It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Find the Best Problem

It is time to visit the creativity research laboratory.

In a research study on “problem construction” researchers instructed half
of the study participants to restate the problem in a variety of ways before starting to work.
The other half of the participants were instructed to read the problem and immediately solve it.

The results: Those individuals that restated the problem in a variety of different ways produced more original and higher quality solutions than those participants who went right to work.

The researchers did not place a limit on the amount of time the group had to generate problem restatements. In fact, researchers instructed participants to, “Take your time. There are no time

When observed, however, the subjects took about 5 to 6 minutes to finish generating a list of problem statements from which they selected a problem and generated ideas to solve.

The subjects in the group that took the time to generate restatements of the problems had no formal training on how to formulate problems. Yet, just the encouragement from the researchers and a few minutes of talking amongst the group yielded superior results.

Can you afford to spend five minutes to find the real problem? Can you afford not to?

Discover more in my new book, Solve the Real Problem. The book is scheduled for release in June. I will be signing all preordered hard copies of Solve the Real Problem and you can now preorder the electronic version. Click here to preorder! 

It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Find the Real Problem

1 Comment

  1. Anne Manning

    Hi Roger! It’s Anne Manning. I’m a former grad student of yours from Buff State. I wonder if you could point me in the direction of the “problem formation” research you mention in the article introducing your book. I teach a course in Creative Thinking at Harvard. We have a class coming up in early May and I would like to reference the research and plug your new book! Thanks so much! Anne


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