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“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein

How many times have you hit the wall when faced with a problem that seems to have no solution? It may be a business project, school homework, attempt to redecorate your house, or even a fight with your spouse. You know you’ve become stuck when you find yourself reiterating the nature of the problem over and over again, but never get any closer to solving it.

Creative Problem Solving Steps

The most common barriers that prevent people from being creative enough to solve their dilemmas are negative attitude, fear of failure, stress, following rules, and assuming. So when you find yourself at an impasse, you will need a healthy dose of creativity to break through and discover a solution.

Creative problem solving is basically a mental process of creating a solution to a problem, and there are several steps you can take:

  • Realize you have become stuck. It is easy to blame someone or something else, but if you can see that you are treading the same ground, this is the first step to solving your problem.
  • Step away from the problem. Creativity requires leisure, so be sure to go for a walk in nature, take a nap, watch a funny movie or do a small, unrelated task.
  • Identify the problem. Sometimes it is so easy to become immersed in the problem that we lose sight of what, exactly, it is. Write a one-sentence description of the problem.
  • Simplify. Often we become stuck from overthinking and overworking a problem. One of the keys in creative problem solving is simplicity, so strip away everything until you can easily define your goal. All really great inventions have that property in common. Nature, in its elementary parts, is simple.
  • Look at the problem from a new angle. Get away from old, tried-and-true ideas. Ask effective questions. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (your customers, your competition, your critics).
  • Get new ideas flowing. Using metaphors to compare your problem to something else is an easy way to get ideas flowing. Even if your problem is about how to increase sales, you can use the metaphor  technique of asking how increasing sales is like riding a bike or making a pie. Another good method is brainstorming. This is best done with two or more people so that you can build on the ideas of others. Don’t judge or censor any ideas; simply allow them all to flow, no matter how unrelated or silly and be sure to write everything down.

Too often we rely on logic and linear step-by-step methods of solving our problems. But when you follow these or other creative problem solving steps, you energize the right side of your brain, allowing to fresh perspectives that can cause a solution to become obvious.  The great thing is that you can apply this technique in any kind of business, including internet marketing and any other online business.

Problem Solving Steps

If you want to improve your creative thinking skills check out my blog post on 5 best creative thinking techniques to help your business thrive, where you can find out about Napoleon Technique, Free writing and many more.

2 comments…
  • Keith Davis May 22, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Hi Justyna
    Great check list for those moments when you just can’t see a way through a problem – and you start to panic.
    Good to have a check list to work through.
    BTW – love the jigsaw graphic.
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Laugh and the world… =-.

    Reply
    • Justyna Bizdra May 26, 2010, 7:44 pm

      Thanks Keith,

      Very often I look at “problems” from different angles and find metaphors to come up with new ideas. The same as you, I find the list as a great way to help solving anything that comes on the way and needs to be jumped over 🙂 in order to move forward.

      Cheers

      Reply

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