The conventional description of the steps to rational problem solving look like this:
  1. Define problem
  2. Generate alternative solutions
  3. Evaluate alternatives subject to constraints
  4. Implement

A more progressive approach might add "follow up and learn" as a fifth step. Under the heading "creative problem solving" you might find:

  1. Clarify and identify the problem
  2. Research the problem
  3. Formulate creative challenges
  4. Generate ideas
  5. Combine and evaluate the ideas
  6. Draw up an action plan
  7. Do it! (implement the ideas)

IDEO's method sometimes suggests five steps:

  1. Observe
  2. Ideate
  3. Prototype
  4. Feedback
  5. Iteration

sometimes three:

  1. inspiration
  2. ideation
  3. implementation

We want to draw on all of the above.

For the kind of problem solver we are trying to develop, the process begins with a problem solving mindset that sees opportunities for solutions in the world around us. This mindset has several components:

An eye. That sees problems. That sees possibility. The point is that one can catch flaws, identify weaknesses, hear complaint and dissatisfaction, and process these as opportunity, as a possible locus for creative intervention.

An ear. That hears what people say. problems. That sees possibility. The point is that one gets outside of oneself. Empathy. You are not the human in human centered design.

A mind. That knows. That vacuums up knowledge.

Upon encountering or recognizing opportunity our creative problem solvers respond not with a torrent of clever ideas but with an urge to learn more. We cultivate their capacity to know what they do not know, to inhabit epistemological humility.

Open-ness to the world.

Understanding

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