Creative Problem Solving Predicted by Personality Trait
What is creative problem solving?
In short, creative problem solving is a form of innovation. It can be described as the application of an unconventional train of thought to come up with a creative way to solve a given problem. This is key when basic, conventional thinking is unable to solve the said problem.
When we think of innovation, our minds generally think of more complex cases — things like solar power, self driving cars, or using robotic submarines for deep sea exploration. But innovation can also be something simple, like mixing blue and yellow paint to make green.
All in all, creative problem solving is a valuable way of thinking.
It’s especially valuable in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what the job entails — whether we want to be a scientist, a brand strategist, or a sales person — all require the ability to solve problems. And when conventional thinking fails, creative thought is needed to innovate, and to come up with a newfound solution.
But how do we know who’s good at it?
The best creative problem-solvers are those who are most curious.
A recent study out of Oregon State University found that curiosity can predict one’s level of creativity. And further, those with a strong diversive curiosity trait — or those with an interest in exploring unfamiliar topics — are more likely to come up with a creative solution to a given problem.
The researchers point out that this finding is quite useful for employers who seek to fill a complex job. A simple personality test can be used to examine the curiosity of the prospective job candidates. And in turn, this can help predict which ones are the best creative problem-solvers.
What does this tell us?
We already knew this — science just proved something that’s quite practical when we stop and think about it. Curiosity allows us to question things. It enables us to question whether a particular problem has a new solution — a better solution.
Creative problem solving is a process, and it starts with curiosity.