Creative Problem Solving programs

The Creative Problem Solving program track offers participants a rich experience in learning how to think and act more creatively. Programs are targeted at skill development and designed around the Creative Problem Solving Skills Model.

The tracks take place for 2.5 days, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning*.

*Check the tracks for exceptions.

CREA2019 CPS Tracks

Foundations of CPS

This program is recommended for those who are unfamiliar with Creative Problem Solving (CPS) or with the deliberate practice of creativity. The CPS process has undergone continuous development and research since it was first developed in the 1950s. This program is based on the most recent developments in the evolution of the CPS model. It will introduce participants to the CPS Thinking Skills Model and to the dynamic balance of divergent and convergent thinking that supports it.

Participants will have an opportunity to explore and enhance their own creativity. They will gain a deeper awareness of their own preferred style of expressing creativity using the FourSight self-assessment and learn how to leverage this knowledge to work more effectively with others. There will be an opportunity for participants to learn and practice fundamental tools and techniques that can be applied to develop creative solutions to real challenges.

Participants will be able to:

  • Assess their individual thinking style preferences for working within the creative process.
  • Understand the Creative Problem Solving: Thinking Skills model and how it can be used to overcome creative challenges;
  • Experience the dynamic balance of divergent and convergent thinking and how to use it to produce creative results;
  • Identify personal characteristics, behaviors and attitudes that can promote and inhibit creativity.

The Art of Facilitation

Facilitators: Ismet Mamnoon and Branko Broekman

Requisite: Knowledge of Creative Problem Solving is required to participate in this program. 

Skillful facilitation is now being recognized as a core competency for creating dynamic group settings where people are able to collaborate and make high-quality decisions. By definition, a facilitator is one who contributes structure and process to interactions so that groups are able to function effectively, explore important issues
and achieve their collective goals. This generally leads to higher levels of buy-in, active participation and empowerment to take responsibility for action.
This program will focus on understanding and developing best practices for effective facilitation of the creative process, from appraising client’s objectives, to managing the physical and psychological environment, handling difficult situations and promoting functional behaviors for the accomplishment of the groups’ goals. Participants will have an opportunity to practice and receive feedback through a variety of simulations and exercise, using the Creative Problem Solving process and applying a variety of techniques that will bring their facilitation experience from good to great.

Participants will:

  • Assess their strengths and weaknesses related to group facilitation with a specific focus on group management, process management and communication skills;
  • Demonstrate, through the use of a variety of simulations and exercises, the ability to effectively navigate the CPS process in a group facilitation;
  • Identify and experience best practices that foster individual’s abilities to facilitate a group, boosting collaboration and handling curves;
  • Pinpoint specific facilitation skills that are in need of improvement and create a personal plan for the development of these identified skill areas.

Foursight® Certification

Facilitators: Gerard Puccio and Sarah Thurber

Requisite: Knowledge of Creative Problem Solving is required to participate in this program. 

Length: 2 full days. Participants can join EXPO workshops on Saturday.

The FourSight® Thinking Profile is an assessment that serves as a launch pad for innovation in teams and organizations. It is a valuable addition to your creative problem solving toolkit, helping you identify individual preferences when it comes to clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing. During FourSight® Certification, you will learn the research behind the assessment and discover best practices for debriefing FourSight with individuals, groups and teams. The co-founders will coach you how to maximize your impact, using FourSight to navigate the roadblocks to innovation. This certification will improve your skills as a productive leader and facilitator of innovation in an organizational setting. Participation in this workshop is the first of three requirements to become an official FourSight certified facilitator. The other two are: successful completion of a certification exam; and, the completion of practice sessions after the CREA FourSight workshop. (All participants are provided with 10 free online assessment to use for the purposes of practice). 

Participants will be able to:

  • Learn to leverage people’s preferences to enhance creative collaboration;
  • Evaluate how a team’s profile impacts their approach to challenges;
  • Increase their ability to communicate and problem solve effectively with people who have other preferences;
  • Enhance their effectiveness in building high performance teams.

CPS on Demand: Applying Creative Thinking Tools in a Complex World

Facilitators: Matteo Catullo and Tim Switalski

Requisite: Knowledge of Creative Problem Solving is required to participate in this program. 

Length: 2 full days. Participants can join EXPO workshops on Saturday.

CPS has been around for over 70 years. It’s one of the world’s most successful process models with plenty of research and practice to demonstrate its effectiveness when facing new and complex challenges. One thing that skilled practitioners know about CPS is that you don’t need to apply the entire process for it to be effective. More often than not, there are moments during a meeting or in a conversation where a divergent and convergent thinking tool can save the day.
This program will use the CPS Thinking Skills model as a framework for applying creative thinking (in either planned or spontaneous ways) to everyday situations, both professional and personal. We will explore how to assess complex situations and identify the kind of thinking that is needed to develop a solution to challenging problem. Using a variety of interactive exercises, we will examine how to facilitate each of the main phases of CPS in ways that respond to particular needs in a variety of contexts to bring about novel and valuable outcomes. 

Participants will be able to:

  • Explore the use of diagnostic thinking to identify opportunities for applying CPS in a wide variety of situations;
  • Learn specific tools and techniques from the CPS Thinking Skills framework that can be applied in strategic ways to clarify complex challenges, generate ideas or implement solutions; and
  • Develop the capacity to facilitate solutions to professional and personal challenges in situations that can be anticipated or arise unexpectedly.

Polarity Thinking

Facilitators: Liz Monroe-Cook and Clare Dus

Requisite: Knowledge of Creative Problem Solving is required to participate in this program. 

Length: 2 full days. Participants can join EXPO workshops on Saturday.

Complex situations often contain issues that are inherently “unsolvable” and remain unsolvable regardless of our best and most creative attempts to resolve them. The practice of polarity thinking combined with Creative Problem Solving provides exciting opportunities for sustainable innovation and being more effective in complex situations. Whether called polarity, paradox or dilemma, these tensions are universal phenomena in human experience. In this session you’ll learn to distinguish between either-or problem solving and both-and thinking. You’ll explore how to leverage dynamic tensions such as head and heart, planning and action, team and individual and – of course –the diverge and converge polarity of CPS. 
Through discussion, activities and Polarity Mapping, you’ll identify interdependent factors that are constants and indestructible, and learn a deliberate process to manage them. You’ll find that polarity thinking in partnership with CPS has a wide range of applications, e.g., organizational planning, coaching, customer insights, conflict management, team performance and individual development. You’ll be able to apply your insights to both personal and professional situations as you choose. 

Participants will be able to:

  • Expand your thinking through awareness of the phenomenon of interdependent pairs – polarities.
  • Learn a powerful approach and tool for analysis and action when facing dilemmas.
  • Gain insights about how to recognize and use paradox to manage complexity.
  • Learn about the rich partnership of Polarity Thinking and CPS.