Innovative Research Creative and Cognitive Problem Solving 1992 – 1997

Over the years, we have published a number of papers. We have developed a number of new thoughts on enhancing the creative process in organizations and their impact and outcomes.

abstracts 40

Managing creativity.

Published: 1992   Author: Min Basadur

Dr. Min Basadur visited several major companies in Japan to conduct comparative research on organizational creativity. Unexpected insights emerged during interviews with Japanese managers and are the basis for this article. These managers knew a great deal about North American motivational theory and how to implement it. Employee creativity is managed through deliberate structural means, not to effect direct economic outcomes5 but to develop motivation, job satisfaction and teamwork. Contrasts to North American suggestion systems are made.

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Using creativity to boost profits in recessionary times – broadening the playing field.

Published: 1993   Authors: Min Basadur, Bruce Paton

Imagine a consumer goods business with 5 to 7 percent annual market growth, a high-quality product with near mystique status, growing market share and world class profit margins – what could go wrong with a business with attributes such as these? Unfortunately, a multi-year recession could come along and flatten that market growth; a deep-pocketed competitor could decide to invest heavily in a successful new product launch; a difficult crop year could sharply raise the cost of a key raw material; and profit growth, so important to growing shareholder value, could begin to look anything but world class. One such manufacturing company, faced with exactly this dilemma, responded not with the typical external consultant approach to reduce costs with employee cutbacks, but instead turned to its employees for help in reducing internal waste.

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abstract 38

Assessing ideational and evaluative skills and creative styles and attitudes.

Published: 1993  Authors: Mark A Runco, Min Basadur

This article describes the rationale for the multiphase creative problem solving process, and reports the findings from an empirical investigation conducted to facilitate the problem solving of managers. The ideational skills of the managers were assessed before and after training in a complete process of creative problem solving, along with their ideational attitudes, creative problem solving style (i.e., generator, conceptualizer, optimizer, or implementor), and evaluative skill (i.e., ability to recognize original ideas). The most important findings indicated that the training had a significant impact on the evaluative accuracy of the managers. They were significantly more accurate in their judgments about original ideas after training, both in their identification of original ideas and their recognition of unoriginal ideas. After training, the managers also gave more solutions and more original solutions to problems. Finally, several variables (e.g., the “preference for active divergence” attitude, and the conceptualizer process style) seemed to moderate the impact of training.  Training was therefore effective, with specific effects that can be predicted from pre-training individual differences in attitudes and process style.

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abstract 37

The new creative thinking skills needed for total quality management to become fact, not just philosophy.

Published: 1993   Authors: Min Basadur, Susan Robinson

This article models the change-making process for organizations, summarizes research on the model, and shows the fundamental connection between change-making skills and the concept called total quality management (TQM). Further the article models the change-making process as a disciplined multistage, circular creative thinking process and links creative thinking directly to organizational effectiveness. Three key creative thinking skills for organizations are identified: deferral of judgment, active divergence, and active convergence. How these skills form the basis of TQM success is described and training research is summarized. Change-making skills and continuous improvement are identified as the fundamentals of TQM. As North American industries continue to experience the effects of constantly changing markets and global competition, the need to implement TQM will increasingly emerge. The move beyond the tendency to supe41cially implement the latest ‘fad”‘ organizations need to increase their understanding of change-making as the foundation of TQM. Organizational members starting with top management need to learn fundamental creative thinking skills to participate in the change-making process.

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abstract 36

Impacts and outcomes of creativity in organizational settings.

Published: 1993   Author: Min Basadur

Creativity can be developed, increased, and managed by organizations. Increased creativity can improve virtually every kind of organization. Specific results from organizational creativity can be identified, including new products and methods, increased efficiency, greater motivation, job satisfaction, teamwork, focus on customer satisfaction, and more strategic thinking at all levels. Commitment is needed from senior management to do what is necessary to plan and implement increased creativity. The organization must determine the results it intends to achieve through creativity, and understand that success will not come overnight. A long4erm commitment must be made in order to develop creative behavior and reap the benefits that will result.

