A study of creativity critical thinking


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Everyone has a need to be able to adapt creatively and thus keep up with the ever changing world. Although it has been said that reason could be used, now there is an understanding that this can impede people from fast and unknowing changes in a situation, and to benefit in problem solving people need to see things in new ways, expand existing thoughts and develop skills which enable them to become a benefit to any project group or organisation.

More recently organisations have had to make drastic creative changes in working ways, unlike the smooth, formulated easy changes of the past. The logic and the reason are limited when setting up for hard to guess discontinuous change, so there is a need to move beyond them. It is all about how to move away from limited thinking, traditional mindsets, assumptions, and that deep rooted way of approaching problems. It is suggested that cerebral hemispheres are responsible for different ways of activities: the left one is responsible for logics, scientific and practical ways while he right one is used for more creative activities. Whether you are used to processing one way over the other it would be of great benefit to become familiar with both, as there has been evidence showing the more a certain part of the brain is used the more it will develop physiologically.

Constraints' being removed before approaching problems is vital in order to find the best solution, and people need to change the goal to avoid staying in a status quo. Predicting changes in the environment, continually reformulating it is important, using creativity is essential in bringing about a different future. The ICT invasion is a fine example where some organisations were not creative enough to move fast and benefit.

When creating possible solutions the more options the more likeliness that a solution will come to light, especially when there has been resistance in the past.

Idea generation from successive divergent and convergent stages is an ideal tool for this.

In short the use of both types of thinking is valid, in regards to the left and right cerebral hemispheres mentioned earlier.

Creative implementation has scope when there are a wide range of options, and in order to bring creativity about limitations need to be forgotten and creative thinking must take over, this is the only way to bring about great change.

Creative thinking is a process which improves the ability to be creative and being in a finest state of mind for producing new ideas. It means also thinking intentionally in ways that improve the likelihood of original thoughts occurring, it maximises the ability of the brain to think of new diverse and complex ideas; a series of mental actions which produce changes and developments of thought; the process of exploring multiple avenues of actions or thoughts, (sometimes called divergent thinking because thought patterns and areas of belief are expanded.) (http://www.brainstorming.co.uk/tutorials/definitions.html#creative thinking).

Creative Tools for Problem Solving

A team's work requires creativity and one of the best known creative tools is brainstorming. Brainstorming is an advanced tool; it helps team creatively and capably generate a high level of ideas on any topic by encouraging free thinking (Basu 2008). There are several variations of the process itself; two of them are more common- structured and unstructured methods. In the first method each member is asked to come up with an idea, whilst in the second one idea is produced at any time by anyone. Brainstorming is often used when logical tools cannot solve a problem.

Another tool for effective problem solving is Mind Map. Mind Map is non-linear, spatial, graphical technique. There is a central image which is the main subject and ideas are spread out of it like branches. Also topics of secondary importance are spreading out like branches from main topics (Malone 2004).

Rich picture- at first sight these pictures are misleadingly trivial. However, this conceals the complicated way of gathering information, ideas, experiences and all other sources which helps to create (Kazi 2005). The rich picture is a communication channel which articulates the situation through provocation.

Visual thinking- it is a part of thinking process, which is highly valuable and used widely. When visual information is presented, quite often it is much easier to obtain the meaning (Paterson 1993).

Collaboration- it is a vibrant and interpersonal process which involves commitment, goals, shared values. It requires that team members act together, share the power and are open to possibilities of personal and/or professional transaction (Hamric et al2005).

Journaling- it is a chronically dated events and ideas. Journal also includes reflections and responses of writer (writers) of those ideas (Stevens and Cooper 2009). Journaling's main features: it is written, entries are dated, it is written in informal language and it is flexible- type of entries, purposes for keeping it etc; flexibility is the central attribute of journal.

Persistence- it is a continuous pressure, regardless difficulties. It is very important to keep with a work despite the complexity of it.

Reflective report on CPS

On the 1st year in university students had to deliver a group presentation for PPD [1] class. Students had to prepare business presentation alas promotional campaign, to inform and persuade the youth from borough of Greenwich to take a part as volunteers in London 2012. The bid was £1m contract, so students had to come up with a very good campaign plan. This was a great team exercise; although, lots of hard work had to be input.

This is a reflective report on creative problem solving while preparing this presentation.

