CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
This site is devoted to spreading the word about the Osborn-Parnes model of Creative Problem Solving (CPS).
WHAT IS CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING?
CPS is a form of deliberate
creativity: a structured process for solving problems or finding opportunities,
used when you want to go beyond conventional
thinking and arrive at creative (novel and useful) solutions.
There are other methodologies called "creative problem solving" that are not based on the work of Osborn and Parnes. Generally, when the name is written with capital letters ("Creative Problem Solving") or abbreviated "CPS," the work is based on the Osborn-Parnes model.
WHO ARE OSBORN AND PARNES?
In the 1950s, advertising executive Alex Osborn studied creative people to see how they came up with ideas and creative solutions. He called the process he observed “creative problem solving,” and documented it in his seminal book, Applied Imagination.
Osborn’s work soon caught the attention of a college professor who wanted to study and extend the work. Sidney Parnes, Ruth Noller, and their colleagues provided the academic scrutiny that confirmed that CPS works, that it can be taught, and that people can learn to improve the way they think and solve problems.
WHO OWNS CPS?
Unlike proprietary methodologies, no one owns CPS. Osborn put CPS into the public domain so that people could use it. He did not feel as if he owned it; everyone owned it, and anyone should be able to use it.
More than 50 years later, CPS is known and used worldwide, by hundreds of companies and professional practitioners, and thousands of individuals. Expansion and research continues. CPS is the cornerstone of the Osborn-founded Creative Education Foundation (CEF), and CEF’s annual conference, the Creative Problem Solving Institute; and CPS is at the core of the M.S. in Creativity from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College.
Because no one owns CPS – it is a kind of open-source project – it has been researched and refined, extended and enhanced, for more than 50 years. The beneficiaries? Any of us who choose to use CPS today.
A WORD ABOUT TERMINOLOGY
A side effect of the continuing study and development of CPS is that the terminology - what the stages are called, primarily - can change from one model to another. These changes tend to be author/practitioner preference, and are not material changes. This site uses the terminology developed by Paul Reali of OmniSkills, with stages that are consistent with the latest thinking on CPS. (For more information, see the column to the right.)
READER PLEASE NOTE: this is a work in progress...
We're continuously adding to this site, so please come on back, and let us know if there's anything you need or would like to see here.