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Content of the Modules

The specific topics in the CPS e-learning program are listed below; click on each module’s title to view a summary of the its content and objectives.  As a set, these 13 modules are coordinated to give you a comprehensive CPS learning experience. However, if you review the titles and objectives below, and conclude that you will profit most from just one or a few of the modules, you can also purchase individual modules or smaller sets of the modules separately.

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Module 1 | Overview of Creativity and Creative Problem Solving (CPS)

In this module, you will study the nature and definition of creativity and four important factors that influence creative productivity (characteristics, operations, context, and outcomes). The module also includes a brief overview of the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) framework. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  • Define creative and critical thinking;
  • Explain why both creative and critical thinking are important for all people;
  • Describe several different theoretical models or approaches to creativity and identify similarities and differences among them;
  • Describe four factors that influence creative productivity;
  • Identify the four components and eight stages of a contemporary Creative Problem Solving (CPS) framework.

Module 2 | Characteristics: Level of Creativity

This module will help you to understand that all people have some potential for creative behavior. By understanding the personal characteristics associated with creativity, you will be better able to recognize and nurture creativity in the people with whom you work. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Describe four main categories of personal characteristics related to creativity
  •     Provide examples of each of the four categories.

Module 3 | Characteristics: Creativity Style

In this module you will explore characteristics associated with style of creativity. Creative style is the way you prefer to use your creative characteristics, skills, and abilities when you are solving problems or managing change. Upon completion of your work in this module, you will be able to:

  •     Compare and contrast the concepts of “level of creativity” and “style of creativity.”
  •     Define and explain three main dimensions of problem-solving style and the two styles in each dimension.
  •     Describe your own problem-solving style preferences.
  •     Explain the implications of personal creativity style preferences for your own creative strengths and your work with others.

Module 4 | Guidelines and Tools for Generating Options

In this module, you will learn and be able to apply five specific Generating Tools. You will study each of the tools and apply your knowledge of them to some open-ended questions, opportunities, and challenges drawn from your own personal or professional setting. As a result of your work on this module, you should be able to

  •     Describe and give examples four basic elements of creative thinking
  •     Identify, explain in your own words, and give examples of four important guidelines to apply when generating options.
  •     Describe and explain five Generating Tools
  •     Identify ways to apply the tools in your own setting, and then analyze and evaluate your success in the applications.

Module 5 | Guidelines and Tools for Focusing Options

In this module, you will learn and apply five specific Focusing Tools. You will study the Focusing Tools in depth, and apply your knowledge of them to opportunities and challenges drawn from your own personal or professional setting. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify, explain in your own words, and give examples of four important guidelines to apply when focusing options.
  •     Describe and explain five Focusing Tools
  •     Identify ways to apply the tools in your own setting, and then analyze and evaluate your success in the applications.

Module 6 | Context: The Climate for Creativity and Innovation

In this module you will learn about the context for creativity, innovation, and Creative Problem Solving. The environment may support and encourage, or inhibit and discourage creativity. You will learn ways to establish and maintain a positive environment and to build constructive attitudes toward creativity. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify several factors that can operate as “blocks” or barriers to creativity.
  •     Identify nine factors in the climate for creativity.
  •     Make an informal assessment of the climate for creativity in your professional setting.
  •     Identify four guidelines for generating options and four guidelines for focusing options.

Module 7 | CPS: Understanding the Challenge (Constructing Opportunities)

This module guides you in learning and applying the Constructing Opportunities stage of the “Understanding the Challenge” component of CPS. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify the goals and purposes of the Constructing Opportunities (CO) stage of CPS and its role and importance in the larger CPS framework.
  •     Describe specific steps to follow in both generating and focusing options during this stage.
  •     Explain and apply the 3 B’s (Broad, Brief, and Beneficial) when Constructing Opportunities.
  •     Identify WIBAI & WIBNI statements and transforms WIBAIs into WIBNIs.
  •     Apply the stage to a real or realistic task or challenge that is important to you.

