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Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Thinking and Problem Solving"— Presentation transcript:

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

By Anthony Campanaro & Dennis Hernandez

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

CT is a self-directed process by which we take deliberate steps to think at the highest level of quality. CT is skillful, responsible thinking that is.

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

THINKING. Critical Thinking

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

Introduction to Critical Thinking

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

Evaluating Thinking Through Intellectual Standards

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

Critical Thinking  Your brain, like any other muscle in your body, it needs to be exercised to work its best.  That exercise is called THINKING. I think,

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

Thinking Critically in Psychology Introduction to Psychology Simon Fraser University.

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The Essence of Critical Thinking the reasoned identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making analysis the form and content of evidence.

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CSS/330: Critical Thinking and Computer Logic

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INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THINKING. “There are multiple decisions which you have to make entirely by yourself. You can’t lean on anybody else. And a good.

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Definitions – John Dewey

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Daniel Fasko, Jr., Ph.D..  Definition of Critical Thinking  Critical Thinking Skills  Critical Thinking Dispositions  Instructional Strategies  Assessment.

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Critical Thinking, Ethics, Multiculturalism and Economics St. Cloud Winter Institute 2008.

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Topic #3 - CRITICAL THINKING Key Evidence 1 Provided by Amarillo College Offices of Institutional Research and Outcomes Assessments.

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Learning to Think Critically pages Objectives Define thinking & reflection Identify 3 functions of the brain Describe how thinking impacts decision.

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Critical Thinking.

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Home Blog Business Creative Thinking: The skill to think out of the box

Creative Thinking: The skill to think out of the box

Creative Thinking: The skill to think out of the box

Robert W. Weisberg, in his book, Rethinking Creativity: Inside-the-Box Thinking as the Basis for Innovation , reveals that real innovation relies on inside-the-box thinking. The seed of the idea is usually laid by what we already know. Developing creative skills is the key to innovation. Very often, creativity and innovation are used interchangeably. Creative thinking is not always inherent, but one can surely grow this skill by practice. According to an IBM poll of more than 1,500 CEOs, creativity is the most important factor for future business success, surpassing managerial discipline, ethics, and vision.

What is Creative Thinking? 

Creative thinking is a skill that helps you develop appealing and valuable ideas. Oxford Dictionary defines creative thinking as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.” Being imaginative and thinking beyond the box is critical to success in every sector. One of the world’s most prominent thinkers on creativity, Edward de Bono, adds that creativity is about breaking out old habits and seeing things in new ways.

It might be a new approach to a challenge or a solution to an employee dispute. Microsoft’s research with YouGov backs up this more technical sense of creativity, with 62 percent of British professionals characterizing it as finding a new approach to solve a problem .

Why is Creative Thinking important?

Creative thinking allows you to take an inventive approach to issues and cultivate open-mindedness.

Why is Creative Thinking important? Big Concept slide design for Creative Thinking sessions.

You can produce new ideas, analyze events, find themes, and design alternatives to established operation systems by using creative thinking.

  • Provides confidence: When you employ creativity to explore diverse ideas and concepts, it gives you confidence and encourages you to bring out the best.
  • Self-reliance : With an urge to explore more, you become self-reliant. Creativity allows you to work on your goals and achieve them with complete fulfillment.
  • Tackle situations: As creative thinking drives you to experiment and innovate, it expands your collective knowledge regarding various methods to handle every situation effortlessly.
  • Releases stress: Creative thinking can be a stress buster as it enables you to be innovative beyond any boundaries. 
  • Express hidden talents: Creative thinking allows you to nurture curiosity and unlock your hidden talents.
  • Developing emotional intelligence: Creative thinking promotes considering circumstances from many perspectives, which can help you build empathy and emotional intelligence.

Developing Creative Thinking

Being a creative thinker enables you to develop fresh ways to approach existing situations. It gives you the sense to recognize the importance of various mindsets, methodologies, and theories. 

