Putting the “Creative” in Creative Problem Solving

At last I can blog about one more NERCOMP session, “The Cycle of Discontent: A Case Study in Merger Dynamics” with Julie Barrett and Maribeth Macaisa (Massachusetts College of Art and Design).  The presenters spoke of the leadership lessons learned during a restructuring.

For example,  they described some common, but effective, problem-solving strategies: hill climbing (Do something–anything!), means/ends analysis, analogy, mental models, and working backward.  Though each works best with certain types of problems (Hill climbing implies that doing anything is better than doing nothing, for instance.), these strategies would form part of an overall leadership tool kit.

Barrett and Macaisa also brought up important differences between debate and dialogue.  Debate usually involves only two or three valid options, while dialogue calls for a less-defined amount of  input.  Often the two get confused, but each is really best for particular situations.

Most importantly Barrett and Macaisa brought up the importance of food and fellowship.   They mentioned a meeting where a pie chart was to be presented.  Instead of a pie chart the presenter came in with actual pie decorated to convey the same information that a paper chart would have conveyed.

Who says that meetings can’t be interesting?  Julie Barrett and Maribeth Macaisa have shown the opposite.