Module 8 | CPS: Understanding the Challenge (Exploring Data)

This module guides you in learning and applying the Exploring Data stage of the “Understanding the Challenge” component of CPS. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify the goals and purposes of the Exploring Data (ED) stage of CPS and its role and importance in the larger CPS framework.
  •     Describe specific steps to follow in both generating and focusing options during this stage.
  •     Use the 5W’s and an H tool when Exploring Data.
  •     Examine the current reality and desired future to identify key data.
  •     Use “wishes and hopes” and “magic wand” to assist in identifying key data.
  •     Apply the stage to a real or realistic task or challenge that is important to you.

Module 9 | CPS: Understanding the Challenge (Framing Problems)

This module guides you in learning and applying Framing Problems stage of the “Understanding the Challenge” component of CPS. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify the goals and purposes of the Framing Problems stage of CPS and its role and importance in the larger CPS framework.
  •     Describe specific steps to follow in both generating and focusing options during this stage.
  •     Frame problem statements using appropriate invitational stems (IWWM, How Might, How To), with clear “who/do/what” language.
  •     Use Framing Problem tools, including Word Dance, Why/Why Else, How/How Else, to formulate effective problem statements.
  •     Apply the stage to a real or realistic task or challenge that is important to you.

Module 10 | CPS: Generating Ideas Component and Stage

This module guides you in learning and applying the “Generating Ideas” component and stage of the CPS Version 6.1™ framework. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Identify the essential elements of the Generating Ideas component and stage of CPS and their benefit to the individual or group implementing them.
  •     Identify the role of bothg generating and focusing in this component and stage of CPS to guide the search for many, varied, unusual, and detailed ideas for a specific problem statement
  •     Explain the importance of stretching one’s thinking when Generating Ideas.
  •     Describe ways you might use this Component and Stage in your own setting (either in work-related or personal life settings).
  •     Apply the Generating Ideas component and stage to a real problem or challenge that is important to you.

Module 11 | CPS: Preparing for Action (Developing Solutions)

In this module, you will learn how to transform ideas into promising solutions for an opportunity, challenge, or problem. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Describe the steps for using the Developing Solutions (DS) stage, including both the generating and focusing phases.
  •     Distinguish between ideas and promising solutions.
  •     Generate criteria and select appropriate criteria for the task.
  •     Choose and apply appropriate strategies and tools for strengthening or refining, ranking or prioritizing, or evaluating possible solutions.
  •     Analyze, refine, develop, strengthen, and select promising solutions that can be built into workable actions.
  •     Build promising solutions to be as strong as you are able to construct them.
  •     Monitor your progress in preparation for moving forward.

Module 12 | CPS: Preparing for Action (Building Acceptance)

This module deals specifically with the Building Acceptance stage of the “Preparing for Action” CPS component. Some problem solvers have erroneously equated CPS with “brainstorming” or generating ideas. This overlooks the important distinction between new or intriguing ideas and workable solutions. One important function of CPS is to help individuals or groups move from promising ideas toward successful action. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Describe and explain the steps for using the Building Acceptance (BA) stage, including both the generating and focusing phases.
  •     Develop promising solutions into workable actions.
  •     Use assisters and overcome or prevent resisters to build acceptance for your plans.
  •     Formulate a specific Plan of Action for implementing your solution(s)
  •     Monitor your progress in carrying out your action plan.

Module 13 | CPS: Planning Your Approach Component and Stages

In this module, you will learn the purposes and tools for planning when and how to apply CPS or any of the CPS components, stages, and tools. You will learn to assess several factors that are important in deciding whether CPS is appropriate for a task, and if so, how to choose and manage the process effectively. Upon completion of your work in this module you will be able to:

  •     Understand the four elements of Appraising Tasks and their importance in the helping you determine the appropriateness of CPS for your task.
  •     Describe and apply the Designing Process stage to choose, apply, and monitor your selection of CPS components, stages, and tools for your task.
  •     Understand the importance of careful planning.
  •     Be able to create and apply your own checklist of important elements when planning to apply CPS.

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