Developing Creative Thinking permits you to link thoughts and see parallels between totally different situations. Let us walk you through some ways to build creative thinking at your workplace:

  • Establish purpose and intention: Identify what creativity is and focus on building the right team with the right amount of creativity. Focus on the objectives and blend new ideas for desirable outcomes.
  • Build basic skills through communication: Creative thinkers are good at communication skills. Good communication skills can help you express your ideas and share your creativity confidently. 
  • Encourage autonomy: According to Philip Rosedale, the founder and chairman of Linden Lab, the company’s most significant achievements come from workers’ creativity when given freedom. 
  • Create a diverse team: Diversity enhances creativity. Allow your teammates from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise to share their thinking.
  • Build motivation : Promote and support the innovative beliefs of your team members to motivate them. Reward your workers for their vivid creativity.
  • Provide opportunities to explore: Encourage your team members to collaborate and share their thoughts. Individuals in the team can learn by exploring, testing, and refining new ideas.
  • Focus on mastering metacognitive skills: Consider organizing training sessions in techniques like brainstorming, lateral thinking and mind-mapping to master metacognitive skills.

Types of Creative Thinking 

Creative thinking involves honing your innovative talents and soft skills to develop fresh ideas. Creative thinking skills are techniques for dealing with a situation through creative perspectives while using the appropriate tools to analyze it and design a solution.

Following are the five types of creating thinking:

  • Analytical: Analytical thinking allows you to investigate complicated challenges. It helps you formulate the best decisions for your organization and the recognition and development of solutions. Understanding challenges and analyzing the situation for feasible solutions is an important skill in every role at every level. Developing this skill can help you improve your work and meet business objectives.
  • Problem-solving: After thorough research and analysis of the problem, you need to look for an appropriate solution. With problem-solving skills, you can sort and arrange data found during the research process to develop a logical and practical answer.
  • Open-mindedness: A creative mind is flexible, and creativity requires fluid thinking . Being more open-minded implies being more receptive to new ideas, viewpoints, cultures, forms of expression, and styles and recognizing that our point of view may not always be correct. 
  • Communication: The ability to articulate and communicate your thoughts can govern your creative thinking skills at the workplace. It includes listening and processing people’s ideas before providing input and exchanging ideas via writing and speaking for effective communication.
  • Organization: Being organized allows you to be more creative and gives your imagination more structure. Employ your organizational abilities to turn your ideas into concrete strategies that you can use to bring change as you explore new ideas. 

What are Creative Thinking Techniques? 

Creative thinking skills may not be inherited but can indeed be acquired. You can enhance your creative abilities by improvising various strategies and techniques.

Mindmapping

Mind mapping allows you to connect concepts you never imagined could be connected

Mind mapping allows you to connect concepts you never imagined could be connected. As a result, it might assist you in coming up with appropriate ideas while applying creative thinking skills. It is a process to write down everything that pops into mind. Create as many ideas as you can; the more you write down, the more likely you will come up with the best idea. Consider mind mapping to organize your thoughts and come to logical conclusions. With the help of a 100% editable mind mapping template , you can present your ideas in a problem-solving discussion within your team or use it along with other creative thinking techniques to enrich your discussions.

Brainstorming

Innovative brainstorming session illustration for presentations

The central notion behind brainstorming is that having many creative possible ideas makes it simpler to choose the best one. This innovative thinking technique may effectively solve small or large-scale problems that demand creativity. The primary purpose is to build a group of people with whom you can freely exchange thoughts. Assist your team members in developing an experimental approach that produces outcomes at the workplace with brainstorming.

Lateral thinking

Critical thinking technique Lateral thinking

Emphasize generating new ideas in your organization while minimizing the details of how you can implement those ideas. Lateral thinking helps your thoughts wander freely and examine options that may otherwise go unnoticed. It involves looking at a problem from unconventional perspectives and coming up with innovative solutions as a result.

Reframing illustration for critical thinking

To come up with a fresh, inventive strategy, you’ll need to look at an issue or a scenario in a different manner, which requires reframing. Explore alternative interpretations of words, analyze the context, and broaden your perspective to spot something new and anticipate future roadblocks.

