8 Tips for Creative Problem-Solving at Work
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Think outside of the box
  2. Use brainstorming sessions
  3. Encourage open-mindedness
  4. Use visual thinking tools
  5. Create a supportive environment
  6. Apply the Six Thinking Hats technique
  7. Involve others in the process
  8. Experiment and learn from failures

If you're like most people, you've probably found yourself stuck on a problem at work that seems impossible to solve. Don't fret—you're not alone. In fact, problem-solving is a daily occurrence in the workplace. But what if I told you that the key to unlocking those tricky problems could be as simple as getting a bit creative? Welcome to the world of creative problem-solving in the workplace. This blog will share eight tips that can help you approach problems from a fresh perspective and come up with innovative solutions. So, buckle up and prepare to channel your inner creativity!

Think outside of the box

First up on our list of tips for creative problem-solving in the workplace is to think outside the box. Yes, you've probably heard this phrase a million times, but it's a classic for a reason. When we say "think outside of the box," we're really saying: Don't limit yourself to conventional solutions. Instead, give your imagination free rein and consider all possibilities—no matter how outlandish they might seem at first.

  • Break the Rules: Sometimes, the best solutions come when you disregard the rules or guidelines that typically govern your work. Now, we're not saying break any laws or anything. But maybe there's a work process you've always followed just because "that's the way it's always been done." Don't be afraid to challenge these norms.
  • Flip It On Its Head: Another way to think outside the box is to consider the opposite of what's usually done. If everyone in your industry follows a particular strategy, what would happen if you did the exact opposite? This can lead to some truly innovative solutions.
  • Get Inspired: Still feeling stuck? Try looking for inspiration outside of your field. Maybe there's a solution in the world of art, science, or culture that could be adapted to your problem. You never know where a great idea might come from!

Remember, creative problem-solving in the workplace isn't about finding the quickest or easiest solution—it's about finding the best solution. And sometimes, that means thinking a little differently than everyone else.

Use brainstorming sessions

Another valuable tool for creative problem-solving in the workplace is brainstorming. Now, you might be thinking, "brainstorming, really?" Trust me, when done right, brainstorming can be an extremely effective way to generate a bunch of ideas fast. Here's how to get the most out of your brainstorming sessions:

  • Set Clear Goals: Before you start brainstorming, make sure everyone knows what problem you're trying to solve. This will help keep the discussion on track and focused on generating relevant ideas.
  • All Ideas Welcome: Make it clear that all ideas are welcome, no matter how "out there" they might seem. The best brainstorming sessions are ones where people feel free to share without fear of judgment or criticism.
  • Quantity Over Quality: The goal of brainstorming isn't to come up with the perfect solution on the first try. Instead, aim to generate as many ideas as possible. You can always refine and improve them later.

Don't forget to record all the ideas generated during the session. You never know when an idea that didn't seem relevant at first might come in handy later. Remember, brainstorming isn't just about coming up with solutions. It's also about opening your mind to new ways of thinking, which is a key element of creative problem-solving in the workplace.

Encourage Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness is not just a fancy buzzword; it's the foundation of creative problem-solving in the workplace. Let's face it; it's easy to get stuck in our ways. We get used to doing things a certain way, and we resist change. But often, the best solutions come from unexpected places.

So, how can we encourage open-mindedness at work? Here are a few ideas:

  • Embrace Diversity: A diverse team brings diverse ideas. Different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can lead to unique solutions that you might not have considered otherwise.
  • Promote Learning: Encourage your team to learn new skills and explore new ideas. This can stimulate creative thinking and open up new possibilities for problem-solving.
  • Challenge Assumptions: Just because "we've always done it this way" doesn't mean it's the best way. Encourage your team to question the status quo and consider alternative approaches.

Remember, fostering open-mindedness doesn't happen overnight. It requires a consistent effort and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. But the payoff—a more creative and innovative workplace—is well worth it.

Use Visual Thinking Tools

Ever heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? Well, in the realm of creative problem-solving in the workplace, this couldn't be more true. Visual thinking tools can help turn vague ideas into concrete solutions.

