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Creative Problem Solving Activities

Rashida Khilawala Mar 22, 2020
The importance of problem solving skills can never be undermined. Be it in the personal sense or the professional, we need to come up with solutions every step of the way. Here are some creative ways to hone your problem solving skills.
In any business, the key to success of any strategic planning activity is adequate and appropriate problem solving. Each plan, activity or meeting can run into conflicts of some sort. There are bound to be hurdles in the way that lead to disturbance in the ultimate scheme of things.
As such, there are two very important things to remember; firstly, you need to be ready for untoward incidences, and secondly, you need to have a proper problem solving mechanism in place. 

What is the Significance of Problem Solving Activities?

To begin with, we need to understand the significance of problem solving activities. Problem solving tools are the processes that help in widening the scope of imagination and looking for the right answers, by asking the right questions.
One of the most effective tools in creative problem solving is brainstorming. Brainstorming helps bring forth different solutions, perspectives and aspects of the problem.
Sometimes brainstorming leads into seeing the unseen gravity of the problem as well. In fact, many believe that any kind of problem solving has to be embarked upon by brainstorming. This helps in viewing and reviewing the problem from all angles possible.

Understanding the Problem Solving Process

Now, let us see a few creative problem solving methods. As per the Osborne-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process, the creative problem solving method would contain six logical steps.
~ Creative activities to work out a problem.
~ Collecting data about the problem, observing the problem as objectively as possible.
~ Examining the various parts of the problem to isolate the major part, stating the problem in an open-ended way.
~ Generating as many ideas as possible, regarding the problem - brainstorming.
~ Choosing the solution that would be most appropriate, developing and selecting criteria to evaluate the alternative solutions.
~ Creating a plan of action.
The Osborne-Parnes method is one of the most popularly followed methods in creative problem solving. Nonetheless, let us not forget, if it ought to be creative, you can always modify the methods.

Sample Problem Solving Exercises

Pick the Brain

Brainstorming is an essential ingredient within every problem solving exercise. So, to begin with, let's have a game that focuses entirely on this particular skill.
~ Pick any topic of conflict that is currently trending. It could be related to international politics, business, or finance, or any other subject.
~ Divide the people into equally numbered teams.
~ Each team is supposed to brainstorm and come up with a unique solution to the problem.

Pictorial Problems

This game requires the team to let their creative juices flow, and make ample use of their collective imagination.
~ Have a series of seemingly unrelated picture cut-outs placed in a bag.
~ The pictures should be such that when arranged in a particular sequence, portray a proverb, or a theme, or even describe a place.
~ The first team to solve the pictorial puzzle is the winner.

Awakening the Survival Instinct

Nothing is more adventurous than a fight for survival. This game is perfect to increase the bonding between a group of individuals.
~ Describe a few desolate scenarios for each team - they could be stranded on a deserted island with no supplies, or they could be lost in a rainforest, or even at sea.
~ Each team has to come up with a survival plan accordingly.
~ The team with the most creative and plausible plan wins.

Moral Check

In the midst of problem solving, it is very easy to turn a blind eye towards morality.
See how your teams fare by asking them to answer any of the following questions:

~ You catch a close friend who is also a colleague being involved in an unfair practice. Do you shield him, or do you tell on him?

~ You end up with some extra cash because the store clerk made an error. Do you keep it or return it?
~ Would you accept credit where it is not due?

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunts are popular among people of all ages. Additionally, they are very versatile too, giving you ample room to play around with the difficulty level. Set your teams up on a quest to find the coveted prize along a path that is scattered with clues to help them reach the destination.
Team building activities are essential for any organization to ensure smooth implementation of a plan or a policy. An organization is only as strong, as the team spirit of its employees. Here's hoping these problem solving activities came in handy to hone the creativity of your teams.