It is identified that learning through the reflection is more powerful if there is an understanding of frameworks which helps to structure and guide the act of reflection. There are many different models to use as a frameworks for reflection- Kolb's learning cycle (Appendix 1), Gibb's cycle (Appendix 2) etc; there is no wrong or right model, the key is to choose one which feels the most comfortable and best assists in learning from own experiences. For this work student decided to use Jasper's (Jasper 2003) model (Appendix 3) which is further clarifying of Gibb's cycle into simple stages.

Stage one:

Description of the event

Students were preparing presentation over 2 month. On week commencing on 10th January 2011, students had a briefing on the Olympic Jobs Team Exercise as well as class debate. Briefing's purpose was to prepare students for team presentation and to ensure students understand the requirements and aims of the teams exercise. At this point groups were established and students could go over the briefing sheet for Olympic Jobs team exercise. Firstly, groups had to come up with a name for their team and allocate team members to different positions- Finance, Human Resources, Marketing and Operational managers. Although, it seems very simple, it was not. Everyone had different ideas and members spent most of the time debating and brainstorming. The group decided to use creativity tools such as:

Starting with known values- journaling (Appendix 4)

Getting other points of view- visual thinking

Non-linear thinking- brainstorming (Appendix 5), (Scholtes et al 2003).

As a result group came up with a name TFH which stands for Take your Future in your Hands and roles were allocated. Because there were only three members in this group, Operational manager's role were decided to split between all three of them. Group decided to have five meetings (Appendix 6) and scheduled them on Tuesdays as it was most convenient for everyone.

Stage two:


The problem (exercise) was given but student struggled to define it as without defining, problem cannot be solved. Student was feeling unconfident because rest of the group seemed to pick up on exercise. With a help from other group members student managed clearly to identify problem and could start generate potential solutions. After defining problem student felt quite confident and actively joined group meetings and came up with some very good ideas. Since student is well organised, she was the one who kept journals and it made her proud. In broad terms, people who feel confident about what they are doing, can give a higher performance.

Stage three:


Using earlier agreed creativity tools students learned to train their imagination and CPS [2] skills. These skills are transferable skills, which can be used also in personal and work life. Brainstorming helped members of group to work as a team and actually enjoy the time spent together. Also, using visual thinking tool, students realised that they actually enjoy drawing, using colour codes etc.

Stage four:


In general, preparing of the presentation went very well. Comparing with previous presentation [3] , which was more about team roles and less about creativity, this one was more relaxing, group members realised their potentials thanks to CPS. Students did not realised how their confidence had grown and that they actually enjoy presenting their ideas about solutions to the challenges (Frigard 2008).

Stage five:


Overall, preparing and delivering presentation could be described as a hard work and much of fun. Teamwork is never easy because of different people coming together and trying to find optimal solution to the problem. In this case CPS encouraged team members think differently, "out of the box". Rewarded mark is the best reflection on presentation and it was high- 85% (Appendix 7); of course, there were some minor mistakes during the process and actual presentation, but students learned a lot.

Stage six:

Action plan

Looking back at the process of creation, it went well and probably student would use the same CPS tools again if the similar project came up again. After this project, student completed Self-evaluation of Creativity test and scored quite high- 92points (Appendix 8).

Reflection on PPD presentation

This is a reflection on PPD presentation (Appendix 9), based on Jasper's (Jasper 2003) model of the Gibbs cycle.

Students received an assignment to deliver power point presentation about promotional campaign for Olympics 2012 volunteering jobs for youth. Groups were self selected and this group consisted of three people: Ieva, Tom and Denis.

The group had to research information on volunteering projects and jobs offered, and assess the best possible ways to select the right candidates for the jobs. They also had to prepare a marketing campaign and evaluate the resources to secure a positive action plan.

Ieva was working on the HR side of the project, she had to research job opportunities, prepare the recruitment plan and training and development programs. Tom was doing Marketing side of the project preparing promotional campaign. Denis was responsible for financial side of work, he prepared the financial plan. The whole group invested equally in operational side of campaign.

The students used PowerPoint to deliver the presentation. Ieva opened the presentation with a brief introduction about the company and then moved on to the recruitment plan. It was a great challenge for her as she has never felt confident talking in front of group of people. Tom delivered very convincing promotional campaign; he covered all the necessary steps for a professional and sophisticated marketing plan. Denis delivered a very well prepared financial plan for the project, which was an important part of the successful campaign when bidding for the £1m project.

Ieva felt quite confident about this project, the group had spent a lot of time on it and everyone was working hard. However, this was second group presentation in this year, so they knew, they would be marked stricter, the tutor will expect students to learn from the previous mistakes.

