Join Stefan Mumaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Selecting the right problem, part of The Five-Step Creative Process.
- Once you've gone through the divergent exercise of generating possibilities, you must now determine which of those possibilities can work as solutions. This can be a daunting task if you have a lot of possibilities. The key to this step is specificity. You have to be very specific about what constitutes a solution. So the first thing you need to do is identify your selection criteria. To determine your selection criteria, fill in the blanks on these statements. The solution will work if it "blank." Will it "blank?" Does it "blank?" By filling in the missing parts of these statements, you will develop your list of selection criteria.
Next, spend a little time strengthening or improving the ideas you've identified as your best possibilities. That may mean combining some of the ideas into single ideas, or removing parts of the ideas that keep them from being actionable. Remember, an idea's useless if it solves a problem but can't be made. Every possible solution needs to be actionable, or it's not viable. Now, apply your selection criteria to your ideas. Be ruthless during this stage of the process. Be truthful.
If an idea doesn't measure up, either move it to the side if you think it can be adjusted to work, or kill it altogether. Even if you love the premise of the idea. This convergent stage has little room for sentimentality. You want solutions at this stage, so be merciless. It can be painful, but it's necessary to reach your objective.