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HCI Webinar: Deliberate Creativity and Creative Problem-Solving, with Roger L. Firestien, PhD

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Roger L. Firestien about deliberate creativity and creative problem-solving. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!


Watch the episode here:


Quick Recap


Dr. Roger Firestien and Jonathan discussed the importance of deliberate creativity, creative problem-solving, and the role of leadership in fostering a psychologically safe environment for employees to share their ideas. They also emphasized the value of curiosity, asking questions, and challenging assumptions in promoting deeper thinking and potentially revealing inefficient processes. Lastly, they discussed the methodology of brainstorming and problem-solving, and agreed to connect and collaborate further in the following week.


Solve the Real Problem" Book Collaboration


Dr. Ken Snyder, a neurosurgeon and engineer at the Jacob School of Medicine in Buffalo, approached Dr. with a request to help medical students improve their problem-solving skills. This collaboration led to a book, "Solve the Real Problem," which features interviews with individuals from various fields about their experiences with misdiagnosed problems. The book's creation was a labor of love, with Dr. working with an editor and art director to make it a visually appealing work of art. Jonathan acknowledged the effort required to write a great book and praised Dr.'s passion and expertise in this project. Both agreed that the book's powerful content could be widely shared and disseminated.


Leadership, Creativity, and Human Nature


Jonathan and Dr. discussed the nature of leadership and creativity. Jonathan emphasized the importance of collaboration and leadership in tackling complex challenges and problems. Dr. argued that creativity is a fundamental aspect of human nature, and that everyone has the capacity to be creative in different ways. Both agreed that creativity is not limited to artistic or traditional creative fields, and that it manifests in many aspects of daily life. They encouraged a broader understanding of creativity and its application in various contexts.


Fostering Creativity in the Workplace


Jonathan and Dr. discussed the importance of fostering creativity in the workplace. Jonathan emphasized the need for leaders to create a psychologically safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and being vulnerable. Dr. concurred, highlighting that organizations built on trust, openness, and a friendly attitude, with skills and opportunities for employees to apply their creativity, tend to be the most creative. Both agreed that creativity is a childlike quality, and that encouraging employees to approach their work with a curious, questioning mindset is essential for problem-solving and innovation.


Fostering Curiosity and Encouraging Questions


Jonathan emphasized the importance of fostering creativity and curiosity in the workplace, particularly encouraging employees to ask questions without fear of judgment or insecurity from leaders. He argued that this open question culture would promote deeper thinking and potentially reveal inefficient processes. Dr. agreed, citing a book by Dr. Stewart Firestien highlighting that questions are more relevant than answers and can lead to significant discoveries and changes in thinking. Both underscored the value of asking creative questions to spark inquiry and innovation.


Creative Problem Solving Process Explained


Dr. Dr. explains the process of creative problem solving, which is based on 70 years of research and practice and originated from the work of Alex Osborne, who invented the brainstorming technique. The process involves generating lots of ideas by generating creative questions and then selecting the best ones to work on. The goal is to identify a goal and identify the best ideas for solving the problem. After generating ideas, they refine them and develop an action plan.


Brainstorming and Problem-Solving Strategies


Jonathan and Dr. Firestien discussed the methodology of brainstorming and problem-solving, emphasizing the importance of challenging assumptions, getting an outside perspective, seeing the big picture, and looking for all the details. Dr. Firestien explained that his book, "Solve the Real Problem," delves into these strategies in more depth and offered resources for further learning. They also touched on the importance of creating an environment for creativity in organizations and the process of generating ideas.


Listen to the webinar here:


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