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The University of Southampton

ARTD6152 Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

Module Overview

The module been designed for the purpose of promoting and developing creative thinking and problem solving (CTPS) skills and addresses the need for individuals and teams who can ‘think outside the box’, and apply fresh thinking to practical, ‘real world’ problems. The module programme begins by examining the nature of creativity and the characteristics of creative people. It then proceeds to look at what blocks us creatively, and strategies for preventing or breaking through such blocks. The concept of ‘lateral thinking’ will be introduced together with processes for applying lateral thinking to problems that require creative solutions. You will be introduced to a variety of creative problem-solving techniques and approaches to use as ‘tools’ for re-interpreting problems, finding solutions and generating ideas. Practical demonstrations, exercises and task simulations will enable you to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of these creative tools and the capacity to re-apply them or facilitate their use to generate concepts and ideas.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • a broad yet highly developed understanding of creativity (theory and practice) together with the principles of idea generation.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate the ability to contextualise and critically reflect on CTPS approaches and techniques and successfully apply them to a variety of different problems and issues requiring creative thinking.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • take responsibility for your own learning development and academic integrity;
  • manage your time and resources as an independent learner.


Indicative content for this module includes: • The principles of creative thinking • How to overcome creative blocks and ‘mind-sets’ • Lateral Thinking • Idea incubation and idea generation • Challenging assumptions • Interrogating problems • Kickstarting ideas • Techniques and approaches of having ideas • Reflective thinking. • Managing and motivating creative people

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Formal Lectures • Tutor-led seminars • Tutorials • Directed learning Learning activities include: • Peer group learning • idea critiques • Class discussion • Independent study (Reading material as directed by tutor, analysing material delivered during taught sessions, writing up notes, reflecting on taught material and feedback, conducting research where appropriate, analysing results and writing up assignment).

Independent Study174
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Proctor, T. (2013). Creative Problem Solving for Managers: Developing Skills for Decision Making and Innovation. 

Mahon, N. (2011). Basics Advertising 03: Ideation. 

Van Gundy Jr., A. (1988). Techniques of Structured Problem Solving. 



In-class activities


MethodPercentage contribution
Ideas Log  (1000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Reflective Paper  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Reflective Paper  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Travel Costs for placements

Reasonable travel costs for study trips (these may not be covered by the University).

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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