Mood boards 

Image board or mood board illustration created by SlideModel.com

A mood board is a visual graphic or representation of your ideas put together in one place . It gives your audience a clear vision of what an idea would look like after its execution. Plot your company’s desired goals with this image board creative thinking tool.

How to think critically and creatively?

Creativity is all about exploring and looking for new ideas. When we think out of the box and step outside of what we already know, we tend to draw new connections. This usually results in fresh insights, new ideas, and innovative solutions to problems that we could not have imagined previously. Critical thinking emphasizes analyzing and breaking down the problem, and creative thinking can bring about an appropriate solution for the analyzed data. That is the cornerstone of problem-solving with creative thinking. 

Let us look at the example to understand how to solve problems using creative thinking. 

When presented with a problem at the workplace, the employee analyzes it and then does thorough research. Then he shares (communicates) the problem with the teammate who presents him with progressive ideas (brainstorming and reframing) and hence a solution.

Examples of Creative Thinking in Business 

Adobe’s Creative Dividend study states that “More companies that foster creativity achieve exceptional revenue growth than peers.” Creativity is a skill that you can acquire and improve through practice. On the other hand, businesses must assist their workers in using their creative muscles by providing the correct culture, environment, training, and technology.

Let’s walk you through a set of examples of creative thinking in the business:

  • Microsoft recognized that out-of-date technologies and procedures and ill-equipped workspaces restricted the capacity to think creatively and therefore designed a range of devices to help people discover their creative potential at work.
  • Steve Jobs invented a new product like iPod due to brainstorming and lateral thinking when no one could ever imagine it.

Strike a note with your target audience with an insightful presentation on creative thinking. Deliver an innovative presentation with fresh ideas to your investors using creative thinking skills templates.

Final Words 

Whatever field you work in, you’ll discover that creative thinking can help you achieve your ambitions. Remember that everyone has the power to be creative and that creativity is primarily defined by the ability to think in unconventional ways. Help your staff to stretch their creative muscles by giving coaching training that will allow them to improve their creative thinking abilities.

Alternatively, we recommend our article on Design Thinking Process to solve company problems in an effective and innovatively way.

creative problem solving and critical thinking ppt

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Human beings are prone to a number of cognitive biases. These biases can often result in clouding our judgment and hinder us from making good decisions. You can train your mind to make better decisions, including critical decisions at the workplace or for achieving business goals. In this article, we explore ways on how Critical Thinking can help to achieve your business goals.

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problem solving and creative thinking

Problem Solving and Creative Thinking

Jun 14, 2012

1.06k likes | 2.23k Views

Problem Solving and Creative Thinking. Problem Solving. What is a Problem? A problem arises when a living creature has a goal but does not know how this goal is to be reached.

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Presentation Transcript

Problem Solving What is a Problem? A problem arises when a living creature has a goal but does not know how this goal is to be reached. [A problem exists] whenever one cannot go from the given situation to the desired situation simply by action. [K. Dunker, On Problem Solving, (1945) p. 1] What is Problem Solving? Problem Solving is the process of working out or discovering how to reach such a goal.

What is creative thinking? Creative thinking is the process of generating novel ideas and alternative courses of action, no matter how good those ideas and alternatives might be. Creative thinking should not be seen as an alternative to critical thinking When you have recognised a problem, then you should employ creative thinking to produce some options for solving the problem, then you should employ critical thinking If you haven’t come up with enough options to begin with, then your critical thinking decision procedure might produce the wrong result… a dangerous result!

Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving Creative thinking supports critical thinking … While critical thinking focuses on step-by-step, linear processes aimed at arriving at a correct answer, creative thinking begins with possibility, multiple ideas, and suspended judgement. It might be said that creative thinking supports the ideas with which critical thinking works. Thus, even though these two kinds of thinking work in different ways, they actually support one another and aim at the same ultimate goal, which is to solve a problem … At the beginning of the process, creative methods are used to examine the problem environment, generate ideas, and make associations. Then the analysis and judgment faculties are brought into play, and the possibilities are analyzed for a possible solution. [Robert Harris, CB pp. 115-6]

Who is this man?

