"The use of the Osborne-Parnes creativity model helped me come up with creative solutions … in a systematic way."

Project Portfolio:
  Be More Creative Project

Challenge

The challenge of this project was to develop solutions to problems using a process called the Osborn-Parnes model.  The Osborn-Parnes model is a creative problem solving process.  The process provides a structured process for identifying challenges, generating ideas and implementing innovative solutions.  The process strengthens creative techniques and can be generalized to deal with most problems or issues that need to be solved.


The project involved developing solutions to two issues.  One problem was how to best deal with an increase in crime in the neighborhood, from the point of view of the town administration and another problem was how to improve a personal issue of work burnout.


This project was done for a creativity class, developed by the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, and is offered in Coursera, an online education site. The class was offered in Spanish.

Solution

The solution to the problems was developed following the six steps of the Osborne-Parnes model.


Some of the solutions/features developed to implement the Python version of the Asteroids game included:

  • 1) Objective Finding.  Identifying the goal, challenge and future direction.

  • 2) Fact Finding.  Collect data about the problem and observe the problem as objectively as possible.

  • 3) Problem Solving.  Examine the different aspects of the problem to isolate the major parts of the problem and to state the problem in an open-ended way.

  • 4) Idea Finding.  Generate as many ideas as possible regarding the problem using techniques like brainstorming, rain of ideas, out of the box thinking, illogical combinations and create connections between ideas, objects and actions that appear not to be related.

  • 5) Solution Finding.  Choose the solution that is the most appropriate by developing and selecting criteria to evaluate a set of alternative solutions.  We want the solutions to fit the two criteria of utility and viability.  We then filter the ideas with relevant parameters to narrow down the idea list to the ones that are most promising.

  • 6) Acceptance Finding. Create a plan of action.

Results

The results of the project fashioned solutions that where creative an effective.  The use of the Osborne-Parnes creativity model helped me come up with creative solutions to two problems in a systematic way.


As mentioned before, one problem was how to best deal with an increase in crime in the neighborhood, from the point of view of the town administration and another problem was how to improve a personal issue of work burnout.


Some interesting learning points of the project were the use of the technique “rain of idea” and of the technique of using a table with weighted categories to compare and judge solutions with relevant categories.


There are many techniques to help create alternatives.  One technique is to do a rain of ideas.  Basically, a rain of ideas is what the name implies.  It is the creation of a large list of alternatives without being too judgmental or critical of the ideas that are added to the list.  The key here is to create a large list so you are open to exploring many different possibilities.


Once you are close to narrowing down the list of ideas to the ones that are most attractive, practical and feasible, using a table with weighted categories to compare and judge the ideas is very useful.  For example, the ideas may be judge by the categories of cost, ease of creation and client excitement.  Each category is then given a weight.  For example cost may be 50% of the total weight.


A scale of 1 to 10 is used to rate the ideas in the category in combination with the weight percentage.  Weighted totals are then determined.  See an example of a table below.


Category Weight of Category Idea 1 Idea 2 Idea 3
Cost
 
50% 10 (*50%) =  5 7    (*50%) =  3.5 2   (*50%) =  1
Ease of implementation
 
30% 5   (*30%) =  1.5 10 (*30%) =  3 10 (*30%) =  3
Client excitement 20% 10 (*20%) =  2 2   (*20%) =  0.4 10 (*20%) =  2
Total 100% Top choice   8.5 6.9  6


This aspect of the Osbon-parnes model allows you to take a more objective and systematic approach to coming up with the best ideas to solve your problems.


The systematic framework that the Osborne-parnes creativity model offers is a great way to come up with creative and effective solutions to your problems.  Using the model in this project made me a believer in its effectiveness.