Creativity - An Overview/Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS)

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The Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS), also known as the Osborn-Parnes CPS process, was developed by Alex Osborn and Dr. Sidney J. Parnes in the 1950s.[1] CPS is a structured method for generating novel and useful solutions to problems. CPS follows three process stages, which match a person's natural creative process, and six explicit steps:[2]

Process Stage Steps
Explore the Challenge Objective Finding (identify the goal, wish or challenge)
Fact Finding (gather the relevant data)
Problem Finding (clarify the problems that need to be solved in order to achieve the goal)
Generate Ideas Idea Finding (generate ideas to solve the identified problem)
Prepare for Action Solution Finding (move from idea to implementable solution)
Acceptance Finding (plan for action)

CPS is flexible, and its use depends on the situation. The steps can be (and often are) used in a linear fashion, from start to finish, but it is not necessary to use all the steps. For example, if one already has a clearly-defined problem, the process would begin at Idea Finding.

What distinguishes the Osborn-Parnes CPS process from other "creative problem solving" methods is the use of both divergent and convergent thinking during each process step, and not just when generating ideas to solve the problem. Each step begins with divergent thinking, a broad search for many alternatives. This is followed by convergent thinking, the process of evaluating and selecting.

This method is taught at the International Center for Studies in Creativity,[3] the Creative Problem Solving Institute,[4] and CREA Conference.[5] It is specifically acknowledged as a key influence for the Productive Thinking Model.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Creative Problem Solving: Resources for CPS Practitioners". OmniSkills, LLC. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  2. What is CPS?. Creative Education Foundation, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-13.
  3. "ICSC Course Descriptions". International Center for Studies in Creativity. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  4. "Creative Problem Solving Institute". Creative Education Foundation. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  5. "Programs". CREA Conference. Creativity European Association. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  6. Hurson, Tim (2007). Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking. New York, New York: McGraw Hill. pp. xii. ISBN 978-0071494939.