Creative problem-solving (“CPS”) takes your meetings beyond conventional thinking styles. It is a deliberate process that corporate facilitators use to help organizations solve problems or find opportunities that have not been explored previously. The key word here is deliberate. Creative problem-solving should be facilitated by a professional facilitator for it to be successful.

Before the Session

Any creative problem-solving facilitated session actually begins with a pre-session meeting with the client. During this meeting, the certified facilitator discusses the situation with the client, assesses what the client’s needs and goals are for the session, gathers important data and determines what stage of creative problem-solving would most benefit the session. Every situation is different, and the facilitator will do his or her part to be fully prepared for the unique task at hand.

A Typical Session

When the actual facilitated session occurs, it will involve three parties: the client, the resource group (typically employees who have been working on the problem with no solution) and the facilitator. The facilitator will guide the session, make decisions about where to start with the CPS process, guide the participants through relevant process stages and offer specific tools as needed.

Beyond that basic summary, though, every session is unique. One group may need to start at one part of the creative problem-solving process and work through each step to get to their goal, whereas another might start with a completely different part of the process and find the solution to their issue almost immediately. Ultimately, it all depends on how the participants react and what the professional facilitator believes will benefit the session most. At the end of the session, the facilitator will provide a wrap-up to determine what has been accomplished and what steps will need to be taken in the future.

Process Steps

There are six steps that can be explored during creative problem-solving sessions. They can be explored in any order and are typically represented in a hexagon figure instead of an ordered list. These steps, in no particular order, are:

  • Plan for action.
  • Imagine the future.
  • Find the questions.
  • Generate ideas.
  • Craft solutions.
  • Explore acceptance.

The central and most essential piece to the CPS diagram, though, is a seventh step: facilitation. A Certified Master Facilitator is essential to the success of any creative problem-solving exercise, as they provide the participants with gentle guidance and a neutral perspective while they work through the process.