Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving
Course 284 | 3 Days
Evaluations in the Last 12 Months
You Will Learn How To:
- Make better decisions through critical thinking and creative problem solving
- Develop your personal creativity
- Select the best decision given the specific situation
- Apply processes to assess work issues and problems
- Transform your creativity into practical business solutions
Workshop Activities Include:
- Profiling your personal thinking style and the styles of others
- Stimulating creativity through reflection exercises
- Analyzing left- and right-brain characteristics
- Assessing a situation to determine if it is a problem or a decision
- Applying logical methodologies to solve everyday problems
About This Course: Successful organizations recognize that critical thinking and creative solutions significantly enhance one's leadership capabilities, business results and business potential. In this course, you will develop your skills as a critical thinker and problem solver and recognize and leverage your thinking preferences, as well as those on your team, to find different solutions to everyday problems.
FREE AFTER-COURSE INSTRUCTOR COACHING — Learn more »
Course 284 Content
Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving Essentials
- Recognizing business reasons for creative problem solving in the workplace
- Defining creativity vs. innovation
- Exploring the thinking process
- Pinpointing problems and their outcomes
- Applying outcome-based thinking
Leveraging Personal Thinking Styles
Analyzing personal preferences
- Dominance drives behavior
- Identifying your own natural brain dominance
- Triune Brain Theory
Assessing your preferred approach to thinking
- Enhancing whole-brain thinking
- Leveraging left- and right-brain dominance
- Recognizing strengths and opportunities
Identifying thinking preferences
- Recognizing others' preferred thinking styles
- Adapting to others' thinking styles
- Flexing to opposing styles
Unleashing Your Creativity
The creative environment
- Exploring your own creativity
- Utilizing tools and techniques to become more creative
- Identifying elements that stimulate creativity
- Eliminating barriers to innovation
Group creative thinking
- Brainstorming options
- Challenging assumptions
- Five Monkeys Syndrome
- Avoiding groupthink
The iterative mind
- Unscrambling the iterative mind
- Moving between the left and right brain
- Valuing non-dominant preferences
- Stretching outside your personal style
- Deploying divergent and convergent thinking
Solving Problems Using Analysis and Prioritization Tools
Applying analysis models
- Dissecting the situation
- Decision analysis
- Setting priorities for taking action
- Evaluating problems (people, process and technology)
Systematic approaches to problem solving
- Methods of analysis
- Collecting data and information
- Defining boundaries and constraints
- Deconstructing problems using stair-step techniques
- Choosing among alternatives
- Establishing objectives
- Assigning weight to objectives in order to make the best decision
- Creating a satisfaction scale to choose between alternatives
Translating Creativity and Analysis into Practical Application
- Determining the deviation and gap
- Testing probable causes
Avoiding analysis paralysis
- Overcoming the "It won't work here" mentality
- Analyzing for outcomes, not solutions
Deploying your decision
- Clearly expressing analysis results
- Ensuring organizational benefit
- Guaranteeing maximum buy-in
Putting It All Together
Integrating your solution into the business
- Constructing a blueprint for your action plan
- Reinforcing your newly developed creative thinking skills
Your personal development toolkit
- Educating others with creative tools
- Practicing creative and critical thinking skills continuously
Who Should AttendIndividuals at any level of an organization who want to apply creativity and critical-thinking skills to their decision-making process.
- Management Skills - Course 290
- Communication Skills: Results through Collaboration - Course 292
- Influence Skills: Getting Results without Direct Authority - Course 294
- Time Management Essentials - Course 344
- Business Analysis Introduction: Defining Successful Projects - Course 211
- Building an Effective Business Case - Course 212
Standard Course Hours:
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Free Course Exam – Last Day:
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Each Course Day:
Informal discussion with instructor about your projects or areas of special interest:
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
More Course Info
What is this course about?
This course teaches you the skills you need to make better decisions, spur creativity and implement that innovation in a practical way in the workplace. By applying a proven theoretical model of the human brain, you discover your personal thinking style and analyze the styles of others. Using this knowledge and flexing to another's preferred style, you can maximize team involvement, generate a greater number of possible solutions and conclude with better business decisions.
Who will benefit from this course?
The course benefits anyone needing to make decisions and develop creative solutions to daily business problems.
What kind of background do I need?
No special background is required for this course.
What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the process of dissecting any complex problem or decision into a series of smaller, more manageable components, which helps to make the solution more evident and the problem easier to solve.
What is creative problem solving?
Creative problem solving skills allow you to think "outside the box" of available information and data to formulate an innovative solution. In today's competitive environment, these "out of the box" solutions ensure individuals and organizations remain future-focused in a changing marketplace.
