Innovation Research Creative Problem Solving 1982 – 1992

Over the years, we have published a number of papers.  In the early years, much of our focus was on the ability to teach creativity or creative problem solving.  We developed a number of new thoughts on the ability to understand attitudes on divergent thinking.

Training in creative problem solving: Effects on ideation and problem finding in an applied research organization

Published: 1982  Authors: Min Basadur, George G Graen, and Stephen G Green.

The effects of training in a multistage “complete process of creative problem solving” on attitudes and behaviors of individuals were assessed both immediately after training and return to work. A controlled field “true” experiment was conducted within an engineering department doing applied research in a large industrial organization. Multiple methods and measures were employed on trained (n = 16), placebo (n = 16), and non-placebo (n = 13) groups. The process trained addressed three critical stages: problem finding, problem solving, and solution implementation, each containing a fundamental diverging-converging two-step process called “ideation-evaluation.” The main findings strongly suggest the training resulted in significant, systematically measurable effects both immediately after training and 2 weeks later at work. The trained participants were significantly higher in preference for ideation in problem solving, practice of ideation in both problem finding and problem solving, and performance in problem finding. The data give rise to speculation that there may exist differing “optimum ideation-evaluation ratios” for each of the problem finding, problem solving, and solution implementation stages. These ratios may also differ by field of endeavor.

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Measuring preference for ideation in creative problem solving training

Published 1985 Authors:Min Basadur, Carl B Finkbeiner

Creativity, problem solving, and innovation are of increasing concern to organizations in these times of accelerating change. This article seeks to deepen readers’ understanding of the specific attitudes and thinking processes associated with creative behavior in organizations. The authors report on two empirical studies that developed a reliable, valid measure of “preference for ideation,” an important attitude identified in previous creative problem-solving training research. They also identify three additional, distinct ideation-related attitudes: the tendency to make premature critical evaluations of ideas, the valuing of new ideas, and the belief that creative thinking is bizarre. The article presents a speculative model that differentiates “ideation” and “deferral of judgment” attitudinally and cognitively, categorizing Osborn’s brainstorming rules accordingly.

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Usefulness of the ideation principle of extended effort in real world professional and managerial problem solving.

Published: 1986   Authors: Min Basadur, Ron Thompson

In this study, the usefulness of the ideation principle of extended effort is field-tested on meaningful managerial and technical problems. Most previous testing has been in the laboratory on non-real world problems. Specifically tested and supported is the hypothesis that the best (most preferred) Idea Is more likely to occur after rather than during, the chronological earliest ideas (first third) so generated. Also tested, but not supported, is a more stringent hypothesis, that the best (most preferred) idea is more likely to occur among the chronologically latest (last third) so generated.

Also in this study, a system of five hypotheses is put together from the literature including the two hypotheses above. The purpose is to explain several different Interpretations of benefits theoretically expected from the extended effort technique.

The empirical support for each of the hypotheses is reviewed. The two tested in this research are those which have not previously been empirically tested either in the laboratory or the field. This work is important In view of the rapidly growing Interest In training to increase organizational creativity (Grossman, 1982: Abend, 1979). The literature on such training is fragmentary and incomplete (Basadur, Graen & Green, 1982).

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Training effects on attitudes toward divergent thinking among manufacturing engineers.

Published:  1986   Authors: Min Basadur, George B Graen, Terri A Scandura

In a field experiment, we tested the effects of training on attitudes of 112 manufacturing engineers toward divergent thinking in problem solving. The second group (n= 47) served as the control for the first group (n=65) in the first part of the experiment, and vice versa in the second part. Measurements of attitudes toward divergent thinking were taken at three points in time (baseline, following the training of the ~t group, and following the training of the second group). Results showed that the training positively affected engineers’ attitudes toward divergent thinking in problem solving. Specifically, the training with intact work groups demonstrated consistent results, whereas training with those from diffuse locations produced mixed results. Implications are discussed.

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Needed research in creativity for business and industrial applications.

Published:  1987   Authors: Min Basadur

In an article entitled “Research in Creative Problem-Solving Training in Business and Industry” (Basadur, 1982), I described both how I had learned to apply creative problem solving methodology on an ongoing basis in a large industrial organization and the research that work had spawned. As the application of processes and techniques of creative problem solving penetrated throughout this organization, opportunities for further research began to emerge. The organization became a laboratory of its own, consisting of real people learning to apply creative processes in ongoing everyday business and technical situations. Since that time, my “laboratory” has grown much larger, extending to many varied organizations. New knowledge has been gained and many new questions raised.

A trained practitioner can be of great help to any organization in a variety of creative problem-solving applications. The design of each application opportunity must be developed uniquely and creatively. A thorough consulting diagnosis involving the client(s) and the practitioner is required to develop an appropriate creative plan. The plan includes the selection, development and sequence of creativity techniques to be used. It may include pre-meeting work. It always includes provisions for post meeting action planning and follow-up.

