6 Stages of Creative Problem Solving

images (2)Below is a step-by-step process of solving a problem that employs an individual’s creativity. Like most of the other models around, the process begins with assessment or collection of data to begin with until the best possible course of action is selected out of the many generated alternatives that is hoped to solve the problem. Let’s take a look on this!

In Creative Problem Solving: The Basic Course (1985), authors Isaksen and Treffinger describe critical and creative thinking as a six-stage problem-solving process:


eliminate_the_paper_mess1. Mess Finding: identify and acknowledge what’s the mess that needs cleaning up, the situation that demands attention.

This has something to do with knowing where to start if ever there is really a need to. In other words, a person is moved to do something because a break in equilibrium occurs that needs to be properly addressed.


images (3)2. Data Finding: “taking stock”–unearthing and collecting information, knowledge, facts, feelings, opinions, and thoughts.  What do you know about the situation?  What do you still need to know?

In order to proceed with the process, examine first those things you are already aware of that may play significant impact in the present problem being handled. Then, advance further by gathering essential information and data relevant to the problem at hand.


3. Problem Finding: “problem statement” that expresses the “heart” of the situation.  State the problem in such a manner as to sbpuzzled-300x276invite novel perspectives on it.

This is said to be the heart of the situation as this is the center to which future actions are based. As we all know, those interventions must be in keeping with what the problem poses to the individual that warrants actions.


find-ideas4. Idea Finding: brainstorm as many ideas or alternatives as possible. Don’t evaluate. Generate an idea pool of a variety of solutions to your problem.

At this point, it is important to generate much ideas and alternatives as possible relevant to the problem identified  so that judgment at the next step will be applied to each in an effort to generate the best course of action to do. Asking for others’ help will be a good idea.


5. Solution Finding: evaluate ideas systematically; identify and evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of possible 14159421-finding-solution-magnifying-glass-with-solutions-word-on-a-white-backgroundsolutions. Generate a variety of criteria and select the most important for your problem. Is it cost? expediency? pleasure? time involvement? etc.

In this step, every generated alternative must be evaluated against the set criteria or standards so that the most likely “best” among all identified options will be considered. Be sure to be objective and fair in judging the said choices. It is important to become open with all the options being considered.


enov-about-us6. Acceptance Finding: formulate a plan of action. Determine your need, obstacles or difficulties, and specific short- and long-term steps.

After all the choices have been evaluated carefully and tactfully, then next and last for this model is to accept that course of action and have it carried  out to solve the identified problem.


Again, like all other models designed to help solve a problem, the individual utilizing such model must be tactful in being optimistic yet realistic in considering alternatives for a certain problem. For this particular model, the key is to employ creativity in the context of identifying the best solution for the problem.



Bellis, Mary. Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://inventors.about.com/library/lessons/bl_isaksen_treffinger.htm


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