Favourite Creative Problem Solving Resources

As our problems have become more and more interconnected and complex, building and exercising our creative problem solving muscle is critical. The World Economic Forum listed the top skills employers are looking for, highlighting that 36% of all jobs across all industries will require complex problem solving capabilities as a core skill by 2020. - Top 10 Skills for 2020 by Melanie Curtin. There are a number of ways to get in shape for this challenge and the resources below are a few of my favourites. Enjoy!


Individual Resources

Conceptual Blockbusting


Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam

Idea MappingJamie Nast

7 Puzzles to Challenge Your Critical Thinking

Information is Beautiful, David McCandless

Six Thinking Hat, Edward De Bono


Favorite Tech for Practicing Creative Problem Solving

Google Docs and Sheets



Mindjet MindManager

Microsoft Visio

Adobe Sketch

Top 25 APP List to Extend Student Learning


Group Collaboration and Problem Solving Exercises and Tools

Magic Wand

Appreciative Inquiry

Unfolding the Napkin, Dan Roam

The Grove - for Problem Solving templates

The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley

Sprint; How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Jake Knapp

Ideo Method Cards

Ideo blog

UnStuck, Keith Yamashita, Sandra Spataro


Organziational Change and Strategic Problem Solving Methods

The World Café, Ph.D Juanita Brown and David Isaacs -Book and the Site

Visual Leaders, David Sibbett

The Grove Consultants International

Leading from an Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer

Paying For Time, Lucy Neal

Adam Grant's Blog



More Learning Resources: visual thinking, childlike play, "act locally think globally", fuel creativity.


If you have suggestions for additional Creative Problem Solving Resources resources you would like to recommend please let us know.








With CambridgeDream Summer School Groups, Susi asked internationally diverse groups across 4 cohorts to pick a picture that helped them describe how they problem solve when they have a big challenge. Linking the students words and pictures, the groups discussed themes and the patterns they saw emerging. Overall similar themes emerged, highlighting importance and value of a growth mindset. Your mindset has everything to do with how you Problem Solve, staying clam, looking for patterns, seeeing different paths, putting in effort, and letting go of perfection. All agreed, experimenting, iterating and practicing failing forward was what yielded the best results.


 And failure isn't easy, and as adults we tend to stick with what we do well, and "KNOW". In the 60's Edward de Bono coined the term lateral thinking, suggesting that "solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic" might shift this "knowing block". Over the years, Susi has trailed these processes with clients and organizations. She continues to return to de Bono's simple Six Hat Thinking method as a quick catalyst to move individuals and groups beyond their dominant perspectives and unconscious bias. Below are a few other resources and tools that she hopes you also find helpful.



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