Creative Problem Solving


About this Course

This course deals directly with your ability for creativity which is a critical skill in any field. It focuses on divergent thinking, the ability to develop multiple ideas and concepts to solve problems. Through a series of creativity building exercises, short lectures, and readings, learners develop both an understanding of creativity and increase their own ability.

This course will help you understand the role of creativity and innovation in your own work and in other disciplines. It will challenge you to move outside of your existing comfort zone and to recognize the value of that exploration. This course will help you understand the importance of diverse ideas, and to convey that understanding to others. The principal learning activity in the course is a series of “differents” where you are challenged to identify and change your own cultural, habitual, and normal patterns of behavior. Beginning with a prompt, e.g. “eat something different”, you will begin to recognize your own = limits and to overcome them. In addition, you are encouraged to understand that creativity is based on societal norms, and that by it’s nature, it will differ from and be discouraged by society. In this course, the persistence of the creative person is developed through practice. At the same time, these exercises are constrained by concerns of safety, legality, and economics, which are addressed in their creative process.

Shareable CertificateEarn a Certificate upon completion
100% onlineStart instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlinesReset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to completeApprox. 14 hours to complete
Available languagesSubtitles: French, Vietnamese, Russian, English, Spanish
Career direction29% started a new career after completing these courses
Career Benefit40% got a tangible career benefit from this course
Career promotion29% got a pay increase or promotion


This Course Offered by University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Located at the heart of one of the nation’s most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.


Brad Hokanson, PhD

Brad Hokanson is a professor in Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota and serves as Associate Dean for Research and Outreach for the College of Design. He has taught an ongoing course on Creative Problem Solving at the University of Minnesota since 2000 and it remains the focus of his academic work. He has received multiple teaching awards at the University.

He has a diverse academic record, including degrees in art [Carleton], architecture [Minnesota], urban design [Harvard], and received his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from the University of Minnesota. He is a registered architect with a number of award winning projects, although no longer in active practice.

His research focus is on the development of creativity. Within his courses, he has seen increases in measured creativity of 50-70%. He has published his research in a wide range of journals and he has presented the results at various conferences.

He currently is researching the relationship between creativity and achievement in school children, comparing measured creativity with standardized achievement scores in approximately 2000 students in a suburban school district. His new book Developing Creative Thinking Skills is available through Amazon or Routledge.

Jody Nyboer, PhD

JODY NYBOER, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Design at Syracuse University. Jody has a background in architecture and design, facility planning, teaching, geology, and music. Her scholarly interests are a culmination of her education, experiences, and her natural drive for discovery. Her research includes investigating the relationship of the environment and creative agency in schools and the workplace, online problem-based learning, generative learning, and catalysts that enhance traditional design education. Her didactic-focused research is well-received among the design community and educational technology venues. She is an accomplished academic with a diverse range of instructional expertise; architecture, interior and environmental design, and courses concerning creativity, design thinking, design/globalization, and design/technology/society.

Syllabus – What you will learn from this course

Introduction to the Course

Creativity is a skill that can be developed. It requires extensive work by learners, but the lessons, while not conveying traditional content, will change you in ways you do not foresee, but ways which are valuable. The course is a hybrid; it will involve reading, writing, discussions, as well as specific exercises designed to increase and improve your creative skills. You will do work online as well as in the real world; it is designed to be fun and to change your ability for creativity.

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

In this unit we’ll look as some of the ways we can describe creativity and examine the concepts of divergent and convergent thinking. We’ll look at generating more ideas, how to critique and make improvements, and continue to practice our development of ideas. Practice and exploration continue as these are the means we will continue to improve our own creativity.

Creativity, Motivation and Observation

Sometimes, we need external methods to help us touch all the bases in our creative capability. Here, we’ll look at a couple of good methods for helping us generate new ideas. There are a wide range of creativity exercises available; these are but a few. Finding and practicing the development of ideas is an important aspect to becoming more creative.

Creativity and Observation

A lot of the time, creativity can be spurred by something in the environment, triggering connections with new ideas. We react to things we have seen and our experiences; that is from where we build our new ideas.

While much of this course has focused on ways to improve your own creativity, the larger goal of the course is for you to continue to develop your own creativity, in your own way and in your own life. This module continues the development creativity and give you the chance to begin planning your continued development.

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