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In this journey into creativity, we've seen the roll of purpose. We have to have a problem to solve. And restriction. We need to define obstacles to overcome. But there's something else that's needed for us to solve a problem creatively. And that's action. Solve is a verb, it requires us to act. If we're looking to train ourselves to solve problems more creatively, we need to develop the habit of creative problem solving in our daily lives. Habits are formed by repetition and creative problem solving is no different.
Bad creative habits are formed by continual apathy, by ignoring healthy process, and letting things happen to us. Good creative habits are formed through conscious effort by devising a plan, and then executing on it. Making creativity a habit, means actively seeking out and solving problems with relevance and novelty. When looking for problems to solve in order to train creative improvement, it's important to understand two key points. First, they don't have to be big problems.
As a matter of fact, smaller problems make better training tools, because you can generate multiple solutions in small amounts of time. Second, it's important to remember that for the purposes of creative training, the problems you solve don't have to be in the medium in which you work. Your brain doesn't know the difference between solving a design problem, or a word problem, or a photography problem. It only knows that you presented an obstacle and are overcoming it. The executional quality of the idea is a different discipline.
It actually helps to solve problems outside of your core competency mediums, because you're less likely to get hung up on the quality of the execution, and you'll focus more on the quality of the idea. When looking for problems, choose those that allow you to produce several solutions. They instil this quality of being able to create multiple ideas, document those ideas, and move onto what's next. Choose problems that'll pull out the need for novelty, presenting opportunities to think beyond the low-hanging fruit.
As you improve, challenge yourself with harder problems. Add more restrictions, or look for problems farther outside of your core competencies that will require more research and additional learning. All of these steps will instill the habit of creative problem solving in your life. And will insure you're exercising and flexing your creative muscles. If you need a jump in this area, I've provided a list of problems in the form of exercises in your Exercise Files for you to solve to get the ball rolling.
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