Creative Problem-Solving in Company
Communication problems in the workplace can lead to extremely negative consequences such as loss of money and productivity. Therefore, without effective and appropriate communication, organizations are unable to exchange crucial information on daily operations and develop a communication network in order to provide new product data. A bright example can be the company Novas, which produces mobile phones. This organization has difficulty with appropriate communication among departments. In particular, it is possible to notice the lack of feedback among departments. Managerial staff and employees have to provide feedback at all times in order to improve the information quality and the manner in which the information is delivered. In the case of the mentioned organization, there is a problem between the departments in providing feedback regarding projects that, in its turn, leads to great confusion. For instance, the sales department tends to deliver information in some confusing format to other people in the company, while the other departments, despite having difficulties with such information do not mention this problem. The sales department seems to send information through the mails, but it looks confusing and unorganized. Hence, other departments have difficulties in analyzing such information that, as a result, could have led to serious problems. The departments have to solve this communication problem as soon as possible; otherwise, it will pose a serious communication challenge to the whole organization. Nonetheless, without realizing this problem, it is not possible to fix it, and it cannot be identified while other departments do not provide feedback on the work of others. In order to address the issue, the communication problem and brainstorming method application are analyzed based on the article of AlMutairi The effect of using brainstorming strategy in developing creative problem-solving skills among male students in Kuwait: A field study on Saud Al-Kharji school in Kuwait CityThus. Therefore, creative problem solving can be a great way to improve the challenging situation in the company, particularly through brainstorming, which can help to produce many ideas of providing full communication between departments.
Analysis of the Problem
In general, creative problem-solving can be described as the process of looking for some original problems solutions. Usually, it begins with defining a challenge, finding a solution, panning actions, accepting this planning, and implementing the made decision (AlMutairi, 2015). Paradigm shifts play a great role in the creative problem-solving.
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The paradigm is rules and regulations set that defines boundaries and assists in being successful with such boundaries, where success is measured by the problems solved using these rules and regulations and they help to move from primitive methods to more developed one (Proctor, 2013). Paradigm shifts need a change in perspective on the subject. Hence, blinkered thinking related to the rigorous holding to a paradigm can lead to missing chances and overlooked threats that can have a crucial influence on business (Proctor, 2013). The paradigm shift process can be promoted and impacted through the creative thinking use. It provides ideas and notions that would usually be involved in the creative problem-solving.
In case of the organization Novus, communication problem also needs some paradigm shift in order to change the situation and implement an efficient way of feedback providing among the departments. These departments are situated inside own boundaries and related to holding the paradigms that, in turn, lead to fewer opportunities to fix the situation in a creative and efficient way.
There are also some paradigm-breaking techniques aimed at promoting creativity. These techniques can assist people to develop fantasies that can help to represent new ideas. One of the approaches is called rich pictures. This approach can help individuals to look at challenges from a completely opposite side, and it transforms the thinking patterns within the group. Through this approach, it is critical to provide the problem statement and write it on the flip chart, then draw two pictures that can be metaphors for situations. The first picture has to show how people would like to see the case in the future, while the second picture has to demonstrate how individuals see the current situation. Then, it is critical to ask people to describe the present picture with drawn objects properties and reasons. After that the participants have to characterize the future picture, involving objects relationships and properties. Then, based on the descriptions, new ideas have to be generated (Proctor, 2013). These rich pictures can be stored in the electronic databases and selected by people to represent their perceptions. The other approach is imagining. People with high creativity in case of having some idea try to make a detailed and clear picture of the implemented solution. Both these techniques can be applied to various organizational problems, including problems with communication, particularly, with the lack of feedback. For instance, in case of the rich picture technique, the departments of Novas can gather together and write two pictures that can be metaphors for the lack of feedback problem and after collecting the descriptions and explanations of both pictures, new ideas can be born in this creative environment. In case of imaging technique, people from different departments can simply imagine the possible solutions and fix them.
At the same time, a great issue with the creative problem-solving can be some obstacles, which, in turn, can be divided on organizational and individual. One of the individual blocks is lack of readiness to changes, absence of relevant information and information overload, incorrect problem space specification, and wrong task environment perception. In some cases, it can be a mindset, which can lead to stereotyping and fixation in problem-solving behavior. The other individual barriers can be emotional obstacles, such as jealousy, anxiety or fear, cultural blocks provoked by the social impact, and perceptual blocks that prevent the individual from gaining a relevant and truthful impression from the outside world. Also, the obstacles can be divided into strategic barriers. It means the prevalence of thinking inflexibility that involves strong reliance on past experience and specific techniques without their appropriateness challenging (Proctor, 2013). The other type is a value barrier that appears when personal values and beliefs restrict the range of ideas contemplated. The last type includes self-image obstacles that mean poor efficiency through the failure fear. Also, there are organizational blocks such as emphasis on managerial control, short-range thinking, rigid hierarchical structures, analysis paralysis, the belief that some people are creative, while another no, lack of systematic approach to innovation, pressure to gain and do more with fewer resources, and market- versus technology-driven product planning (Proctor, 2013). In general, all these blocks are a great challenge to providing creative problem-solving. These barriers can be present in the organization Novas because people are different and all of them have their specific blocks to creative decision-making. The same situation is with the organizational obstacles that can even be found in each department and in the organization in general.
