Creative Problem Solving

Integrating a variety of perspectives on the problem-solving team and using those differing views to stimulate a more unexpected, innovative approach to a solution can enhance the creative problem-solving process.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

A well-researched six-view “thinking hats” process can enhance a diverse team’s capacity to imagine, think creatively, improvise, and innovate.

Method Components

After presenting a problem to be solved, the educator leads students through a creative problem-solving process that uses predetermined student roles representing various points of view. This activity can be conducted in small groups or during whole-group instruction.

The six-views represented by “thinking hats”

The creative problem-solving process can be enhanced by ensuring that a diversity of views or “thinking hats” (from Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats) are represented on the problem-solving team. These “hats” include:

  1. The White Hat: the perspective of objective facts, figures, and validated information
  2. The Red Hat: the perspective of emotions, feelings, intuitions, hunches, and impressions
  3. The Black Hat: the perspective of caution, carefulness, following the process, and checking incorrect assumptions and faulty logic
  4. The Yellow Hat: the perspective of optimism, positive thinking, ambitious speculation, making things happen, and constructive action
  5. The Green Hat: the perspective of creative thinking, new ideas, awesome alternatives, lateral thinking, and provocative concepts and humor
  6. The Blue Hat: the perspective of controlling and monitoring thinking, organizing others’ ideas, defining the problem, setting the process, summarizing, and concluding

Suggested activity

  • Make sure these six perspectives are represented as the team brainstorms and develops creative solutions to a problem. (Appropriately colored hats can be worn to make sure all perspectives are being represented. Different students can wear the hats as they take on its particular perspective.)

Suggested preparation

  • Students discuss what kinds of thinking lead to more creative problem solving and the design of innovative solutions, with examples they’ve experienced or heard about.

Suggested Review

  • Students review the results of using the six hats strategy and the lessons learned about how diverse views can lead to more innovative results.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Although creative problem-solving strategies may differ depending on the type of problem, research has shown that including a diversity of perspectives helps elicit more creative approaches to the problem; teams selected for their diverse perspectives and backgrounds create more innovative and out-of-box solutions to problems.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in creative problem solving? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the creative problem-solving activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, and other media) that demonstrate progress toward the creative problem-solving competency, including such items as evidence of discussions on the kinds of thinking that increase innovative solutions to problems, results of brainstorming sessions, examples of the interactions between the “six hat” roles, evidence of the innovative solutions created, examples discussions of the lessons learned from the activities, and other examples.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on the creative problem-solving activities they experienced. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • How did the creative problem-solving activities help you and your team come up with more innovative and creative solutions to the problem?
  • How did the creative problem-solving strategies change your view of the value of working together in a diverse team to tackle problems versus working alone?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the creative problem-solving activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Creative Problem Solving
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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