The Beginning of my Creative Problem Solving Journey

Within the first two weeks of class, I have already learned quite a lot about creative problem solving, intentional creative thinking, design thinking, and the ways different parts of the world operate to solve their problems. The distinction between creative and critical thinking is the main starting point when it comes to creative problem solving. One can use one of these two methods when engaging in thought processes that will solve problems creatively (in other words, design thinking, but that will be discussed later.) When thinking creatively, one is brainstorming as many ideas as possible, and is going for quantity rather than quality. But with critical thinking, one is taking lots of time to create fresh, varying ideas, including as much detail as possible. These are helpful to me because when I am coming up with ideas for problems assigned to us in class, or later in life when I am pursuing a career in interior design, I will be able to attack the problems with these methods of thinking, instead of not knowing what I’m doing. In addition to these modes of thinking, there is also the acronym SCAMPER, which stands for substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other use, eliminate, reverse. This method can be used when coming up with ideas and prototypes to solve problems. An important tip to remember when coming up with ideas in fluency—use no filter. You just generate as many ideas as possible without being judgmental, or thinking that any of your ideas are “dumb.” When brainstorming with a group, it’s good to just speak to each other whatever words come out of your mouth. Focus on quantity, withhold criticism, and combine and improve ideas. 

When it comes to creative problem solving, creativity and innovation play the largest part. While they might seem to be the same things, they are different. In my opinion, creativity is coming up with thoughts/ideas that you or other people have not thought of before. It can fit into any type of category, and can exist on its own. A thought can be creative, and have no purpose other than it is creative. However, innovation, in my opinion, is being able to come up with new ideas that are specifically geared towards an issue. An innovative thought has a specific direction with detailed planning, and it will solve/help a specific problem. This is good to know when it comes to brainstorming—you must know what type of thinking you are going to be using and the different types of ideas you are coming up with. 

The Design Thinking movie was very helpful in assisting me in putting all these thoughts and concepts together. It helped piece them all together by teaching me that Design Thinking is a process— it is recognizing and learning to understand a problem, and then creatively brainstorming testing material solution until one makes the fit. This involves lots of prototypes, testing, and starting over time and time again. This puts together all the concepts of creative and critical thinking, SCAMPER, and creativity and innovation. However, I learned a lot more from that movie that contributes greatly to my understanding of problem solving and my problem solving journey. Something that David Kelly said struck me the most from the video. He says being creative is not something that necessarily “in your genes.” He says it’s like “playing the piano, you have to practice.” He said you have to participate in order to be passionate about it. I have always thought my entire life that you either had a knack for creativity or you did not, and that was that. But his statement opened my eyes to the possibility of people being creators. It also opened my eyes to my ability to create—just because I am not naturally creative as one of my peers does not mean I am never able to be, or that I can create ideas of any less value. The video also showed me that vast number of fields that are in need of creative problem solving, and how there are many different places and fits for creativity. Honestly, it was inspiring, and gave me hope for all the available opportunities in the world for designers. I might use design thinking when I have a job in interior design, and I need to come up with a solution to be more sustainable, or to save money. I can use it in school when I’m coming up with ideas for projects, trying to think of answers to specific issues regarding textiles or interior design, etc. I also thought this video was beautifully well-made. The cinematography was engaging, and it had a bit of a quirky feel to it the entire time that matched the personalities of the people that were being interviewed. It encapsulated well the the energy and motivation behind design thinking, and the unique and driven people that are the force of design thinking today. 

These ideas were also expanded through the TED talk with Richard Turere. He was a perfect example of design thinking and creative problem solving—he needed a device to keep the lions from attacking and eating their cattle. He tried a few different prototypes that did not work because he was not fully familiar with the root of the problem. Once he discovered the root of the problem—the fact that lions were afraid of moving light because they thought they were people—he was able to create a design that solved the problem, and even use it to help other people in his community. It was a perfect example of creative problem solving, along with the fact that it can be used and is needed in every community or place for any problem needed. 

Finally, I was able to put all of these concepts and things that I have learned to action whenever we started Activity 1 with our groups in class. It helped me to understand much better whenever I was able to actually practice everything I had been taking in. In my group, we decided to design a chair that solves the problems that chairs are only specified to a small demographic of body sizes, as well as mental and physical needs. We were targeting office chairs and school chairs—these chairs often have extremely limited personal comfort availability as well as limited accessibility. In other words, we wanted a chair that “grows with you.” We brainstormed to design a chair that can adjust and fit all heights, weights, and proportions of different people, as well as provide comfort and mobility for those with short attention spans and fidgety characteristics. Being able to work with others in my group also helped me understand the possibilities of all you can think of when you are focusing on fixing a certain problem, as well as how my design thinking can improve. 

Overall, the first two weeks of class have taught me lots of information about creativity, innovation, creative thinking and problem solving, and design thinking. I am excited to use these things to think of my own ideas to problems, and to see my ides, as well as my classmates’, grow and form into polished, sustainable, helpful ideas.  

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