Creative Problem Solving Process

Art 200/ Art 260 / Greg Clayton

1st Stage: Accept

Creative Problem-Solving: Accept


Accepting a problem means that you choose to get involvedyou commit to be a part of the solution.


When you accept a problem you are dedicating yourself to doing something about it, rather than being a spectator.
This world is full of spectators and critics waiting for someone else to fix things. Designers are people who choose to make a difference. Fundamentally, designers serve their community by creating solutions that better their world — often in small ways, but sometimes in extraordinary ways that make a lasting difference. Most of us better our community in small ways that slowly add up. But none of us contribute until we decide to harness our own gifts, and direct attention towards improving things.

This stage is firstly inward — nothing necessarily shows up in your sketchbook or journal. (Though some designers and writers do declare, in writing, to themselves that "I'm going to do it!")
This is where you commit your personal attention and creative gifts.
Until that happens...all of the other stages are just inauthentic motions...hollow, empty, not very effective and not much fun.

This stage becomes outward when you actually plan or schedule time to focus on the problem.
Each of us needs some degree of discipline and planning in order to be productive, and in order to juggle the many attention-demanding aspects of our lives. You may carry an appointment book or a a day-planner, you might use a GTD (Getting Things Done) system. You may use schedules and reminders on your smart phone or computer. There are lots of tactics for planning what will get your attention, but you must develop some strategy for selecting and committing attention to those things that you deem worthy of attention — and saying "no" to the rest.

Practical acceptance then, involves committing your focused attention.
You might spend 10 minutes writing notes and sketches about the project — do this right after the project is assigned, just after your first client meeting or phone call. Have a page in your sketchbook waiting for a new project. You might give the project a title — that can make it both more real, and more contained.
You might commit to spend 20 more minutes on the project some time before dinner. Add more notes. Review the project specs. Do a bit of web hunting or journal skimming to look for other designs that might have solve similar problems. You might look for supplies or materials the might be useful.
You might commit to spend another 20 minutes before bedtime. Just grab your sketchpad, project specs, maybe a laptop and move into the Analyze stage, make notes about your initial concepts from the Define stage, and possibly sketch or describe a few particular ideas from the Ideate stage.

The main thing is, commit and act! Get your attention on the problem. Don't put that off.
The sooner you begin to immerse yourselve in the problem space, the sooner your subconscious mind can start searching for unexpected relationships that are the stuff of new ideas and insights.
Get that process going — plan time to focus.

Be hot or be cold.
But don't be lukewarm.

Well, if you've taken on a project, be hot!

Failing to Accept...

...or, avoiding the inevitable.

Symptoms To Watch Out For:

If the project was assigned two weeks ago,
a presentation is scheduled for tomorrow,
and you still don't have anything on paper yet,
then you're procrastinating.

But you know that.

You are failing to accept responsibility for your task.
You've not accepted your role as a solution-creator.
You're rufusing to commit.

You might not know that.


The Issue at Hand

Until you decide that youyour inner resources, your distinctive point of view, and your dedicated attention — are necessary in order for this problem to get solved, you simply will not do the work. Procrastination often is a result of a failure to commit.
Therefore, if you want to be the quality of designer you can be, accept your role — get involved in being a part of the solution. Serve the problem; serve those who benefit from your solution. Accept your role. Commit to a solution.
Get on with it.

Or, as has been said elsewhere...
       ...just do it.


Acceptance Declarations

Once you have accepted the project, you can honestly and genuinely say...

"I am part of the solution." "I can and will make this happen."
"I'm going to concentrate on this until I've got something that will help." "I will focus my attention on solving this."
"I will set aside other things, and I will focus on this until I have a solution."
"I don't know what the result will be, but I'm going to work on this until I have given what I can to it — I will contribute."

Until you can honestly say such things to yourself, you're probably not yet there.


Creativity | Creative Process | Next Stage—Analyze

Accept | Analyze | Define | Incubate | Ideate | Select | Implement | Evaluate | Let Go


Greg Clayton
2D Design
Color Theory


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