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Management: perspective and practice
Management: perspective and practice

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4.2 Introduction to creative problem solving

Before we get into this subject, let’s get your initial thoughts going in.

Creative problem solving activity 1: What do managers do?

Make a list of the sorts of things that managers spend their time doing (or should do!). You can start with what you do, in your own managerial role, then think about what other managers do, both in your organisation and in other types of organisations. Think specifically about generic activities or categories of action that managers carry out.

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Your list could include items such as:

  • gathering information
  • making decisions
  • allocating resources
  • sorting out problems
  • reviewing budgets
  • motivating
  • instructing
  • facilitating and supporting staff
  • negotiating
  • creating plans and strategy
  • making links between different groups.

Looking back at your list, how many of these activities involve some kind of problem to be solved, e.g., issue to be addressed, situation to be diagnosed, challenge to be met, opportunity to be explored or context to be understood? Often, the same kinds of techniques can be used for all of these. In many respects, tackling challenges or making informed decisions is not so different to ‘solving problems’.