Creative Problem Solving and Leadership


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"You know more than you think you do." --Dr. Benjamin Spock

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Creative Problem Solving and Leadership

  1. 1. Page 1 of 4 BUKIDNON STATE UNIVERSITY EXTERNAL STUDIES San Francisco, Agusan del Sur Subject : Executive Leadership Topic : Creative Problem Solving and Leadership Instructor : Jessie P. Omamalin, MPA Reporter : Rodalyn G. Salvaleon-Tusoy Scope of Presentation are as follows: Creative Problem Solving and leadership: Steps in the Creative Process Characteristics of Creative Leaders Overcoming Traditional Thinking as Creative Strategy. Creative problem solving is a skill that is necessary for leaders. Being able to devise creative solutions to difficult problems will establish your credibility as an effective leader. Creative leadership is the concept that leaders who exhibit imaginative and inventive qualities are better able to impact individuals who work underneath them or who look to them for guidance. The concept also maintains that more creative leaders are better equipped to find unique solutions to complicated problems. In addition, this style of leadership is often driven by the notion that people can become more effective leaders if they are able to think and perform in original and innovative ways. (Charity Delich, 2013) 5 Steps in the Creative Process Model by Flora Richards-Gustafson, Demand Media Creativity does not just happen. It is a cognitive process that produces new ideas or transforms old ideas into updated concepts, according to Brussels Free University psychology professor Liane Gabora. Preparation- During the preparation step of the creative process model, an individual becomes curious after encountering a problem. Incubation- While the individual begins to process her ideas, she begins to synthesize them using her imagination and begins to construct a creation. Illumination- As ideas begin to mature, the individual has an epiphany regarding how to piece her thoughts together in a manner that makes sense. Evaluation- After a solution reveals itself in an epiphany, the individual then evaluates whether the insight is worth the pursuit. He may make changes to his solution so it is clearer. He may consult with peers or supervisors regarding his insights during this step before pursuing it further. If he works with clients, he may seek a client's input and approval before moving on to the next step. Implementation- The implementation of an idea or solution in the creative process model is when an individual begins the process of transforming her thoughts into a final product. Characteristics of a Creative Leader By Tom Bruno Magdich (May 13, 2011) What is a creative leader? people who have deep insight, abundant personal energy, a flexible thinking style and great communication skills. take a 'flex and flow' attitude to life and work - 'Flex and flow' describes the creative, energetic processes of natural systems.
  2. 2. Page 2 of 4 understand that it is the diversity of 'values and belief systems' that cause more challenges than issues of personality types, race, gender and age. manage cultural barriers such as race, religion, gender, age and lifestyles that can divide and create conflict with a syngergistic, integral approach that serves the whole system. have reached a high level of understanding in terms of their own values and understand the drives and motivations of people at all levels of development. have an ability to consider many perspectives at once seeing patterns and connections others do not notice because they are not hampered by unhealthy, egotistic concerns. They are open. Recognize that the only permanent thing in the universe is change. Accept that our individual lives are a journey that may not necessarily have a purpose, other than the one we alone give to ourselves. behaves with patience, realizing that people will only act for change when they are ready and willing. prepared to walk away from a situation when the timing is wrong or when they recognize they are not the right person to lead. acknowledge and recognize that to get what they need as individuals they have to keep the whole system and everyone in it as healthy as possible to ensure their own survival. comfortable with a diversity of thoughts, concepts and ideas. respect that everyone is partially right but no-one person has the whole picture, not even the leader. have developed and integrated their four dimensions of being -physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. can take on many roles and points of view when they need to fit. can quickly adapt and lead in a style that meets the need of the group they are leading. solve problems by thinking in terms of networks and connected systems. can handle high levels of complexity. can think with the four quadrants of their brains as an integrated whole. Back Left - Organisation, process and routine. Back Right - Meaning making, intuition and empathy. Front Left - Facts, logic and rationale. Front Right - Spontaneity, improvisation and abstraction. But surely this description is too perfect. This kind of leader can't possibly exist? After all we've just created these characteristic in our imagination. But wait...if we can imagine a leader like this then maybe we can create one.In fact if you walk to a mirror right now you might just see a potential candidate. Overcoming Traditional Thinking as Creative Strategy A leader can develop more effective strategic thinking skills. This is done by exploiting any opportunity to better understand yourself, how you think about complex problems, and how to go about making decisions. This understanding of yourself is critical, since this information that forms the foundation for developing your strategic thinking capabilities necessary in the strategic environment. The more you understand yourself, the more control you have over both the process, and the products you produce. Virtually all of you will be required to serve in strategic environments. This means there will be many opportunities for you to function as a strategic thinker or advisor. You must, therefore, continue to develop a new and broader set of thinking skills. Seven Strategies for Creative Thinking By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler (2004) "You know more than you think you do." --Dr. Benjamin Spock Strategy 1. Embrace Your Problems One of the most fundamental skills of creativity is the ability to recognize an opportunity and seize it. You have countless opportunities to expand your creative thinking skills. Such opportunities present themselves daily at home, while driving to work, during meetings or lunch - or while just hanging out with friends. There's really no shortage of opportunities to refine and develop your creativity. The most
