I’ve been immersed in creativity, problem solving and critical thinking for a long time. Many of my roles have been in organisations, particularly non-profits, that have seen the value of employing or even bringing in, temporarily, a ‘different thinker’ into the team. Sometimes it’s to shake things up, other times to get from an idea to implementation, or to facilitate a process to get clarity.
These roles have meant putting on different hats as Edward De Bono would say (and vale to a great man).
The more I thought about the different roles the more I saw that these often aligned with a stage in the problem solving process.
This became so much clearer when I came across a group that originated from research, and particularly the work of Dr Gerard Puccio , from the US International School of Creativity. He with fellow researchers developed an amazing set of tools, methods and self-awareness of our own thinking style that could assist no matter where we were in the problem solving cycle.
I became so interested in their work that I followed them to their company, FourSight, self-described as ‘an innovation company, dedicated to the science of good thinking’.
This piqued my interest further, the intersection of science and creativity is right in the middle of my sweet spot.
I become immersed in their research-based creativity and innovation tools, assessments and training designs that have been proven to help individuals, teams and organizations solve complex problems more effectively.
Now I’m proudly a certified FourSight trainer, that means they trust me to offer their tools and best practice teachings to help individuals and organisations better understand their thinking styles and how they impact group energy, enjoyment and productivity.
This high impact approach is centered around the FourSight Thinking Profile assessment.
The assessment foundation is based on 65 years of research into creative problem solving.
It measures where your energy lights up, where you get excited or where you're more comfortable in the problem solving process and where it wanes. Once you understand your own problem solving style, you can anticipate where you’re likely to get stuck and how you can be more effective, working alone or with a group.
Post 2020 Lockdown
I’ve been using these tool with groups who are attempting to recalibrate after the 2020 lockdowns, which forced many of us to collaborate remotely. Some teams are still feeling the impact of this and are seeking ways to not only learn from this past year, but bring about changes to get their best from their staff and use these insights to foster collaboration, reduce conflict, and lead to better, more innovative solutions.
The good news is that it is possible! The FourSight Thinking Profile assessment helps make sense of where you’re best placed to assist in creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, not because you’re particularly good at it, but because you have a preference for it.
This is positive news because not only can you discover what you were born to do, you can then learn methods and tools to assist in the problem solving cycle that you may not have focused on, or were even aware of.
The FourSight Thinking Profile measures how people like to solve complex problems that require creative thinking. Every time you take on a complex problem that requires a new solution there are 4 states you need to pass through.
FourSight is based on the research that shows there are four types of thinking when we problem solve:
Clarify where we clarify the situation and define the problem and ask... what do we need to do?
Ideate where we generate ideas and ask ... what might be the ways we could do this?
Develop where we develop, solutions to the problem and ask .... Does the solution work ?
Implement where we action a process ... Let's get on and do it!
The FourSight Thinking Profile is a research-based measure of cognitive style that helps individuals and teams understand their approach to creative thinking and problem solving. With 36 questions, FourSight can identify an individual’s preferences for the four stages of the universal creative process : clarify, ideate, develop and implement.
Knowing this preference can help you be more:
- Strategic about how you problem solve
- Conscious about how you collaborate
- Deliberate about how you approach creativity and innovation
The exciting thing about gaining this awareness is that you as become aware of your unconscious approach to the creative process, you can consciously improve it.
With this awareness, you can choose to override your natural biases for and against certain thinking modes. Instead of letting your unconscious preferences dictate how you solve problems, particularly if you’re in a role where you have to stretch, you can improve your performance by consciously focusing on each of the four phases of the process and manage your behavior with respect to the task.