Hence, it is crucial to understand some creative problem-solving approaches and methods that help to remove barriers and promote creative thinking. For instance, one of the creative problem-solving approaches can be metaphorical thinking method. The metaphor is a thinking technique that unifies two opposite meaning universities. For instance, it can include concepts like time flow and food chain. The background to metaphorical thinking is similar because human mind looks for similarities. In creative problem-solving that involves making metaphors, one person begins by stating the challenge, then choosing the metaphor, and after that using it to provide new ideas. For example, an urgent problem can be the ways of encouraging employees to work more. The metaphor can be that human body consists of different organs and in order to achieve the body functioning every organ has to operate individually and all organs have to work in harmony. Some organs are more crucial for the organism in comparison to other, and in case they cease functioning for a long time the body will die. Thus, inner body parts have relative meaning for the successful functioning. It means that organization also has different departments. In order to work efficiently, each department has to operate properly and all departments have to work in harmony together (Proctor, 2013). Some departments are more crucial for the organization functioning, and without appropriate operation business survival cannot be provided. In case something wrong with the department, the whole organization will be affected. Hence, all elements have to work smoothly for the effective results. Therefore, cooperation between employees in the department and between the departments themselves is critical for the effective business operation. It can be gained through holding meetings at which department representatives can discuss some challenges.
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This method also can be applied to the analyzed communication problem. For instance, it can be based on an example of a car and people inside. The driver can represent the sales department and passengers can represent another department. The driver was told to move in a specific direction, but instead, he turned into a wrong side. Passengers had to tell him he was wrong, but they decided not to communicate with him. As a result, all of them arrived to a wrong place. Similarly, in the organization, the departments refused to tell the sales department that their information representation was wrong and the consequences could have been wrong. It means that appropriate feedback among departments is crucial. It can be promoted through team building events and psychological training. There are many different creative solving methods and this is only one example
Creative Ideas for Problem Solving
Despite a great number of creative problem-solving methods, one of the most effective and widespread is brainstorming. Brainstorming is a creative problem-solving approach that enables people to gain insights into the problem that in another case would be overlooked (AlMutairi, 2015). The brainstorming has to be based on such rules as being built on another idea, promote wild ideas, choose quantity, and evaluate later.
The brainstorming sessions have to be well-planned and participants have to be consulted on how the sessions will be provided and on expected rules to follow. There are some stages in the brainstorming process. The brainstorming group has to involve from ten to twelve people that consist of a scribe, a leader, and from eight to ten regular members. Every department of organization Novas can form some groups that will include the manager, scribe, and around ten employees. It is crucial to consider who will attend the session because the room full of like-minded people will provide a lot of creative propositions in opposite to the diverse group. Hence, it is critical to involve people from various disciplines and with different thinking styles. Also, the session has to be organized away from the daily workplace. First of all, it is important to provide a comfortable meeting environment for the brainstorming sessions. The room has to be well-lit and must include all needed tools and resources. Also, it has to be furnished with flip charts and comfortable chairs.
The next step is to present the problem. It is important to clearly define the problem that needs to be solved and provide any criteria that have to be met. The main stage in the brainstorming is the problem stating and clarification of all aspects that seem to be confusing. After that, the problem has to be recorded along with all definitions that have been produced by the group. Then, it is critical to choose the most useful notion that is used for the ideas generated. The last stage is the idea generation. For instance, the organization can have a problem with production times decreasing. After that, the problem statement has to be defined and interpreted. The redefinition will be how to improve flexibility. It is critical to provide several redefinitions, after which the group has to produce some ideas, such as provide training, introduce new technology, and ensure program environment (AlMutairi, 2015). Therefore, brainstorming is aimed to provide as many solutions as possible from which several will represent the key to problem-solving.
The groups from Novas have to define the problem such as lack of feedback among departments. After that, several redefinitions have to be provided. They can include suggestions how to implement report standards as a comfortable template for effective communication form or how to provide team building to promote communication. Moreover, it is critical to explain that the main goal of the meeting it to produce as many ideas as possible. Then after some redefinition is chosen, the groups must have enough time in a quiet to begin the session and write as many creative ideas as possible. After that, the head person has to ask them to share their propositions, while providing everyone with a fair chance to contribute.
