Creative Problem Solving Predicted by Personality Trait

by | Jul 18, 2017

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.

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