Creative Workshop

Preface
This assignment requires students to demonstrate their creative thinking skills to solve a problem using the structured framework of Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and a combination of divergent and convergent thinking tools and frameworks.
Background
A descriiption of creativity that has been widely adopted is the ability to produce original ideas that solve some problem. Kaufmann (1988:88) defined a problem as ‘a discrepancy between an existing situation and a desired state of affairs’. In categorizing types of problems, Kaufmann indicated that problems range along a continuum from ‘well-structured’ to ‘ill-structured’. According to Kaufmann ill-structured problems are characterised by novelty, complexity and ambiguity. Novelty is the lack of familiarity with the situation, the goal, or the challenge; complexity relates to the number of pieces, variables and elements that must be managed in order to resolve the situation; and ambiguity when there is a high degree of uncertainty about the goal or best solution.
Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is a widely used systematic process which sets out a number of steps to enhance the probability of successfully resolving such complex problems. CPS has been chosen as the foundation of this year’s course assessment because of the model’s prominence as a problem- solving method and because the model provides an excellent vehicle for students to demonstrate their mastery of the intended learning outcomes of the course which are to:
– Appreciate the value of creativity in a business context
– Use creativity techniques for business and design problem solving.

The Assignment.
This is an individual assignment.
Figure 1 is an adaptation, produced for this assignment, of the Osborn and Parnes (1953; 1967) CPS model.
The diamonds depict each step of the CPS process. This iconography represents the important balance between divergent and convergent thinking for all steps of the process. That is, each step begins with a search for many, varied and original options (divergent thinking), i.e. fluency, flexibility and originality in thought, followed by a careful culling and evaluation of the most promising alternatives (convergent thinking) i.e. screening, sorting and prioritising.
The alternating movement between divergent and convergent thinking is the hallmark of the CPS process.
In this assignment students are asked to follow the CPS model depicted in Figure 1 and alternate between divergent and convergent thinking, using relevant models at each stage to stimulate and frame their creativity, and find a creative solution to ONE of these problems:
2
i. A congested road bridge.
ii. Low staff morale in a delivery company delivering parcels to customers that have ordered
online.
iii. Increasing the number of clients for packed crispy vegetables
Your work and report should address the constituent elements of the following CPS steps:
– In your own words define the problem with an objective.
– Are there any other possible definitions of it worth considering?
– What general solutions do they suggest?
– What are the important facts and factors?
1. Problem Understanding
2. Towards solving the problem
– Identify your main assumptions.
– Refine your initial understanding and statement of the problem and objective by using What?
– Why? How? When? Where? Who?
– Use Dimensional Analysis; Laddering; Boundary Examination; Decomposable Matrices or another relevant tool, or combination of tools, to create redefinitions and refinement of the problem.
– Use a lateral thinking technique such as brainstorming, Six Hats and associated techniques to stimulate fluency, flexibility and originality in thought and identify and list the possible solutions, ways forward, and courses of action.
– Decide the criteria by which solutions are to be evaluated.
– Sort and narrow down the list of feasible solutions i.e. the ones that are possible given the
resources available.
– Use one or more evaluation methods, such as an Advantage-disadvantage table; Plus/Minus/Interesting (PMI); Castle Technique; Force Field Analysis; Weighted Scoring and so on to screen, sort and prioritise the solutions.
3. Evaluate the short-listed solutions
4. Recommendation

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