On a certain level the argument that “anyone can point out problems, but only people who think well and creative can present possible solutions” is certainly valid. However, a case can be made that the discovering of problems is itself a creative endeavor. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, we need artistic imagination to co-create the planet’s best approaches and most influential solutions (Adler, 2010) to a wide variety of complex and ill-defined problems. If change across the global landscape continue to be complex, unprecedented in its pace, and even chaotic the only types of problems will be those categorized as ill-defined. Thus problem identification; an organization wide and systematic pursuit of scanning and interpreting the internal and external environment will be critical for organizational survival. What is needed is creative problem identification.
While there are many descriptions and models of creative problem solving I do not recall any such models for creative problem identification. A futures orientation may come close, though, I do not want to confuse the tools of the futurist; scenario planning, environment scanning and so forth with creative problem solving. Instead, I am leaning toward a paradigm that would integrate certain leadership models with a creative component. This integration would seek to ensure that the concept of problem identification were added to the decision making process of all complex problem areas and that ample time was spent on problem construction and not just on problem identification and implementation. This approach seems appropriate as it has been shown that when participants spent more time formulating a constructing a problem, the solutions generated were of higher quality and originality (Redmond, Mumford & Teach, 1993). Moreover, the more ways in which a problem is visualized and assessed increases its potential for quality and use.
Adler, N. J. (2010). Going beyond the dehydrated language of management: leadership insight. Journal of Business Strategy, 31(4), 90-99.
Redmond, M. R., Mumford, M. D., & Teach, R. (1993). Putting creativity to work: Effects of leader behavior on subordinate creativity. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 55(1), 120-151.