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abstract 35

A new methodology for formulating ill-structured problems.

Published: 1994    Authors: Min Basadur, Susan J Ellspermann, Gerald W. Evans

A four phase model is presented in which problem generation and problem formulation precede problem solving and solution implementation. A relatively new heuristic for formulating ill-structured problems is described. The methodology is a systematic thinking process which combines analytical precision with structured imagination, and is called the ‘why-what’s stopping’ analysis. Current techniques for defining problems are positioned as inadequate because they do not always fit the problems faced in day to day work and because they ignore human behavioral deficiencies. Deferral of judgment, active divergence and active convergence are identified as three behavioral skills which underly the successful application of the ‘why-what’s stopping’ analysis. Several examples of the application of this process in real world situations are provided. Directions for future research are discussed.

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abstract 34

Managing the creative process in organizations.

Published: 1994   Authors: Min Basadur

This article discusses how creative behavior can be increased and managed in organizations. Variables associated with nurturing creative activity are identified. The article first presents a theoretical model of organizational creativity, and then discusses empirical research on the model as it is applied. Finally, the article discusses future applications and tests of the model.

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abstract 33

Optimal ideation-evaluation ratios.

Published: 1995     Authors:  Min Basadur, Michael G. DeGroote

The theory that different ideation-evaluation (!-E) ratios are optimal for creative problem solving in different fields of endeavor in organizations is presented. Preliminary field data (n = 622), which support the theory, are reported. As predicted, higher I-E ratios were found for work classified as more problem finding in nature, such as research; lower ratios were found for work classified as more solution implementation in nature, such as manufacturing; moderate ratios in-between were found for work classified as more problem solving in nature, such as nonprofit organization administration. Implications for training and for increasing the understanding of innovation in organizations are discussed.

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abstract 32

Measuring divergent thinking attitudes related to creative problem solving and innovation management.

Published: 1996   Authors:  Min Basadur, Peter A. Hausdorf

In an increasingly complex and changing business environment, creativity is becoming recognized as a critical success factor for organizations. The identification of attitudes toward creativity and the subsequent development of creative thinking are important mechanisms for organizations to encourage creativity across all employees. Employee attitudes toward creativity can indicate their potential for behaving in a creative manner, and organizations that can incorporate creativity into their organizational culture can further encourage creative thinking. This research extended previous research that had identified 2 divergent thinking attitudes related to organizational creativity. Three additional attitudes were identified as “valuing new ideas,” “creative individual stereotypes,” and “too busy for new ideas,” using various psychometric and substantive analyses with two large samples including both business students and employees of industrial organizations. Basic scales were established to measure all 3 attitudes and future work to finalize the scales was laid out. This research also provided a psychometric methodology for identifying and developing measures of variables associated with creativity attitudes and behaviors. This framework may be useful to other researchers.

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abstract 31

Organizational development interventions for enhancing creativity in the workplace.

Published: 1997   Author: Min Basadur

In an era of rapidly accelerating change, many organizations which developed during a more stable era that demanded bureaucratic efficiency find themselves in a crisis of adaptability and commitment. Effective organizations are those which can mainstream both adaptability and efficiency and strike an appropriate balance between the two. This paper evaluates traditional organizational development (OD) approaches to this problem, then presents a new approach to OD based on organizational creativity. Organizational creativity is defined as a deliberate and continuous change-making process of problem generation and formulation, problem solving, and solution implementation, and as synonymous with adaptability and innovation. Unlike traditional OD approaches that lack a strategic perspective and that rely on single interventions, OD should be employed as an innovation process requiring thinking skills in change-making and incorporating interventions as tools. Under the new approach, organizations can learn to mainstream adaptability by doing two things: encouraging employees to master new thinking skills which increases their creativity, motivation, and commitment; and creating an infrastructure that ensures that these skills will be used regularly. Research is reviewed supporting the new approach, and future research directions are suggested.

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