Archimedes Great inventor, mathematician etc. The Screw  The Lever

Archimedes Helped protect Syracuse from the Romans in the siege of 213BC The Mirror The Claw

Archimedes’ puzzle • Did the smithy replace some of the kings gold with silver? • How did Archimedes find out? • (Not Archimedes style to torture the smithy)

Solution to Archimedes’ puzzle. • The solution, which occurred when he stepped into a public bath and caused it to overflow, was to put a weight of gold equal to the crown, and known to be pure, into a bowl which was filled with water to the brim. Then the gold would be removed and the king’s crown put in, in its place. An alloy of lighter silver would increase the bulk of the crown and cause the bowl to overflow. [Vitruvius, De Architectura] • And the wreath was impure!

Creative thinking! • It was very useful to Archimedes • He was well respected and treated in Syracuse • Marcellus, the Roman general, ordered his life to be spared when Syracuse finally fell • But his obsession with maths was ultimately his downfall! • Can we be like Archimedes? • Can we learn to be creative thinkers?

4 Methods for Generating Ideas • Associative Techniques • Analytic Techniques • Brainstorming • Role Playing

Associative Techniques • Compare something familiar to something unfamiliar. • Close analogy e.g. apples and pears • Remote analogy e.g. Pringles • Forced analogy…

Forced Analogy 1 • The problem: recreating that dazzling 360 degree panoramic holiday view • The forced analogy: a wreath • The answer!

Forced Analogy 2 • The problem: vertigo • The forced analogy: swimming • The answer!

Forced Analogy 3 • The problem: Carrying lots of shopping when its raining • The forced analogy: a tennis player • The answer!

Analytic Techniques • Breaking a problem down into smaller parts • E.g. How can I make the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup? • Vital components of the problem: • Henry: Just one:ensuring the ABs perform to their capacity • Hence the 4 Rs of Henry’s regime • Rest • Rotation • Relationships within team are friendly • Really discreet signaling during matches

Analytic Techniques • Unfortunately (as we know), Henry didn’t analyse the problem thoroughly. • He missed a vital component of the problem: • The Barnes Factor

Analytic Techniques • Good analytic techniques will help to ensure that all of the important components of the problem are addressed

Brainstorming • Deliberately set about coming up with alternatives, and write them all down, no matter what. • No idea is a bad idea (at least just yet) • Edward de Bono 6 hats – green hat time • One company generated 2,200 ideas in one day!

Roleplaying • Roleplaying. Attempt to simulate aspects of the problem and proposed solutions. Try to imagine details of the relevant outcomes after your choice has been made, and attempt to put yourself in the shoes of other people. • A good method for gathering information and gaining perspective • E.g. Theoretical vs. practical lecturing • E.g. Customers-eye-view of displays • E.g. Hand-out-of-the-car-window aerodynamics

But Archimedes was not just a creative thinker... • He was also a prolific problem solver • So, how can we harness these 4 idea creation techniques to help us solve problems? • Ideas should be generated after the problem has been properly understood and represented

The Main Message Solving real problems is a two step process: Model Solution Problem In order to generate potentially fruitful ideas, and thereby make it more likely that you solve your problem, make sure you represent the problem in the right way.

The Lights Example • One and only one of the switches (A, B & C)on the outside of the room turns on all of the lights (x, y & z) in the room • From outside, you cannot see into the room • The wiring is hidden from view • You are not allowed to damage any of the property • Is there a way of knowing for sure which switch turns the lights on? • Once you enter the room, you cannot leave again to rearrange the switches xyz C B A

The Lights Example Switches: Possible arrangements: A 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 B 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 C 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 – on, 0 – off

The Bird-Train Problem (Posner, 1973) • Station 1 and Station 2 are 50 miles apart on a straight train track • Train 1 leaves Station 1 at the same time that Train 2 leaves Station 2 • Both trains travel at 25 miles per hour toward the other station • The bird starts directly above Train 1 and flies above the track until it reaches Train 2. Then it flies back to Train 1 etc. • The bird flies at 230 miles per hour • How far has the bird flown by the time the trains meet?

