People Innovation Excellence

The Osborn-Parnes CPS Process

by Yunita Wijaya Handranata, B.Eng., M.M.

Decision making process of an individual influenced by their knowledge and past experiences over the years. The brain has a tendency to make decisions unconsciously that leads to a general solution. One way to improve your problem solving skills is by applying the creative problem solving (CPS) process.
There are various model of creative problem solving (CPS) process besides The Osborn-Parnes CPS Process, such as: Wallace Four-Step Process, Amabile Process, Five Stage Process of Creativity by James Webb Young, and Design Thinking. In 1980s Alex Osborn and Sidney Parnes introduces The Osborn-Parnes CPS process, which consists of six individual steps, including:

1. Mess / Objective Finding
Mess finding is a stage to identify broad goal / big picture, wish / opportunity and challenge. During this stage, problem or sub-problems are reconsidered by includes different perspective and some key objectives in order to obtain solutions that are original, unusual, and innovative.

Spend time at this stage; do not rush, because it can make a huge difference between finding expected results and arriving at ideas that are more unusual and original. Do just accept the problem given, but try to explore more by taking that information into consideration but focusing on a more diverse perspective.

2. Fact Finding
In fact finding, you have to considering all the data gathered, even the ones that seems not relevant or important. Spend time to allocate resources and identifying facts as a based in ideation phase to create more ideas. Always aware of your thinking mode, unconscious thinking can be helpful but detrimental in some cases.

3. Problem Finding
During this stage you have to clarify the problem by reexamine the initial problem. Often the real problem is no longer the same as the initial problem after you consider the entire facts obtain from the second stage of the CPS process. In addition, in some cases the problem maybe too general or big, you have to broken down the original idea into smaller problems.

4. Idea Finding
This phase is generating ideas or commonly known as ideation phase. During this stage, you have to generate as many ideas as possible. Use divergent and lateral way of thinking to obtain more innovative and creative ideas.

5. Solution Finding / Idea Evaluation
This phase is to select the best idea from all ideas obtained from idea finding phase. It is important to have clear evaluation criteria to help you narrow down and select the best idea.

6. Acceptance Finding / Idea Implementation
Final stage of Osborn-Parnes CPS model is acceptance finding. The selected best idea is tested against the problem. At this stage detail action plans are made, difficulties are anticipated, and resources are identified for the implementation of the final idea.

Reference:
Thomas Vogel (2014). Breakthrough Thinking: A Guide to Creative Thinking and Idea Generation. HOW Books. ISBN: 9781440333262.


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