Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Creative Problem Solving (contd from Part 1)

In my previous article on creative problem solving we had looked at 4 different types of creative problem solving techniques. In this article I will be continuing where I had left of earlier and will discuss the remaining 3 types of creative problem solving. The methods discussed in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. We will be getting into much more detail for each of these methods at a latter time. If you know of any other  technique which I have missed out please feel free to mention them in the comments section below for the benefit of our readers

5. SCAMPER – Improving Products and Services

One of the creative problem solving technique is SCAMPER method.  SCAMPER is a technique you can use to spark the groups creativity and help the team to overcome any challenge you may be facing.  In essence, SCAMPER is a general-purpose checklist that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one. This method is both easy to use and surprisingly powerful.  It was created by Bob Eberle in the early 70s, and it has definitely stood the test of time.


SCAMPER stands for are:

S – Substitute – components, materials, people.
C – Combine – mix, combine with other assemblies or services, integrate.
A – Adapt – alter, change function, use part of another element.
M – Modify – increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes (e.g. colour).
P – Put to another use.
E – Eliminate – remove elements, simplify, reduce to core functionality.
R – Reverse – turn inside out or upside down, or use Reversal.

This example below uses SCAMPER method of creative problem solving.  As an example, imagine that you are a manufacturer hardware like different size of bolts, and you were looking for new products. SCAMPER method would give you:

Scamper Example

Using SCAMPER here has helped you define possible new products.  Many of the ideas may be impractical or may not suit the equipment used by the manufacturer. However some of these ideas could be good starting points for new products.

6. Attribute Listing, Morphological Analysis and Matrix Analysis – Tools for creating new products and services.

Attribute listing is one of the creative problem solving.    Attribute Listing, Morphological Analysis and Matrix Analysis are good techniques for finding new combinations of products or services. They are sufficiently similar to be discussed together. We use Attribute Listing and Morphological Analysis to generate new products and services.
How to Use the Tools:
To use the techniques, first list the attributes of the product, service or strategy you are examining.  Attributes of a components can be

  • Parts,
  • Properties
  • Qualities or
  • Design Elements

For example, attributes of a pencil Attributes of a television plot are in the image below

Creative Problem Solving Techniques

Then use the attribute listing in a table to identify different possible solutions.

7. Nine approaches to creative problem solving:

9 ways of cretive problem Solving

Rethink: Look at problems in many different ways.
Visualize: Utilize diagrams and imagery to analyze your dilemma.
Produce: Genius is productive.
Combine: Make novel combinations…
Form: Form relationships.
Opposite: Think in opposites.
Metaphor/simile: Think metaphorically.
Failure: Learning from your mistakes is one example of using failure.
Patience: Don’t confuse inspiration with ideas.

VIII. Requirements for this exercise of creative problem solving ?

To capture the developments, during the discussion and the outcome, need a white board, flip chart, laptop.

IX. References

There are many books and web sites on creative problem solving tools , some useful ones are:

E. DeBono, Serious Creativity, HarperCollins 1994;
R. Von Oech, Creative Whack Pock, US Games Inc., 1989;
M. Michalko, Cracking Creativity, 10 Speed Press, 1998;
B. Mattimore, 99% Inspiration: Tips, Tales and Techniques for Liberating your Business Creativity, AMACOM, 1993.
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_CT.htm – This site has excellent content on creative problem solving.

This article is  continued from – creative problem solving Tools and Technique (Part 1/2).  Hope you will have great time Solving your Business Challenges using the tools mentioned in this article “creative problem solving Tools and Technique.

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