The Bird-Train Problem (Posner, 1973)

The Drop Block Problem What will happen to the block of wood when the person lets go of it?

The Drop Block Problem The block will drop down as it is drawn to earth by gravity

The Drop Block Problem … so long as the person is on earth.

The Drop Block Problem It will float up if the person is under water.

The Drop Block Problem And it will go nowhere (or a little bit sideways?!) if the person is in space.

So, how can I best represent a problem? Suggestion 1: Drop presuppositions that aren’t explicit in the original statement of the problem

The Nine Dot Problem (Maier, 1931) • Can you connect all of the dots with just 4 straight lines? • You cannot take your pen off the paper • You can’t use a ridiculously big pen • The second line must start where the first line finished. The third line must start where the second line finished etc. • Imagine the dots are drawn on a flat an immovable surface • The solution…

Solution to The Nine Dot Problem (Maier, 1931)

How can I best represent a problem? Suggestion 1: Drop presuppositions that aren’t explicit in the original statement of the problem.

A Terrible Accident • There was a terrible accident on the motorway coming into Wellington • A man was killed on impact and his son was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries • At the hospital, the surgeon saw the boy and said: “I can’t operate, that’s my son” • What is going on here? • Many of us assume that surgeons have to be male, making us come up with crazy answers for a simple question

How can I best represent a problem? Suggestion 1: Drop presuppositions that aren’t explicit in the original statement of the problem. Suggestion 2: Make sure you represent everything explicit in the original statement of the problem.

2 old high school math club pals meet up after many years On a street somewhere: Ted: All three of my sons celebrate their birthday today. Can you tell me how old each one is? (Ted is a bit weird) Fred: Yes, but you have to tell me something about them… Ted: The product of their ages is 36. Fred: I need more info… Ted: The sum of their ages is equal to the number of windows in the building next to us… Fred: I need more info… Ted: My oldest son has blue eyes. Fred: That is sufficient!  Can Fred really know how old Ted’s sons are? How?

2 old high school math club pals meet up after many years • Age of the first son: x • Age of the second son: y • Age of the third son: z • Safe assumption: x ≥ y ≥ z

2 old high school math club pals meet up after many years “The product of their ages is 36”: xyz • 1 1 • 2 1 • 3 1 • 9 4 1 • 9 2 2 • 6 6 1 • 6 3 2 • 4 3 3

2 old high school math club pals meet up after many years “The sum of their ages is equal to the number of windows in the building next to us…” xyz • + 1 + 1 = 38 • + 2 + 1 = 21 • + 3 + 1 = 16 • 9 + 4 + 1 = 14 • 9 + 2 + 2 = 13 • 6 + 6 + 1 = 13 • 6 + 3 + 2 = 11 • 4 + 3 + 3 = 10

How can I best represent a problem? Suggestion 2: Make sure you represent everything explicit in the original statement of the problem.

There are five houses, each of a different color and inhabited by men of different nationalities, with one unique pet, drink, and car. Some facts are given: 1. The Englishman lives in the red house. 2. The Spaniard owns the dog. 3. The man in the green house drinks cocoa. 4. The Ukrainian drinks eggnog. 5. The green house is immediately to the right (your right) of the ivory house. 6. The owner of the Oldsmobile also owns snails. 7. The owner of the Ford lives in the yellow house. 8. The man in the middle house drinks milk. 9. The Norwegian lives in the first house on the left. 10. The man who owns the Chevrolet lives in the house next to the house where the man owns a fox. 11. The Ford owner's house is next to the house where the horse is kept. 12. The Mercedes-Benz owner drinks orange juice. 13. The Japanese drives a Volkswagen. 14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house. Who owns the Zebra?

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What Is Creative Problem-Solving & Why Is It Important?

Business team using creative problem-solving

  • 01 Feb 2022

One of the biggest hindrances to innovation is complacency—it can be more comfortable to do what you know than venture into the unknown. Business leaders can overcome this barrier by mobilizing creative team members and providing space to innovate.

