Monday, July 16, 2012

An attempt to structure the Creative Process !

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) 

Having looked at how Ideas arise in our Minds (in my recent blog post - ), you may be curious to know whether you can translate this knowledge into a structured framework that will help you to solve a variety of problems with creative solutions. Here it is pertinent to look at the pioneering work of Alex Osborne and the evolution of the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Framework. 

Alex Osborn

"Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us put out more and better ideas if our efforts are truly appreciated. [Alexander Osborn]."

Alex F. Osborn – May 24, 1888 – May 13, 1966

Alex Osborn founded the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) in February 1954. With Robert Berner, he implemented the first Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) in June 1955. His definitive book Applied Imagination had been published in 1953 and was the basis for the first CPSI. He founded the advertising firm of Batten, Barton, Dirstine and Osborn which grew to over 1,000 employees. His particular passion, however, was to somehow influence schools and colleges to teach creative thinking.

Please refer to for an excellent discussion of the evolution of CPS framework - I have attempted to summarize a few important points here.

1. Osborne's 7 Stages Model

Osborne describes seven stages and the basic mechanism / process is similar to that explained by Young.

2. Osborne - Parne's 5 Stages Model

Parnes continued to refine the Model after Osborn and created a 5- stage model.
F-F = Fact Finding
P-F = Problem Finding
I-F - Idea Finding
S-F = Solution Finding
A-F = Acceptance Finding

3. Isaksen and Treffinger Model - It is important to note that each stage involves a divergent thinking and a convergent thinking effort. The Model depicted below describes the Divergent and Convergent thinking phase in each stage
and finally the Simplified Model is here - it talks about three activities - Understanding the Challenge, Generating Ideas and Preparing for Action.

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