But what exactly are visual thinking tools? And how can you use them to enhance creative problem-solving at work? Let's explore:

  • Flowcharts: These are perfect when you need to visualize a process or a series of steps. It can help you identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
  • Mind Maps: If you're dealing with a complex problem, a mind map can help. It allows you to break down the problem into smaller parts and see how they're connected.
  • Storyboarding: This tool is excellent for exploring scenarios or tracing the customer journey. It can help you spot potential issues and come up with solutions.

Using visual thinking tools doesn't require any special artistic talent. It's all about translating thoughts into visuals. You might be surprised at how a simple sketch can spark a brilliant solution.

Create a Supportive Environment

Creating a supportive environment is one of the most effective ways to encourage creative problem-solving in the workplace. It's like planting a seed in fertile soil—it needs the right conditions to sprout and grow.

But what does a supportive environment look like? Here are some suggestions:

  • Respect for all ideas: The best ideas often come from the most unexpected places. Respect for all ideas, no matter how outlandish they may seem, ensures that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
  • A culture of trust: Trust allows employees to take risks and make mistakes without fear of retribution. Remember, some of the best innovations have come from spectacular failures!
  • Freedom and flexibility: When people feel free to express their ideas and have the flexibility to explore different approaches, they're more likely to come up with creative solutions.

Creating a supportive environment isn't about providing fancy office spaces or high-tech gadgets—it's about cultivating a culture that values creativity, encourages risk-taking, and celebrates learning. And that's a fertile ground for creative problem-solving!

Apply the Six Thinking Hats Technique

Another powerful tool for fostering creative problem-solving in the workplace is the Six Thinking Hats technique. This approach, developed by psychologist Edward de Bono, is like having a Swiss Army knife for your brain—it offers different tools for tackling problems from various angles.

The Six Thinking Hats technique divides thinking into six distinct modes, each represented by a different colored hat:

  1. White Hat: This is all about facts and information. What do we know? What don’t we know?
  2. Red Hat: Here, we express feelings and emotions, without any need for justification.
  3. Black Hat: This hat is for critical judgment, pointing out potential problems and risks.
  4. Yellow Hat: The optimistic perspective. What are the benefits? What's the best-case scenario?
  5. Green Hat: This is the hat of creativity and new ideas. It's all about possibilities and alternatives.
  6. Blue Hat: The control hat. It manages the thinking process and ensures all other hats are used effectively.

By switching hats, you effectively switch your thinking mode. It's like having a team of specialists in your head, each bringing a different perspective to the problem. This diversity of thought can lead to more innovative solutions, improving creative problem-solving in the workplace.

Involve Others in the Process

When it comes to creative problem-solving in the workplace, two heads—or more—are often better than one. Involving others in the process can bring a diversity of perspectives, skills, and experiences that can enrich the solution to a problem.

Think about it. You're working on a tough problem. You've been staring at the same information for hours, and you're stuck. But then, you bring in a colleague. They see things from a different angle. They ask questions you hadn't thought of. Suddenly, with their fresh insight, the solution begins to take shape.

That's the power of collaboration. It sparks creativity, fosters a sense of ownership among team members, and can even make the problem-solving process more enjoyable. Because let's face it—who doesn't love that moment when you finally crack a tough problem together?

So, the next time you're facing a tricky issue, don't go it alone. Bring others into the process. You might be surprised at the creative solutions you come up with together.

Experiment and Learn from Failures

It's no secret that failure can be a tough pill to swallow. But when it comes to creative problem-solving in the workplace, failure isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a valuable learning tool.

Think of it this way: each failed attempt is like a stepping stone on the path to the right solution. Each misstep provides valuable feedback, showing us what doesn't work and guiding us closer to what does. So, instead of viewing failure as an end point, see it as part of the process—a learning opportunity.

So, how do you turn failure into a learning tool? Start by creating an atmosphere where taking calculated risks is encouraged. Let your team know that it's okay to make mistakes—that you value the process of experimentation and discovery over instant perfection.

Next, when a failure occurs, don't just dismiss it. Take the time to analyze what went wrong. What can you learn from the experience? How can you use that knowledge to improve your future attempts?

Remember, every failure is a chance to grow. So, don't be afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. That's how you foster creative problem-solving in the workplace.

If you're eager to improve your creative problem-solving skills at work, don't miss the workshop 'Lose Your Creative Block & Find New Ideas' by Andrea Orejarena. This workshop will offer you valuable techniques and approaches to overcome creative blocks and generate innovative ideas, helping you excel in your professional life.