The following is a Graduate paper I wrote on the Basadur Creative Problem Solving Assessment and related it to Gallup's Strength Finder test. It's always important to understand how you think and what your preferred method of problem-solving is. Too often, we try to force ourselves into styles we don't excel at, which significantly reduces our productivity.
The Basadur Creativity Assessment is a creative problem solving inventory designed to interpret a person’s preferred method of problem solving. It is broken down into four components:
An individual’s preferred method of problem solving is determined by scoring four words related to problem solving from 1-4 based on which trait best describes you (with 4 being the highest and 1 being the lowest). The test consisted of 18 such word sets, while we evaluated the results of 12 of those questions. Upon completion, we added up the total in each column to evaluate which type of problem solving technique best describes us. My results were as follows, with the average score listed in parenthesis:
As can be seen, my personal inventory leans very heavily toward the third category; Thinking. Of the 12 sets of four words, I selected a 4 for the Thinking category on nine of them and only one of them was less than 3. The Thinking word that I gave the lowest score to was “waiting,” which definitely can fit with someone who like to think. But in my case, I believe the low value I gave that word was primarily due to the fact that I do not like to “wait” to “think.”
Other words in the Thinking category I gave the highest ranking to included “Pondering,” “Responsible,” “Theoretical,” “Describing,” “Contemplating” and of course, “Thinking.”
For the other three categories, they were weighted pretty evenly with my average score ranging from 1.75 to 2.33. When charting this onto the circle graph Basadur provided (attached), it created a very elongated oval with one number stretching out much further than the others. From this, I would conclude that I lean heavily toward the Thinking approach to problem solving while relying on the other three techniques relatively evenly to buttress that approach.
This result fits in well with what I know about myself and have learned from other personality tests. For example, my results for the detailed Gallup Strengths Finder test are in harmony with my Basadur test. The Gallup Strengths Finder test gives a 30-minute series of “this or that” questions related to an individual’s preferences and compiles those results by listing 34 common attributes from strongest to weakest. My top five strengths were listed as follows:
Input, Intellection and Context all comport to a Thinking style of problem solving. Gallup defines the Input strength as follows,
“People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.”
Thinking requires something to think about, so it makes perfect sense that I would crave knowledge and information with which to aid my decision-making process. On the other hand, my lowest scores were for the following:
All of these strengths (or in my case, weaknesses) are generally more collaborative and impulsive. In other words, they are not related to Thinking in a direct way.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Thinking
As with any other problem solving method, Thinking has its own strengths and weaknesses that someone who prefers this technique must be aware of in order to fully utilize its benefits while diminishing its downsides.
The greatest advantage to a Thinking method of problem solving is that it is thorough, careful and not impulsive. These are important advantages, as a paper by psychologist Nour-Mohammad Bakhshani, states that “impulsivity is characterized by unplanned risky behaviors, and making up one’s mind quickly.”
And furthermore that,
“From a behavioral perspective, impulsivity includes a wide variety of actions that, are immature, dangerous, inappropriate to the situation and done without consideration, which usually bring about negative consequences”
Indeed, in the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, it was found that kids who were able to delay gratification did far better in life. The experiment asked kids to sit in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes and not eat it. Those who held out would get two. Most failed, but some were able to delay gratification and wait for the second marshmallow. When the researchers followed up with these kids many years later, those who had held out for the second marshmallow had significantly better life outcomes. This was taken as evidence that the ability to defer gratification is a critical skill in life outcomes.
While using the Thinking method of problem solving probably only tangentially relates to the ability to defer gratification, it does show an enthusiasm for gathering information, thinking it through and making decisions gradually rather than impulsively. Impulsive decisions are often poorly thought out, miss key details, are overly risky and lead to poor outcomes.
That being said, there is also an inherent risk in such a problem solving process. The risk is what is often colloquially referred to as “paralysis by analysis.” The future is unknown and no course of action can ever be guaranteed of success. Furthermore, there will always be more contingencies that could be thought of or improvements to any plan that could be (or could have been) implemented up front.
At some point, a decision needs to be made and the process needs to be executed. Thinking about a problem too much can create an endless maze of possibilities that are difficult to rectify. It can also create a sense of paranoia that “I’m missing something” which can accentuate that fear and result in procrastination.
It should also be noted that simply thinking about a problem more is in itself a course of action. And it very well might not be the best course of action. Thinking about a problem too long could cause unnecessary delays that could wind up being costly or even ruining a project when a “good enough” solution would have sufficed.
Fortunately for myself, I have a fairly evenly distributed Basadur score on the other three problem solving approaches that I can use to buttress my Thinking style. However, it is critical for me to keep at the top of my mind that my preferred style of problem solving can lead to over-thinking, procrastination and unnecessary delays if I am not careful.
Utilizing timeframes and deadlines would likely diminish these negative effects. In addition, partnering with more action-oriented individuals on team projects would be helpful. Such collaborations would be beneficial as the action-oriented individual would push me ahead while I would hold back any overzealous or impulsive decisions from being implemented without having been thought through and researched appropriately.
Previous Grad Papers: 3D Printers
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM