Department of Education

Creative Problem Solving Process

Osborn-Parne's Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Process

The Creative Problem Solving process is a flexible tool that can be used to examine real problems and issues. Developed by 'brainstorming' creator Alex Osborn and Dr Sidney Parnes, the six stages to the model, provide a structured procedure for identifying challenges, generating ideas and implementing innovative solutions. Through continued practice and use of the process students can strengthen their creative techniques and learn to generalise in new situations.

The process flows logically through the six steps of:

1. Objective (Mess) Finding - identifying the goal, challenge and future direction.
2. Fact Finding - collecting data about the problem, observing the problem as objectively as possible.
3. Problem Solving - examining the various parts of the problem to isolate the major part, stating the problem in an open-ended way.
4. Idea Finding - generating as many ideas as possible regarding the problem, brainstorming.
5. Solution Finding - choosing the solution that would be most appropriate, developing and selecting criteria to evaluate the alternative solutions.
6. Acceptance Finding - creating a plan of action.

Unlike many other problem-solving methods, the process emphasises the need to defer judgement on possible ideas and solutions until a final decision is made. In this way, the flow of ideas in the third step is not interrupted, and possible solutions, however, bizarre, are accepted. The teacher's role at this step is very important, creating an environment in which students can feel comfortable in making suggestions. Quantity of ideas is required in brainstorming, not quality.

Maker CJ (1982) Teaching models in the education of the gifted Austin: Pro-Ed.

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Creative Problem Solving Process

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