There are several tools you can use to encourage creativity in the workplace. Creative problem-solving is one of them, which facilitates the development of innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Here’s an overview of creative problem-solving and why it’s important in business.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Creative Problem-Solving?

Research is necessary when solving a problem. But there are situations where a problem’s specific cause is difficult to pinpoint. This can occur when there’s not enough time to narrow down the problem’s source or there are differing opinions about its root cause.

In such cases, you can use creative problem-solving , which allows you to explore potential solutions regardless of whether a problem has been defined.

Creative problem-solving is less structured than other innovation processes and encourages exploring open-ended solutions. It also focuses on developing new perspectives and fostering creativity in the workplace . Its benefits include:

  • Finding creative solutions to complex problems : User research can insufficiently illustrate a situation’s complexity. While other innovation processes rely on this information, creative problem-solving can yield solutions without it.
  • Adapting to change : Business is constantly changing, and business leaders need to adapt. Creative problem-solving helps overcome unforeseen challenges and find solutions to unconventional problems.
  • Fueling innovation and growth : In addition to solutions, creative problem-solving can spark innovative ideas that drive company growth. These ideas can lead to new product lines, services, or a modified operations structure that improves efficiency.

Design Thinking and Innovation | Uncover creative solutions to your business problems | Learn More

Creative problem-solving is traditionally based on the following key principles :

1. Balance Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Creative problem-solving uses two primary tools to find solutions: divergence and convergence. Divergence generates ideas in response to a problem, while convergence narrows them down to a shortlist. It balances these two practices and turns ideas into concrete solutions.

2. Reframe Problems as Questions

By framing problems as questions, you shift from focusing on obstacles to solutions. This provides the freedom to brainstorm potential ideas.

3. Defer Judgment of Ideas

When brainstorming, it can be natural to reject or accept ideas right away. Yet, immediate judgments interfere with the idea generation process. Even ideas that seem implausible can turn into outstanding innovations upon further exploration and development.

4. Focus on "Yes, And" Instead of "No, But"

Using negative words like "no" discourages creative thinking. Instead, use positive language to build and maintain an environment that fosters the development of creative and innovative ideas.

Creative Problem-Solving and Design Thinking

Whereas creative problem-solving facilitates developing innovative ideas through a less structured workflow, design thinking takes a far more organized approach.

Design thinking is a human-centered, solutions-based process that fosters the ideation and development of solutions. In the online course Design Thinking and Innovation , Harvard Business School Dean Srikant Datar leverages a four-phase framework to explain design thinking.

The four stages are:

The four stages of design thinking: clarify, ideate, develop, and implement

  • Clarify: The clarification stage allows you to empathize with the user and identify problems. Observations and insights are informed by thorough research. Findings are then reframed as problem statements or questions.
  • Ideate: Ideation is the process of coming up with innovative ideas. The divergence of ideas involved with creative problem-solving is a major focus.
  • Develop: In the development stage, ideas evolve into experiments and tests. Ideas converge and are explored through prototyping and open critique.
  • Implement: Implementation involves continuing to test and experiment to refine the solution and encourage its adoption.

Creative problem-solving primarily operates in the ideate phase of design thinking but can be applied to others. This is because design thinking is an iterative process that moves between the stages as ideas are generated and pursued. This is normal and encouraged, as innovation requires exploring multiple ideas.

Creative Problem-Solving Tools

While there are many useful tools in the creative problem-solving process, here are three you should know:

Creating a Problem Story

One way to innovate is by creating a story about a problem to understand how it affects users and what solutions best fit their needs. Here are the steps you need to take to use this tool properly.

1. Identify a UDP

Create a problem story to identify the undesired phenomena (UDP). For example, consider a company that produces printers that overheat. In this case, the UDP is "our printers overheat."

2. Move Forward in Time

To move forward in time, ask: “Why is this a problem?” For example, minor damage could be one result of the machines overheating. In more extreme cases, printers may catch fire. Don't be afraid to create multiple problem stories if you think of more than one UDP.