Overall this was a very good team exercise, which tested in depth the strength and weaknesses of each team member and gave them new starting points and space for improvements.

Based on the tutor's feedback , the presentation went rather well. Students emphasised their professional approach by wearing smart dress; presenting manner and the usage of PowerPoint was very good. As per tutor's feedback, there was just slight criticism on lack of handouts, which would have been useful.

All in all students were very satisfied as they achieved a mark of 85%. The work and time invested in this project had been paid back.

Looking back to the preparation process and the workload that was used, the group all believe that - next time they will approach the task with the same courage as this one and they would take into account all the mistakes that they made and criticism received from tutor and other students.

Understanding "millennials" and Generation Y

Generation Y is a label for people who were born between early 80s and early 90s, following generation X. Quite often members of Generation Y are referred to as "echo boomers", for being children of parents born during so called baby boom, or Next Generation, Millenials Internet Generation etc. One of the main characteristics of Generation Y members is the deep knowledge of modern communications and digital technologies, so in response to it employers have to update their hiring strategy to integrate contemporary forms and use of these technologies. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/Generation-Y.html.

After reading the Generation Y article (W. Stanton Smith, 28 October 2009) (Appendix 10), student summarised four main arguments:

Non- traditional family unit makes up the majority of households

Flexibility and modification of vocation is a requirement

Workers are reconsidering the role of the work in their lives

Three things which left the huge impact on the Generation Y life philosophy are technologies, approach towards business, consumer's attitude.

There is evidence showing that instead of 60% in the 50s, nowadays only 17% of households meet the definition of traditional, but it should be kept in mind that in today's terms it is an arguably narrow definition. That means that there is a need for more flexibility in nowadays work-life issues than it was before.

There is a stereotype about women and their role within a family. For hundreds of years their role was homemaker and mother (Cheal 2008), women prime responsibilities have been looking after house, children and taking care of husband's wellbeing. Another stereotype is that the biggest contribution of households' income is brought in by men (Rapoport et al 1978). Even today women are expected to continue to have a main duty for childcare and eldercare, but because of increasing numbers of female graduates, there is a need for customisation of vocation and general flexibility in work.

Along, with all the changes within the family, the traditional corporate model is changing as well. Not only are mothers concentrating on their work they are also concentrating on their families, fathers are keener to spend more time with their children; they want to take a part in their upbringing. As a consequence, the traditional corporate ladder is giving place to a corporate lattice model where the amount and rapidity of work can be diverged depending on the lifestyle.

Generation Y is a generation of technologies, therefore it is taking computers, emails, mobile phones and suchlike for granted (Savage and Collins-Mayo 2006), which totally changes how members of this generation view the world as well as brings an alterations within the labour market.

Research on Generation Y assumes that consumers of this generation are all alike, but this generation includes 15-32 year olds, so their behaviour as consumers will be different (Benckendorff et al 2010). However, this generation has been raised to be consumers who question value and demand high quality and thus, it is understandable that they carry these expectations with them everywhere, including careers.

Paul Redmond [4] has said that this combination of influences (technology, attitudes towards the business and a consumer mindset), had created very confident and commercial generation, members of which are success driven, fed up with routine and are ready to leave work if employer doesn't respond their values and concerns (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/career_and_jobs/recruiter_forum/article4275460.ece ).

Overall there is valuable information for recruiters whose intension is to attract the top new graduates and not exclusively. In general student agrees with the article as it is very realistically written and most of the facts are backed up with evidence.

Reflective report on PDC

As a part of PPD course, student had to take a challenge prior student's personal and professional development progress. Conferences present numerous possibilities for students. They find out about new developments in the field, can network with colleagues, and make essential contacts etc (Curtis 2002), so student decided to attend the conference when the opportunity came forward.

Stage one:

Description of the event

It was three days event, taking place on March 21st-24th in Great Connought Rooms (Appendix 11) venue, in London. Events name was International SAP Conference for Financial Services 2011. Because student works within conference industry, on the first day of conference she had to perform work duties, bet on second day (Appendix 12) she was given an opportunity to participate in the conference. Besides the professional interest in conference [5] , student was particularly interested in some of the key speakers and their presentations as it was relevant to her business studies. Because of the global credit crunch, a quite few presentation were contributed towards after-crunch period and remedies for European countries to use. Another particular interest in attending this conference for student was presentations. As this is the students weakest link, it was very good experience to watch professionals to give presentations and evaluate those. During the breaks student had an opportunity to meet business people from around the world, talk with them and hear their views on current and future situation in businesses.

