativity and Motivation Beliefs of the Students and Their Views on STEM Education. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 10(5).
  • Furnham, A., Batey, M., Booth, T.W., Patel, V. and Lozinskaya, D. (2011). Individual difference predictors of creativity in Art and Science students. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(2), pp.114–121.
  • McFadzean, E. (1999). Encouraging creative thinking. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 20(7), pp.374–383.
  • ANDERSON, C.M. and STOFFER, G.R. (1977). Creative Thinking and Juvenile Delinquency: A Study of Delinquent And Non-Delinquent Youth on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 11(3), pp.207–207.
  • Rosenau, M. (1995). Breakthroughs! How leadership and drive create commercial innovations that sweep the world (newly revised edition), by P. Ranganath Nayak and John M. Ketteringham. San Diego: Pfieffer, 1994. 428 + xx pages. $24.95. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 12(2), pp.176–177.
  • ISAKSEN, S.G. and AKKERMANS, H.J. (2011). Creative Climate: A Leadership Lever for Innovation. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 45(3), pp.161–187.
  • CACKOWSKI, Z. (1969). A Creative Problem Solving Process*. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 3(3), pp.185–193.

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