3. Move Backward in Time

To move backward in time, ask: “What caused this UDP?” If you can't identify the root problem, think about what typically causes the UDP to occur. For the overheating printers, overuse could be a cause.

Following the three-step framework above helps illustrate a clear problem story:

  • The printer is overused.
  • The printer overheats.
  • The printer breaks down.

You can extend the problem story in either direction if you think of additional cause-and-effect relationships.

4. Break the Chains

By this point, you’ll have multiple UDP storylines. Take two that are similar and focus on breaking the chains connecting them. This can be accomplished through inversion or neutralization.

  • Inversion: Inversion changes the relationship between two UDPs so the cause is the same but the effect is the opposite. For example, if the UDP is "the more X happens, the more likely Y is to happen," inversion changes the equation to "the more X happens, the less likely Y is to happen." Using the printer example, inversion would consider: "What if the more a printer is used, the less likely it’s going to overheat?" Innovation requires an open mind. Just because a solution initially seems unlikely doesn't mean it can't be pursued further or spark additional ideas.
  • Neutralization: Neutralization completely eliminates the cause-and-effect relationship between X and Y. This changes the above equation to "the more or less X happens has no effect on Y." In the case of the printers, neutralization would rephrase the relationship to "the more or less a printer is used has no effect on whether it overheats."

Even if creating a problem story doesn't provide a solution, it can offer useful context to users’ problems and additional ideas to be explored. Given that divergence is one of the fundamental practices of creative problem-solving, it’s a good idea to incorporate it into each tool you use.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a tool that can be highly effective when guided by the iterative qualities of the design thinking process. It involves openly discussing and debating ideas and topics in a group setting. This facilitates idea generation and exploration as different team members consider the same concept from multiple perspectives.

Hosting brainstorming sessions can result in problems, such as groupthink or social loafing. To combat this, leverage a three-step brainstorming method involving divergence and convergence :

  • Have each group member come up with as many ideas as possible and write them down to ensure the brainstorming session is productive.
  • Continue the divergence of ideas by collectively sharing and exploring each idea as a group. The goal is to create a setting where new ideas are inspired by open discussion.
  • Begin the convergence of ideas by narrowing them down to a few explorable options. There’s no "right number of ideas." Don't be afraid to consider exploring all of them, as long as you have the resources to do so.

Alternate Worlds

The alternate worlds tool is an empathetic approach to creative problem-solving. It encourages you to consider how someone in another world would approach your situation.

For example, if you’re concerned that the printers you produce overheat and catch fire, consider how a different industry would approach the problem. How would an automotive expert solve it? How would a firefighter?

Be creative as you consider and research alternate worlds. The purpose is not to nail down a solution right away but to continue the ideation process through diverging and exploring ideas.

Which HBS Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Continue Developing Your Skills

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, marketer, or business leader, learning the ropes of design thinking can be an effective way to build your skills and foster creativity and innovation in any setting.

If you're ready to develop your design thinking and creative problem-solving skills, explore Design Thinking and Innovation , one of our online entrepreneurship and innovation courses. If you aren't sure which course is the right fit, download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.

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Critical Thinking and Decision-Making  - What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking and decision-making  -, what is critical thinking, critical thinking and decision-making what is critical thinking.

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Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: What is Critical Thinking?

Lesson 1: what is critical thinking, what is critical thinking.

Critical thinking is a term that gets thrown around a lot. You've probably heard it used often throughout the years whether it was in school, at work, or in everyday conversation. But when you stop to think about it, what exactly is critical thinking and how do you do it ?

Watch the video below to learn more about critical thinking.

Simply put, critical thinking is the act of deliberately analyzing information so that you can make better judgements and decisions . It involves using things like logic, reasoning, and creativity, to draw conclusions and generally understand things better.

illustration of the terms logic, reasoning, and creativity

This may sound like a pretty broad definition, and that's because critical thinking is a broad skill that can be applied to so many different situations. You can use it to prepare for a job interview, manage your time better, make decisions about purchasing things, and so much more.