Stage two:


Because of the magnitude of the event and big business figures attending, student was afraid that outcome from attending event will not be very good. However, after first two presentations student realised that topics of presentations were very interesting, presentations themselves were great and she gained confidence, because she knew that she will be able to join conversations about it. Because student did not have a time to prepare for the conference, she missed out the workshops which she did not feel good about. However, joining conversations during breaks, she felt confident and even involved herself in one of the debates. Looking back at the event, it was a great new experience which will help her with her personal and professional development.

Stage three:


Generally speaking, event was successful for its purpose. For student's learning purposes the most relevant part was morning session (Appendix 13). Even these presentations were more sloping towards the new SAP technologies innovations in banking systems, there was lot about economic growth and falls and how to deal with it. Especially Prof. Dr Hans-Gert Penzel's presentation was in interest because of transferable knowledge about financial crisis and economics growth slope [6] . In the middle of this presentation it was disturbed by fire alarm and everybody had to leave the building. There was not genuine fire but it still took time for fire brigade to come and check. Nevertheless the presentation was disturbed, Mr Penzel used it as an example, he adapted situation to the business setting and turned the disturbance into useful tool.

Stage four:


Event was split into four main parts: two morning sessions, from which first was devoted to general information about SAP technologies and how it may help to improve businesses and financial crisis; second morning session was about SAP systems transformation and innovation in banking, current SAP customers were sharing their experience about using SAP technologies. After second morning session was lunch, student had an opportunity to talk to attendees while enjoying lovely food. There was also time for exploring exhibition, which was mostly devoted to banking technologies, but it was a good for networking and looking for new prospects. After lunch other SAP clients continued to talk about advantages of SAP systems. Afternoon break was followed by very interesting presentation given by Mr Andy Hirst, Senior Director Industry Marketing for SAP. It was about business analytics, new developments and the best practice approaches. Then two more presentations from SAP clients and closing comments from the Chairman of the SAP.

Stage five:


Overall the outcome of the event was successful, student learnt a lot. The biggest contribution from this event towards student's learning development was loads of different presentations. One of the reasons why student does not feel confident doing presentations, is that English is not her first language and she is afraid to make mistakes, although she is always contributing a lot during the creative process. Because a half of the speakers at the conference were non-native English speakers, it was valuable experience to see them on the stage. Although, they are professionals and probably giving presentations on at least weekly basis, some of them still made minor mistakes, but that did not stop them to carry on. It was valuable lesson for student, carry on, despite the mistakes, be able to correct herself and after go on with presentation.

Stage six:

Action plan

As this was the last minute call, student did not have a time to prepare herself for the conference, so if the similar event encountered again, she would try to do some research before attending it, which would give her more confidence and would give an opportunity successfully participate in workshops, which she missed out this time due to the lack of knowledge and as a consequence- confidence.

Reflection on Class Debate

Debate is practically an argument, a constructive discussion which allows everyone to join in with their views and opinions. Debate is an important part of learning process, it helps to understand argumentative strategies and anticipate the responses from opposite teams (Lyon 2008).

Stage one:

Description of the event

Students had to put on agenda to have a class debate. Topic was about the reality TV effect on society. It seemed that everyone had their opinion, and this is when it all went wrong. The best word to describe it is chaos. Students were not debating; they were bickering about their opinions on the format of the debate. Rules of the debate were not followed and as a result debate turned into vulgar argument with some students being particularly arrogant and offensive.

Stage two:


Student felt confused at first, she did not expect grown up people to be so superior and overconfident which was on the edge with open rudeness.

Stage three:


This was group's first debate, but students were informed about rules of debate etc. However, it turned into heated dispute, students were cutting off each other and in general it was a one big disaster.

Stage four:


It all went so wrong that there is no way to break this event into component parts and analyse. Students did not follow rules and stages of debate, they were poorly prepared. There was no logical path and debate turned out to be completely useless.

Stage five:


It is really hard to find a good thing to say about this debate, as it went so wrong. However, people learn from their experience, and bad experience in learning process is as useful or sometimes even more useful as a good one.

Stage six:

Action plan

If there will be other debates in the class, student will prepare herself better beforehand and will propose to have short meeting before the debate, so students could agree on rules and try to control their egos.


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