critical thinking important in solving problems? I'm sure you'd agree
with me that it is. But did you know that creative thinking could
probably be just as, if not more important for this purpose?
you have a problem, what do you do? Chances are that you try to think
of a solution. But thinking about a solution without first defining the true
problem is not effective. Certainly you'll come up with many ideas all
worthy as solutions, but will implementing the ideas solve
the problem? Let me give you an example.
is working on a marketing brochure for her business in the hopes of
generating more business. She thinks that a brochure will help, but
she's stumped for ideas for the brochure, so takes a break to
here's what's wrong with this scenario. Carol will probably come
up with lots of great ideas for wording for the brochure, but what
problem is she really trying to solve? Is it finding the correct words
for a creative brochure? No. The problem is how to generate more
it is with organizations. Working on solving the wrong problems
decreases overall efficiency and costs the organization more time and
money in the long run. If "symptoms" are showing up in your organization
(e.g., lack of business), don't mistake them for problems (e.g.,
inadequate marketing brochures). Before jumping to solutions, stop and
find out what's causing the symptoms in order to understand the
One way to determine problems is by using mind maps. Mind maps help you to outline the problem(s) and then pose questions/challenges to come up with ideas for possible solutions. Brainstorming can also be a useful exercise as are flowcharts, force field analysis, interrelationship digraphs and tree diagrams.
Or maybe you have use some other creative ways of dissecting the
symptoms from the problems. However you go about it, defining the real
problem first is essential to getting to the correct solution.