The role of insight and creativity in problem-solving
A problem is the gap between what is expected and what is already happening. Thus, in bridging this gap, a person can generate solutions through insight in that this person strives to understand the principles, which might feed into the solutions. Here, the person begins solving the problem by considering the requirements and interrelated elements regarding the problem before seeking a common plan that might lead to the desired goal.
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Therefore, direction and flexibility are important aspects in the process of insightful problem-solving because the person involved directs the steps to finding a solution through a pre-determined plan while adjusting and modifying the plan along the way (Rickards, 1997, pp. 2-6).
On the other hand, creativity in problem-solving follows a classical model, which holds that the problem-solving process entails four distinct phases including preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. In the preparation step, the person involved in problem-solving begins by identifying the problem before gathering information regarding the possible solutions to the problem through conscious thinking.
However, solutions may not be reached during the preparation phase and therefore the person goes into the incubation phase whereby the person may give up or continue considering different aspects of the problem, and in the process, restructuring the possible solutions subconsciously. This process produces tentative solutions, which can be synthesized further in the illumination (insight) phase.
Finally, the solutions identified undergo checks, further development, and refinement during the validation phase before they are implemented (Rickards, 1997, p. 10). The whole process is cyclic in nature because if the solutions fail the verification step, one needs to start all over again. Overall, the four-step creative process is a widely accepted model in solving various problems.
The functions of reasoning, judgment, and decision-making in problem-solving
Problem-solving is the process of developing the options, which guide the process of decision-making. Therefore, the first step toward solving a problem entails decision-making in which the best solution to a problem is selected from a variety of options (Lee & Arthur, 1975, p. 3). Accordingly, sound judgment and logical reasoning inform the process of decision-making and therefore, problem-solving in different aspects.
Here, judgment is defined as the ability to solve various problems when there is no right or wrong answer during the period of making decisions. Therefore, judgment is an imperative in unique situations, which require one to weigh all the factors affecting the situation before incorporating personal experience, intuitions, and various initiatives in making workable decisions.
Moreover, judgment is unique to specific situations, and thus, it is bound to change from one situation to another. As a result, it is imperative that people are trained on various ways of choosing the ingredients and other interrelated elements of problem-solving so that they are prepared to face unique situations when they arise (Lee & Arthur, 1975, pp. 5-10).
On the other hand, creative problem-solving involves the interplay of three major activities in which the interaction between visual-spatial and analytical reasoning is one of them.
Here, the two aspects of reasoning play a major role in problem-solving because creative thinking arises from visual thinking in that the visual images obtained from the surroundings through sense perception are incorporated into the process of finding solutions to problems, which are not observable in nature.
Consequently, analytical reasoning aided by visual thinking contributes to the genesis of new ideas that feed into the process of creative problem-solving (Lee & Arthur, 1975, pp. 10-23).
Lee, S.S., & Arthur, S.E. (1975). Studies of problem solving, judgment, and decision making: Implications for educational research. Review of Research Education, 3, 3-42.
Rickards, T. (1997). Creativity and problem-solving at work. Brookfield, USA: Gower Publishing Company.