Real Creativity – a constructive approach to problem solving
- Loughborough University
- Date first submitted:
- 8 Feb 2010
- Date last modified:
- 23 Aug 2010
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Cognitive abilities
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Working with others
- Research project skills
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
Impact Level 2: Learning
Participants learn how to challenge the patterns of their thinking and then learn how to use new tools to be creative and solving problems
Impact Level 4: Outcomes
The outcomes are that researchers can approach all manner of problems from a new direction, think clearly about what they are trying to do and have the resources to find a workable solution.
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
To enhance creativity within the researcher population. Main features are the introduction and use of different tools designed to improve an individual's approach to problem solving and to equip them with techniques they can use on a daily basis. Key to this course is the absence of any imposed “Case studies” or artificial problems. Participants bring three different problems with them and work on these throughout the programme. Real Creativity in real time.
Our aim was to develop creative and confident researchers who can rely on their resourcefulness, creativity and skills to break new ground, to solve problems and to perform well.
The outcomes were for participants to have:
1. Experienced a simple and effective process for managing ideas and solving problems
2. Been introduced to several methods for easing the pressure of problematic situations
3. Identified various factors to support their creativity and resourcefulness
4. Practiced a variety of different tools to stimulate creativity and novel ideas
5. Applied all these in real situations
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
This course was aimed primarily at second year PhD students, but was also open to PostDoctoral researchers at any stage in their career.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The benefits to participants are:
- To be more confident to take on new challenges
- To rely on their own creativity and resourcefulness
- To develop a positive and flexible approach to problematic situations
- To be able to generate viable new ideas and ways forward
- To foster constructive and creative relationships with others
This course has a 2 day off campus format. This has the real benefit of taking a group of often neglected (2nd year PhD) students right away from their normal day to day environment and immersing them in something completely relevant and useful. The longer course format gives enough time for some real shifts in thinking to occur, and to enable even the least creative amongst them to have some small breakthroughs with issues that could have been bothering them for many months.
The biggest challenge with this programme is to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance. There is a lot of pair-work involved where each in the pair takes on some responsibility for the learning of their partner. If there are individuals who are less engaged than others, this can reflect out onto their colleagues and interrupt the learning of others.
We plan to manage this with a “statement of intent” type document which we will get all participants to sign up to, to make sure they understand how their engagement will reflect out onto others and for them to agree to do their utmost to assist the learning of others. We are also planning to put more time into the programme to pick up participants who have unfinished thinking and make sure they reach satisfactory conclusions to each section of the course.
This course looks set to become a regular event within our longer course series. The aim was to develop a longer course experiential learning programme which tailored events to each year of the PhD. Basic research skills for Yr 1, Creativity for Yr 2 with the GRADschool for Yr3. This ensures that students who prefer this more experiential approach have something they can access each year.