Alicia Arnold’s Creatively Ever After: A Path to Innovation is a wonderful book for identifying and resolving your organization’s most difficult problems. Does your organization have a creativity crisis? Learn the simple steps to bring new thinking to even the toughest challenges.
The Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS) is described exhaustively by utilizing a story-telling approach combined with numerous pictures throughout the presentation. The gist of the process is to identify a goal, gather data, clarify the problem, generate ideas, develop a solution and plan action. Similar approaches have been developed in data processing organizations; such as, The Systems Evaluation Approach (SEA) and others.
In addition to methodologies, Alicia Arnold describes how to muster creative groups of people to solve problems. For instance, people who frame questions and problem definitions have Clarifier preferences. Those who enjoy thinking up ideas have Ideator preferences. People who enjoy developing solutions have Developer preferences while some team members may enjoy a combination of traits.
Alicia Arnold provides ample cases of practical situations where engineering developers crafted ingenious solutions to seemingly very problematic conditions. For instance, the Japanese Bullet Train first traveled 120 mph in the mid-sixties. Unfortunately, trains going that fast created loud booms while exiting tunnels.
Eiji Nakatsu studied kingfisher diver birds. These birds plunged hundreds of feet into water to catch fish without making a ripple. Emulating this bird model, Nakatsu designed the front of the train almost identical to the kingfisher’s bill to create a train exiting a tunnel with virtually no boom.
The science behind emulating Mother Nature in engineering processes is called biomimicry. Today, biomimetics is a burgeoning industry that continues to provide ideas for solving a host of industrial challenges, including applied case-based reasoning. Biomimetics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems as models for the design and engineering of materials and machines.
Arnold provides an extensive glossary of technical terms reduced to simple English. There is a considerable bibliography to substantiate the ideas contained in the book. The presentation is easy to read with pictures and short stories throughout. There are team checklists to “get things going” and ensure that the basic elements have been addressed.
Technical teams can encounter many practical difficulties during a complex project. The ideas, systems approaches and methodologies contained in Arnold’s work will help navigate even the most difficult problem solving challenges. As such, Creatively Ever After would be a wise purchase for users in any number of professions.