This assignment requires students to demonstrate their creative thinking skills to solve a problem using the structured framework of Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and a combination of divergent and convergent thinking tools and frameworks.
A descriiption of creativity that has been widely adopted is the ability to produce original ideas that solve some problem. Kaufmann (1988:88) defined a problem as ‘a discrepancy between an existing situation and a desired state of affairs’. In categorizing types of problems, Kaufmann indicated that problems range along a continuum from ‘well-structured’ to ‘ill-structured’. According to Kaufmann ill-structured problems are characterised by novelty, complexity and ambiguity. Novelty is the lack of familiarity with the situation, the goal, or the challenge; complexity relates to the number of pieces, variables and elements that must be managed in order to resolve the situation; and ambiguity when there is a high degree of uncertainty about the goal or best solution.
Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is a widely used systematic process which sets out a number of steps to enhance the probability of successfully resolving such complex problems. CPS has been chosen as the foundation of this year’s course assessment because of the model’s prominence as a problem- solving method and because the model provides an excellent vehicle for students to demonstrate their mastery of the intended learning outcomes of the course which are to:
– Appreciate the value of creativity in a business context
– Use creativity techniques for business and design problem solving.
This is an individual assignment.
Figure 1 is an adaptation, produced for this assignment, of the Osborn and Parnes (1953; 1967) CPS model.
The diamonds depict each step of the CPS process. This iconography represents the important balance between divergent and convergent thinking for all steps of the process. That is, each step begins with a search for many, varied and original options (divergent thinking), i.e. fluency, flexibility and originality in thought, followed by a careful culling and evaluation of the most promising alternatives (convergent thinking) i.e. screening, sorting and prioritising.
The alternating movement between divergent and convergent thinking is the hallmark of the CPS process.
In this assignment students are asked to follow the CPS model depicted in Figure 1 and alternate between divergent and convergent thinking, using relevant models at each stage to stimulate and frame their creativity, and find a creative solution to ONE of these problems:
i. A congested road bridge.
ii. Low staff morale in a delivery company delivering parcels to customers that have ordered
iii. Increasing the number of clients for packed crispy vegetables
Your work and report should address the constituent elements of the following CPS steps:
– In your own words define the problem with an objective.
– Are there any other possible definitions of it worth considering?
– What general solutions do they suggest?
– What are the important facts and factors?
1. Problem Understanding
2. Towards solving the problem
– Identify your main assumptions.
– Refine your initial understanding and statement of the problem and objective by using What?
– Why? How? When? Where? Who?
– Use Dimensional Analysis; Laddering; Boundary Examination; Decomposable Matrices or another relevant tool, or combination of tools, to create redefinitions and refinement of the problem.
– Use a lateral thinking technique such as brainstorming, Six Hats and associated techniques to stimulate fluency, flexibility and originality in thought and identify and list the possible solutions, ways forward, and courses of action.
– Decide the criteria by which solutions are to be evaluated.
– Sort and narrow down the list of feasible solutions i.e. the ones that are possible given the
– Use one or more evaluation methods, such as an Advantage-disadvantage table; Plus/Minus/Interesting (PMI); Castle Technique; Force Field Analysis; Weighted Scoring and so on to screen, sort and prioritise the solutions.
3. Evaluate the short-listed solutions
4. Recommendation & Conclusion
– Based on the forgoing steps and creative thinking and analyses, recommend a creative
– Justify the solution by checking you have used all important information.
– Check your solution from all angles.
– How realistic is your solution?
– Is the solution realistic in the light of experience?
– Conclusion about the value of the CPS.
– Overall conclusion.
In addressing this assignment, you should use and apply the models and frameworks taught during the workshops and others which you will find and research for yourself.
See the Addendum to this document for details of two useful sources of creativity techniques.
In addition, you are encouraged to deploy a mix of academic journals, articles, scientific research, and texts.
You are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of Creative Thinking. What is important is not so much the correctness of your recommendation as to show a clear command of the practice of creative thinking using divergent and convergent thinking and the application of tools and frameworks that lead inexorably to a compelling creative solution.
The project will have a table of content, an introduction, body and conclusion which will account for the word count. Bibliography will be required but will not be a part of the word count.
Suggested is: Cover page
Table of contents
The aim of the assignment, the chosen problem and methodology to creatively solve it.
Describe the four process steps and present the divergent and convergent analyses and by which several contending ideas were ranked and rated and the results obtained. Throughout show a clear command of the practice of creative thinking
Recommendation and Conclusion
The creative solution you recommend and why.
Your view about the value of CPS and the creative tools and frameworks used.
Overall conclusion about the project.
List of References and Appendix
Format of the Report.
• The title page should include the name of the module, the title of the project, the student’s
full name, the lecturer’s name and the date. The table of contents should include all the headings with appropriate page numbers, including the Appendices.
• Writing should be precise and to the point.
• The report should be prepared as a neatly typed Word document (Times New Roman 12 points), with double spacing and page numbering.
Preface This assignment requires students to demonstrate their creative thinking
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