The process

illustration of "thoughts" inside a human brain, with several being connected and "analyzed"

As humans, we are constantly thinking . It's something we can't turn off. But not all of it is critical thinking. No one thinks critically 100% of the time... that would be pretty exhausting! Instead, it's an intentional process , something that we consciously use when we're presented with difficult problems or important decisions.

Improving your critical thinking

illustration of the questions "What do I currently know?" and "How do I know this?"

In order to become a better critical thinker, it's important to ask questions when you're presented with a problem or decision, before jumping to any conclusions. You can start with simple ones like What do I currently know? and How do I know this? These can help to give you a better idea of what you're working with and, in some cases, simplify more complex issues.  

Real-world applications

illustration of a hand holding a smartphone displaying an article that reads, "Study: Cats are better than dogs"

Let's take a look at how we can use critical thinking to evaluate online information . Say a friend of yours posts a news article on social media and you're drawn to its headline. If you were to use your everyday automatic thinking, you might accept it as fact and move on. But if you were thinking critically, you would first analyze the available information and ask some questions :

  • What's the source of this article?
  • Is the headline potentially misleading?
  • What are my friend's general beliefs?
  • Do their beliefs inform why they might have shared this?

illustration of "Super Cat Blog" and "According to survery of cat owners" being highlighted from an article on a smartphone

After analyzing all of this information, you can draw a conclusion about whether or not you think the article is trustworthy.

Critical thinking has a wide range of real-world applications . It can help you to make better decisions, become more hireable, and generally better understand the world around you.

illustration of a lightbulb, a briefcase, and the world

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  12. What Is Creative Problem-Solving & Why Is It Important?

    Creative problem-solving primarily operates in the ideate phase of design thinking but can be applied to others. This is because design thinking is an iterative process that moves between the stages as ideas are generated and pursued. This is normal and encouraged, as innovation requires exploring multiple ideas.

  13. Unit 7-Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and ...

    Unit 7-Problem solving, Critical thinking, Creativity, and Decision making.ppt - Free download as Powerpoint Presentation (.ppt), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or view presentation slides online. Problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and decision making. If you have a problem at work, it is a good idea to sort things out. Talk to the person you are having a problem with.

  14. Critical Thinking and Decision-Making

    Definition. Simply put, critical thinking is the act of deliberately analyzing information so that you can make better judgements and decisions. It involves using things like logic, reasoning, and creativity, to draw conclusions and generally understand things better. This may sound like a pretty broad definition, and that's because critical ...

  15. Problem Solving & Critical Thinking Skills

    Able to negotiate 7. Able to lead and manage THINKING SKILLS 1. Analytical ability 2. Generating critical ideas 3. Generating creative ideas 4. Producing high quality work with minimal errors PLANNING & ADMINISTRATIVE SKILLS 1. Able to manage time effectively 2. Able to draw effective plan of action 3.

  16. Problem Solving Powerpoint Templates and Google Slides Themes

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  17. Critical Thinking PowerPoint

    If you are looking to more effectively: Define critical thinking (and distinguish it from analytical and lateral thinking) Appreciate the specific elements of critical thinking Understand which skills/behaviors are most useful Apply the 4 critical thinking stages (Gather, Assess, Explore, Decide) Utilize critical thinking in action learning terms Understand critical thinking intellectual ...

  18. Critical Thinking's Role in Creative Problem Solving

    An integral part of creative problem solving is the ability to evaluate ideas critically. By practicing critical thinking exercises, you hone your skills in assessing the viability and potential ...

  19. Creative problem solving skills & process

    Mar 13, 2018 • Download as PPTX, PDF •. 8 likes • 2,603 views. Charles Cotter, PhD. Creative problem solving skills, process, tools, techniques and best practice principles. Business. 1 of 57. Download now. Creative problem solving skills & process - Download as a PDF or view online for free.

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  21. Revitalize Your Problem-Solving with Creative Critical Thinking

    Discover how to break free from conventional problem-solving with critical thinking and creativity for innovative solutions.