  3. 3. Page 3 of 4 basic approach is to recognize that a "problem" may actually be a golden opportunity for a creative explosion - and seize the moment. Strategy 2. Challenge Your Assumptions It's natural and necessary to make assumptions about the reality of our everyday world. We would otherwise spend all of our waking hours performing unnecessary mental analyzes of ordinary things. As a result, many times we see only what we expect to see. Our analysis of a situation or a problem is based entirely on assumptions based on our past experience or "accepted knowledge." Plus assumptions can become so entrenched it doesn't cross our mind to challenge them. This often occurs later in life - when one's assumptions are no longer questioned, although time has passed and things have changed. A problem may arise simply because we perceive a situation or condition through a set of false assumptions preventing clear thinking. Challenging your assumptions is an important component of creativity. This allows you to look beyond what is obvious or already accepted. And it leads straight to the creative breakthroughs you're looking for. Truly creative people in all fields of interest tend to automatically challenge both their own assumptions, and the "commonly accepted knowledge" about a problem. This mental attitude is the true source of all of the world's great inventions and businesses. The moment you choose to challenge one of your assumptions as possibly "untrue" or "incomplete," you are on the way to discovering something new and different. Strategy 3. Take Some Risks A willingness to take risks is at the very heart of creativity. No creative person succeeds without first failing - as failures are part of the process of testing one's assumptions. There is simply no creativity without "failure." To experience major creative breakthroughs, it's important to become comfortable taking risks. Each "failure" you encounter will actually supercharge your creativity by generating new information. If you're unwilling to take risks and deal with what ordinary people call "failure," then you cannot expect to become a great creative thinker. Modern neuroscience has shown that our brains are literally rewired each time we learn something new by "making a mistake." The brain is designed to learn through the trial and error process. Strategy 4. Use Alternative Thinking To come up with a creative idea, you will often need a new vantage point. Creating a new solution to an existing problem, for example, may require looking at the problem from a fresh perspective. There are many tools used by creative thinkers to create such a fresh perspective, including: Brainstorming, MESV creative visualization, and various other means of considering the problem from a fresh vantage point. Additionally, a great way to kickstart your creativity is to look at your problem from the vantage point of another profession. If you are a mechanical engineer, for example, how would an architect view your problem? Or if you are a product designer, how would an interior decorator approach your problem? This approach can lead to some remarkable creative breakthroughs. Strategy 5. Accept Ambiguity Many people prefer that everything be clear and unambiguous. They are uncomfortable with anything that seems vague, or could have more than one meaning or application. As a result they tend to be rigid, highly predictable thinkers. A touch of ambiguous thinking during the idea generation stage of the creative process has the power to bring out genius-level ideas. People who can think ambiguously are fluid and flexible thinkers. The ability to think ambiguously can yield amazing creative insights. This is ability is experienced (and built) when you indulge in wordplay or humor.
  4. 4. Page 4 of 4 Strategy 6. Expand Your Vision An excellent way to build your creative muscles is to read and explore outside your normal area of interest. This can be especially useful when you are struggling to solve a creative problem. Strategy 7. Massage your brain-waves Creative thinking best occurs when your brain is in certain states called "alpha and theta." You are in an "alpha/theta" state when your brain is producing a predominance of slower brain-waves, as opposed to the faster beta brain-waves associated with normal waking consciousness. Alpha/theta brain-waves are the reason many people have creative ah-ha experiences during a nap, a stroll, or some other mentally-relaxing activity. But consciously entering into an alpha/theta state can be a challenge. Meditators spend years learning to initiate this state on will, but modern technology has introduced a much faster method of building alpha/theta expertise - brain-wave training. Be sure to check it out - your creativity will never be the same. Incidentally, a great side benefit of entering into the alpha/theta brain-wave state is virtually instant stress reduction! References: Delich, C. (2013, May 25). What is Creative Leadership?. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from Gustafson, F.R. (2009). Steps in the Creative Process Model. Retrived July 7, 2013 from Magdich, T. B. (2011, May 13). Characteristics of a Creative Leader. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from Wexler, Jill A. (2004). Seven Strategies for Creative Thinking. Retrieved July 6, 2013 from