Review of Creatively Ever After

Creativity is one of those words we associate with activities such as art, music, drama, dance, craft and the like.

What is not always recognised is how important creativity is in the process of  problem solving. No matter how great your life is there will always be problems. If you are a manager or leader at work then a large portion of your time will be spent dealing with problems that arise. Some problems will be simple and easy to deal with. For more complex or difficult problems  creative thinking is required.

Alicia Arnold is a certified facilitator of the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS). She has written a book titled “Creatively Ever After” which details this approach to problem solving.

When I first looked at the book “Creatively Ever After” I was apprehensive because it sets out to use the Nursery Rhyme “Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill” to teach CPS. I thought that nursery rhymes were something that you listened to as a child then let them well alone in adulthood. What place do nursery rhymes have in teaching CPS which is used by top company executives?

But, as I read further my scepticism left. I was drawn into the story of Jack and Jill. They were having a bad time. Every time they went to fetch much needed water they would spill most of it when they fell down the hill. The book illustrates how they came to solve this problem using Creative Problem Solving. Like any good story I found myself emotionally involved in their quest to find the perfect solution to fetching water safely.

The book “Creatively Ever After” is a fascinating journey through the Creative Problem Solving process. Alicia could have written a dull text book on CPS, but using the vehicle of nursery rhymes means that the book is both highly readable and entertaining. When I finished the book I felt that I understood the CPS process.

To test this I decided to use CPS on myself. I own a small independent software business. Sales are a slow at the moment so I looked at how to solve this. How do I increase sales and profits? I followed the 6 steps of CPS which are:

  1. Identify Goal, Wish or Challenge
  2. Gathering Data
  3. Clarifying the Problem
  4. Generating Ideas
  5. Developing Solutions
  6. Planning for Action
After going through these steps I did come up with several creative solutions and several actions that I can take to increase sales. This is proof that COS works.  I am now a convert to the CPS way!
Although CPS has been used extensively in the business world it can also work on a personal level. I have used goal setting a a personal development tool in my life. Goals generally are solutions to problems. You see your weight as a problem, so set a goal to lose weight. You struggle with money and set a goal to make more money. CPS is a great tool to formulate problem solving goals then move from setting the goal to creatively finding solutions and actions that effectively achieve goals.
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