The next step is the discussion guide. When people have shared their propositions, the manager has to begin a discussion in order to develop ideas of other people and use them to create new suggestions. Building on others ideas is one of the most critical elements of the brainstorming. The manager has to motivate people to develop and contribute ideas, involving the quietest members of a group and discourage others from criticizing these thoughts. The groups manager has to share ideas, but, at the same time, spend more energy and time on supporting group and guiding the discussion. It is important to engage in one conversation at a time and remember to let people be relaxed during brainstorming (AlMutairi, 2015). The creativity has to be encouraged in order to produce as many ideas as possible, despite the possibility that they are impractical or practical. Nonetheless, it is important not to concentrate on one idea for too long and to generate a great number of a different suggestions.
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Therefore, in case of the analyzed issue, the groups have to realize the problem redefinition and state the problem, particularly, how to improve team building. The possible ideas can include an organization of common events, promotion of collective work in groups, introduction of common work among departments, and creation of common spaces for different departments where people can chat more about work. The main point of the redefinition of the problem is reducing the hostility of the new tasks performing ways.
The process of getting answers to the defined problem can be greatly assisted by representing even wild ideas, and it is the responsibility of the leader to ask the group members to make such contribution. After getting some wild ideas through the brainstorming, some realistic propositions can be gained. For instance, the analyzed problem is the lack of feedback among the departments. The wild idea will be to remove departments at all and work in a common space. Basing on this wild proposition, the rational idea will be to create a common virtual platform aimed at the employees communication. In the end, all ideas have to be gathered from all departments groups, analyzed, and the best alternatives will represent creative problem solutions that can be implemented.
In order to organize the gained information, it is critical to implement some evaluation method. Brainstorming provides a huge number of ideas and to get the situation clear, they have to be sorted. It is crucial to sort the ideas according to some groups and headings (AlMutairi, 2015). The hotspots can be used as the grouping identifying method. At the same time, participants have to eliminate some unattractive groupings from further consideration that can be done through advantage and disadvantage method. The employees have to decide which ideas are the best in each group, and from chosen propositions to develop a single creative solution for implementation. In this process, a mind map can be a great tool. For instance, in the middle of the map, groups have to write the problem, mainly lack of the feedback among the departments. After that, from the problem the participants have to draw a line with headings, such as practical, fun, and out-office solutions. Then, under each group it is necessary to write the best ideas. The employees have to choose from each list a single good idea. For instance, from the practical group they can choose an implementation of virtual space for feedback, the fun groups option can be writing each other some unofficial notes with impressions in a free manner, and an out-office solution can be the common trip or holiday for better communication. The groups have to vote to choose one of three solutions. For instance, they can decide to choose the virtual space implementation for communication and then managers have to implement this solution.
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There are some strengths and weaknesses of the brainstorming process. Among the limitations of brainstorming, despite its wide usage, there can be incorrect implementation because of a great role play skills and experience of the group leader. As a creative problem-solving tool it is good for acquiring a great number of ideas, but it is better to apply brainstorming to conceptually simple problems, in opposite to more difficult ideas development. Also, it relies on random association and does not always lead to the original solution representation. Moreover, among challenges of brainstorming, there are ensuring that the members in groups do not compete with each other, helping members to progress in case of any problems with ideas generation, encouraging them to develop each others ideas, motivating members to participate in the most active way, and preventing the session from being just an ordinary chat. Hence, all these challenges can turn in limitations in case of inappropriate preparation to the brainstorming. At the same time, the positive sides of the brainstorming include the encouragement of the creative problem-solving and thinking, empowerment of the problem-based learning, ensuring support in the comfortable environment, and contribution to the collective power and easy work activity.
Overall, the paper analyzed the communication problem in the company Novas, particularly, lack of the feedback among departments. The main challenge was that the sales department was not presenting clear reports and other departments did not mention this problem despite difficulties with analyzing these reports, which, in turn, could become a threat to the company. In order to solve the problem in a creative way the brainstorming method aimed to produce as many creative ideas as possible and then choose the single and right solution was chosen. Each department formed small groups and, in comfortable conditions, they produced some ideas, even wild ones. After creating possible solutions, they were analyzed and sorted with the application of advantages and disadvantage method, and the most failing ideas were eliminated. In order to be clear a mind map was created, in which under such heading as fun, practical, and out-office the final ideas were grouped. The best idea from each group was chosen. Hence, every group in the company had three solutions. The groups members voted to choose the best choice and, after that, each department group had own solution to the problem. Then, these ideas were gathered, and after another voting of the whole company, the single and the best solution was chosen. As a result, managers have to implement this solution that will help to address the problem with lack of feedback among the departments.