My Theory of Creative Problem Solving

You will never create anything without a conviction that it’s worth creating.  

If you try to create something by making an effort that doesn’t fit your M.O., you won’t get very far with it.

It takes a Commitment of your conative abilities for you to solve a problem in a sustainable way.

Creative Process

Creative Problem Solving takes more than just Doing something you want to do, you also have to evaluate whether what you’re doing makes any sense.

Judging whether another person is fully engaged in Creative Problem Solving is easier than judging levels of beauty. You can evaluate the process without judging the outcome.

Q: Why bother evaluating the process if the outcome stinks?
A: Because those who engage in the process are more likely to get consistently creative results.

 Q: Couldn’t someone who is not using a Creative Problem Solving process create something by dumb luck?
A: Luck happens when you create the opportunity.

Q: Is that all there is to your Theory of Creative Problem Solving?
A: No, but I’ll wait for you to ask more questions here so I can tell you the things about it that you are motivated to discuss.

Creative Process ladder


Filed under Self-Help

5 responses to “My Theory of Creative Problem Solving

  1. Interesting Kathy. As I think about the Creative Problem Solving Process as you have it depicted, and I look at my own experience in starting small businesses and numerous projects (I’m 6-3-9-1) – I’m thinking (for me personally) that Instincts drives Motivation.

    When I feel something Instinctively is good/right, I’m Motivated to pursue it. So, for me, Instinct would be the starting point at the left of your picture that leads to Motivation.

    There is little Motivation if my Instincts are not sending the “success” signal. Motivation and Will are intertwined because the more I’m Motivated, the stronger my Will to move forward. And vice-verse, the stronger my Will, the stronger my Motivation – all driven by my Instinct.

    The more organic my Instinct meshes with Motivation and Will, the easier I move into the Cognitive areas. In other words, as long as I’m not “talking myself into” creating/solving a project, the better the whole process flows.

    For example, many people are Motivated to increase their income. They hear about some great new way to make income easily. Their Motivation is strong (they want to increase their income) but the method may not ring true for them instinctively.

    When a person with an Instinct that signals “this is not right” overrides that instinct with their Motivation, the project will not likely succeed. Motivation fighting this type of Instinct dies quickly.

    So if you find that you’re constantly “convincing yourself” of the project and it’s outcome, and you’re denying you’re Instinct that says “this is not right” – you will lose Motivation and Will. Any Purposeful Action in that situation will be difficult, frustrating, and prone to failure.

    When Instinct, Motivation and Will are all aligned, it actually is effortless. We won’t realize the process is flowing because it feels natural. This doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles, but those obstacles will be overcome without much loss to Will and Motivation.

    Ask a person to bring up a simple process in their life where all is in alignment and I bet most would over-think it and say, “I don’t have an example”. Yet an outsider/friend/associate would be able to pick several examples for the person. Our unique Conative makeup – when driven by positive Instinct – is hardly recognized by ourselves, but is an amazing characteristic to others.

    Here is a conversation with my wife that we have all the time.
    Me: One of your gifts is interior design.
    Wife: No, I’ve always been able to do this. If it’s easy for me, than it has to be easy for everybody.
    Me: But it’s not. Why do you think there is a whole industry built on it?
    Wife: I don’t understand why it does exist as a career. It’s so easy to do. Nobody would pay me to do it since it’s so easy – they can just do it themselves.

    So Kathy is there a reason (that I’m not seeing) that you have Motivation before Instinct in your process?

  2. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I certainly agree that Instinct, Motivation and and Will have to be aligned for a person to be in the the glide pattern of seemingly effortless efforts.

    The answer to your question about why you may not see Motivation initiating the process is that you (with great wisdom) fully comprehend instinctive drive as being the energy or drive behind creativity. What you seem to be missing is that instincts only kick in when a person strives toward an action-oriented result, or needs to solve a problem. Motivation provides that impetus toward effort. Without it, a person’s mind sits on the side lines of creativity,

    You are also correct that a person can be motivated to create a solution, but have the wrong conative instincts do make it happen. That’s one of the many reasons for false starts in the creative process. You can also lack the Will to persevere, and/or can decide at the cognitive end of the process that it was is a stupid idea – and bail your way out of it.

    You may be interested in the comprehensive Webinar discussion of the Kolbe Creative Process I conducted recently. It ties creativity to my Dyndmynd ™ Levels of Effort, which may further answer your questions. The full session is now available at

  3. Kathy,
    Thanks for your answer. I see now – Instinct is always there, even if dormant. A Motivating event needs to occur for Instinct to kick in and an action is then taken. I’ll take a look at the Webinar, it sounds very interesting.

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