Reflection: Creative Problem Solving

Nora Guerrera
3 min readMar 19, 2024

What did you take away?

So often, we go through our hours, days, and weeks, busy. Doing, doing, doing. We may read a few emails, and we make “like” a few LinkedIn posts, but we spend our time going from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next. How often do we pause and reflect on what we might have read, learned, or what we think about it?

Not often enough.

In the time it would have taken you to read a new post, I want to give you time to reflect on the most recent series on creative problem-solving — more specifically, creative problem-solving under stress.

As a refresher, creative problem-solving is the ability — whether as an individual, a group, or an organization — to solve ill-defined, novel, complex, demanding, and exploitable challenges.

It is comprised of two main components: Cognitive Flexibility and Applied Learning.

There are many different modes of creative thought that can help you increase your cognitive flexibility: Divergent Thinking, Convergent Thinking, Lateral Thinking, Emergent Thinking, and Analogous Thinking.

And there are five mindsets that are critical in applied learning: Empathy, Curiosity, Experimentation, Awareness, and Failure.

Being able to apply creative problem-solving under stress requires training and practice. You must build a strong foundation of the basics, turn up stress over time, use frameworks to lighten the cognitive load, and leave room for flexibility.

And now, reflect:

  • What are the top things that were interesting to you?
  • What are a few things that were surprising?
  • What do those things make you think of?
  • How do they connect with your work? (Or pull you in a new or different direction?)

It’s our recommendation to write notes — whether paper and pen or digital. Notes can be powerful in encouraging memory, pushing to the more interesting, and helping you look back at your own thoughts and ideas.

Enjoy!

Related Resources and References

Previous posts in this 5-part series on creative problem-solving:

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Nora Guerrera

Strategist, Leader, Coach, Teacher. I help clients explore, create and use digital to bring game-changing experiences to their businesses and their customers.