Case Studies

So, how do the universally useful skills of critical thinking and creative problem solving help fix issues in our lives? Here are three (anonymous) case studies to help you gain an insight into the inner workings of in three rather different contexts.

Case 1 – communication issues

An IT company had a very high turnover of staff and felt that there were communication problems both across and within departments. Profitability had been falling for a couple of years and the Directors felt there was a link between lower profitability, poor communications and high turnover of staff. It was affecting morale.

A complete overhaul of communication channels, methods and specific procedures was suggested and implemented in order to build trust, clarity and openness. Monthly brainstorming and creativity sessions were held involving all ranks of employee and departments that previously barely spoke to one another except via email. The result was a complete transformation over a relatively short period of time (3 months) with lower turnover of staff, greatly improved communications and higher profitability.

Case 2 – motivation issues

Gary (not his real name) had a fairly good job but had recently got divorced and felt he had hit a ‘dead end’ in both his personal and professional lives and that though he could continue ‘coasting’ it was bringing him less and less pleasure. He didn’t want to be prescribed anti-depressants and felt that he had been making increasingly poor decisions.

I encouraged him to follow a regime that we co-wrote with his input, and designed to bring about order and logic and vision to his daily routines. After several lengthy brainstorming sessions we collaborated on a goals diary and scheduled plan of action. Happily Gary feels like a new man today and in his new job continues to utilize the critical thinking and creative problem solving techniques we shared when working through his problems.

Case 3 – creative issues

Jane (not her real name) is a cellist and composer. Despite being highly technically proficient she found that she was not enjoying the compositional side of her work and struggled to feel motivated when working to deadlines for commercial work. She didn’t feel inspired to write and what she did write and submit felt ‘forced’, despite having previously enjoyed completing similar projects.

I helped her re-frame the compositional process as a form of play, but play within certain guidelines according to the criteria set by the commissioners of her work.

I encouraged her to think from different perspectives on a daily basis – imagining what good friends and family might say about her project work – plus going on a routine walk around her neighbourhood once a day, putting the work completely out of her mind until she returned.

I also encouraged the use of lateral thinking cards as inspirational tools, but not only tools towards the production of her work but also in a wider sense as tools for inspiration in her life.