The first part of this paper describes some aspects of implementing and consulting in small group creativity. Specific different types of applications and techniques that I have found successful are identified. Also described is an original piece of research that provides evidence that creativity training does work. It also provides some theoretical models of how it may work in an organization. The research is a field experiment indicating that training in a complete process of creative problem solving can improve attitudes and behaviors associated with creativity.

The second part of this chapter reviews six broad issues relating to practical concerns of using creative problem solving in organizations. Some research findings are shared and directions for future research are suggested.

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Receptivity of Japanese managers to creative problem solving experiential training.

Published: 1989   Authors: Min Basadur, Mitsuru Wakabayashi, Jire Takai

A field experiment investigated the effects of training on Japanese managers’ attitudes toward divergent thinking. An experimental group (n =60) of managers underwent practice-oriented experiential training in creative problem solving. Two control groups underwent placebo treatments. The first (n = 15) was comprised of Japanese university faculty and graduate students who participated in an abstract discussion. The second (n=47) was comprised of Japanese assistant managers who experienced training in an unrelated subject. The three groups were measured before and after training on attitudes toward two aspects of divergent thinking: active divergence and premature convergence. The experimental group showed significant gains on both measures versus both placebo control groups. Compared to North American managers from similar studies, the Japanese managers appear to be at least equal on both attitudes in mean score and in gains made after training. This research indicates that applicability and receptivity of paradigms and methods of training in creativity and innovation may be at least as strong in Japanese business and industry as in North America. Also the Japanese translations of the two measures developed and used for the first time in this study appear to be good replicas of the English language versions. Some interesting differences between the two attitudes in gains after training and between the groups before training are identified as opportunities for future research. Potential mediators include Japanese cultural factors, profit versus non-profit organizational contexts, and different levels of responsibility.

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Comparing attitudes towards divergent thinking of managers and non-managers before and after training.

Published:  1989   Authors: Min Basadur, George B Graen, Jiro Takai, Mitsur Wakabayashi

A field experiment compared managers’ (n=90) and non-managers’ (n=66) attitudes to-ward divergent thinking before and after training in a three phase process of creative thinking emphasizing problem finding as well as solving and implementing. The mediating effect of personal creative problem solving style was also measured. The sample was comprised of a variety of functional specialties, hierarchical levels and organizations. Before training, managers were lower in tendency for premature convergence but non-managers were higher in preference for active divergence. After training, both groups had improved both attitudes and between-group differences were no longer statistically significant. The manager and non-manager groups were found to have different distributions of creative problem solving style. For managers, the dominant style was conceptualizor and for non-managers it was generator. Among both groups, training benefited participants with the optimizer style the most in improving the two divergent thinking attitudes.

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Identifying individual differences in creative problem solving style.

Published: 1985   Authors: Min Basadur, Carl T Finkbeiner

In this article, an instrument to describe one’s own unique style of creative problem solving is introduced. It identifies the portions of a “complete process of creative problem solving” for which one has a relatively greater or lesser inclination. Theoretical foundations built upon the basic Osborn-Parnes CPS model are presented. The instrument is still in the development stage, but encouraging preliminary reliability and validity test results are reported. Additional research underway is described. Applications at the individual, group and organizational levels and future opportunities for research are suggested.

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Individual problem solving styles and attitudes towards divergent thinking before and after training.

Published: 1990   Authors: Min Basadur, Mitsuru Wakabayashi, George B Graen

A field experiment was conducted to examine the mediating effect of individual creative problem-solving style on the impact of training in creative thinking. This intensive hands-on training emphasized a specific three-phase process which synchronizes divergence and convergence in problem-finding, problem-solving, and implementation. Two attitudes associated with divergent thinking were measured before and after training. The sample was comprised of a mixture of organizational members representing both managers (n = 90) and non-managers (n = 66) and a variety of functional specialities, hierarchical levels, and types of business organizations. The most significant finding was that the optimizer style of creative problem-solving improved more that the other three styles (generator, conceptualizer, and implementer) on measures of both creative thinking attitudes. 

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Training effects on the divergent thinking attitudes of Japanese managers.

Published: 1992   Authors: Min Basadur, Mitsuru Wakabayashi, Jiro Takai

A field experiment made a preliminary investigation of the effects of training Japanese managers in creative problem solving. Two attitudes associated with divergent thinking practice (an important aspect of creative problem solving) were measured before and after training. This research establishes the Japanese translations of the two attitudinal measures. It also indicates that the applicability and receptivity of the paradigms and methods of the training provided may be at least as strong in Japanese business and industry as found in previous North American research. The experimental group (n = 60) showed significant gains on both measures versus two control groups. Compared to North American managers from similar studies, the Japanese managers appear to make at least equal gains after training. Future directions for research include extending the training effect investigation beyond attitude changes to include behavior changes and longer term persistence and portability to the job.

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