With creative problem solving the key is to use your imagination and to try new experiments without fear of failure or holding back due to thinking that you might make a mistake or embarrass yourself. See barriers to creativity.
It’s by making mistakes, trying new things and new ways that you are able to learn. Much of Thomas Edison's prolific inventions can be attributed to his persistence with experimenting new ways of getting around a particular problem that he was experiencing.
(Photo Credit: Meg Wills)
Logical answers to problems are not always the best. Get to new approaches by using creativity techniques such as lateral thinking and brainstorming.
Complex problems can often be made easier to understand by separating the whole into component parts.
Look at the problem from a factual perspective where possible, however this is not always straightforward to do. Peter Drucker would highlight that when trying to understand root causes of a problem one often starts with a preconceived opinion. If this is the case then communicate to all parties involved what your opinion is and try and looks for facts that confirm or reject the conclusion that you have reached.
Ask all the usual Who, What, How, Where, When and Why questions.
Imaginative, creative solutions to problems must also be realistic. Ensure that your solution can be implemented and will add value to the problem domain. A solution is not actually a solution until it has been implemented and demonstrated to solve the problem at hand. Consider costs, resources and the impact of the solution on others and ensure that you have adequate buy in from key stakeholders.
For a methodical structured format to solving problems please refer to the problem solving steps page.