What is the relationship between critical thinking and creative problem solving?
Critical thinking and creative problem solving are two separate modes of thinking. Each uses a separate part of the brain, one for analysis of existing facts, figures and other data, while the other focuses on intuitive, holistic and feeling-based solutions. These correspond to the left and right side of the human brain. Both types of thinking must be used to arrive at the best solutions to problems and in making the best decisions.
What is unique about this course?
This course approaches the challenging issue of balancing critical analysis and creativity. In this course, you discover your own preferred thinking styles and those of others in the workplace. Once this is understood, you are more equipped to balance these thinking styles personally and professionally to your advantage.
What new skills will I have after I take this course?
After completing this course, you will be able to use processes to analyze problems and make better and more supportable decisions. You will have the skills to adapt to various thinking styles in group and team environments and be able to recognize and remove barriers to individual and group creativity to foster an innovative environment. In addition, you will have gained tools to present your ideas clearly and concisely to increase stakeholder buy-in.
You will be able to use new approaches to stimulate your own creativity and as well as the creativity of those around you in the workplace.
Will I be more creative after I take this course?
Yes! This course provides tools, techniques and approaches on how to stimulate personal creativity along with practical guidance on how to implement these new skills in your workplace.
Does the course use a specific model such as Myers-Briggs or DISC?
No. Instead of a focus on one specific model, this course covers how to maximize the capabilities when thinking creatively or applying critical thinking based on preferred thinking styles.
Is this course applicable toward a Project Management Institute (PMI) certification?
Yes. Though this course is not designed as preparation for an exam, it is beneficial to anyone working toward, or maintaining, a PMI certification. Most PMI certifications require a specific number of PDUs in order to obtain and maintain the credential. Completion of this course provides 17 professional development units (PDUs).
Learning Tree offers several courses that help you prepare for PMI certifications, including Course 276, Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Prep, which prepares you for PMI's most popular certification. For more details on these courses and PMI certifications, please see the Learning Tree PMI Registered Education Provider Q&A.
How much time is spent on each topic?
Content Hours Introduction 1.5 Leveraging personal thinking styles 3.0 Unleashing your creativity 3.5 Solving problems using analysis and prioritization 4.0 Translating creativity and analysis into practical application 2.0 Putting it all together 3.0
Times, including the workshops, are estimates; exact times may vary according to the needs of each class.
I'm attending this course from work using AnyWare - Learning Tree's web-based remote attendance platform. How will that impact what I learn?
You will participate fully in the course and acquire the same knowledge and skills as your classmates who participate in the classroom. You will have the same course materials, be able to easily communicate back and forth and ask questions of your instructors and peers. Your instructor will be able to see exactly what you're doing and can interactively offer concrete help.
What kinds of workshops are included in this course?
Approximately 65 percent of the course is spent on workshops. These workshops allow you to gauge your own personal thinking preference and the preferences of people around you in order to develop a personal decision-making toolkit. You practice adapting to colleagues' preferred styles in order to more effectively communicate your message and build teamwork. You learn to use decision analysis models to identify optimum solutions to problems. You also gain experience in analyzing left- and right-brain characteristics and identifying roadblocks to success.
How does this course relate to other Learning Tree courses?
Learning Tree offers a number of courses in management, communication and planning.
- 292, Communication Skills: Results through Collaboration focuses on individual communication styles. This course (284) looks at identifying personal thinking styles. These two courses together help you develop your own personal awareness and your personal effectiveness in dealing with others.
- 290, Management Skills provides the skills you need to capture the diversity of individual personality types in order to develop synergy in a team environment.
- 346, Project Leadership: Building High-Performance Teams addresses how to lead and motivate people in a project environment. This involves understanding the specific needs and expectations of a team of individuals with diverse thinking styles.
- 294, Influence Skills: Getting Results without Direct Authority examines how rapport is established between individuals through matching preferred patterns of communication, which are directly linked to thinking styles.
- 219, Business and Report Writing Introduction offers the skills to create more effective business documents and reports.
Many Learning Tree courses provide college credit and industry continuing education credits. You can also earn a Learning Tree Professional Certification in your area of expertise and prepare for popular industry certifications. See below for continuing professional development credits associated with this course.
This course qualifies for 1 semester hour of college credit as certified by the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT). Read More... This course qualifies for 17 CPE credits from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy CPE program. Read More... This course is approved by PMI® for 17 professional development units (PDUs). For more on the Project Management Institute and a full list of courses approved for PDUs. Read More...
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"This was a great course on critical thinking and problem solving. I really enjoyed the curriculum - and felt that it directly related to my work. It gave me new tools and a different perspective."
– M. Murray
IT Business Analyst
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