I’ve led over 1,000 Creative Problem Solving sessions over my 40-year career, and only once did what we originally think was the problem actually end up being the one that needed solving. Some questions that we encounter in life only have one right answer: What’s the capital of Poland? Warsaw. What’s 2 + 2? Four. But in reality, we’ll all have to deal with problems that are more complex than that. That’s when it’s crucial to challenge our initial impression of what we think the problem is.
The first step of the Creative Problem Solving process is to clarify the problem, and that’s what I focus on in my TEDx Talk. Two keys to accomplishing this step are to ask creative questions and ask “What’s stopping me?”
“The language we use to describe a problem is going to dictate the kinds of ideas we generate.”