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What’s your problem? IWP expert launches innovative solution-finding app


Taking a creative approach to solving problems can really lead to powerful new innovations, according to over a decade of research by Sheffield University Management School’s Dr Kamal Birdi.

Dr Birdi’s CLEAR IDEAS framework has been used in training private, public and third sector organisations all over the UK, and is now set to go worldwide with the release of the new CLEAR IDEAS iPad app which guides users through the innovative problem solving process.
Working within the Institute of Work Psychology at Sheffield University Management School, Dr Birdi has seen significant cost-saving, efficiency-raising results in organisations he’s worked with such as the NHS, local councils and emergency services through a visiting training programme. He said: “CLEAR IDEAS is a way of tackling problems more creatively. It’s not just a way of helping you come up with more ideas; it will also help you pick which ideas to take forward and will assist you in putting those ideas into practice more effectively.

“Lots of innovations or creative efforts fail because the individual doesn’t come up with enough original ideas, doesn’t know how to pick which ideas to take forward, can’t get buy-in to their ideas or know how to implement them.

“As a result, some potentially great ideas fail because creativity and innovation aren’t taken into account well enough. So what the CLEAR IDEAS approach does is it helps develop the skills and knowledge in people in terms of how to tackle problems creatively, and come up with an innovation. The app is a way of embedding that process that you can carry out yourself – give it a problem, and it will take you through ten steps you need to go through to come up with new ideas, picking those ideas, and coming up with a strategy for implementing them.”

Now the approach is available on iPads, users such as professional managers can put their problems to the test on the go – perhaps on a commute, or in the spare half-an-hour before a big meeting. It doesn’t require an internet connection to go through the CLEAR IDEAS app process, so there’s no need to worry about unreliable WiFi or 4G blackspots either.

The CLEAR IDEAS method has seen such success through training workshops, Dr Birdi is excited to see it rolled out to a wider audience: “CLEAR IDEAS was a model that was developed 10 years ago, based on years of research looking at what makes for successful creativity and innovation in organisations – and as well as bringing that research to life, making it more proactive and applicable.

“We have been training hundreds of people, in lots of different organisations using this methodology, so the app is one part of a new toolkit which will help open up the approach to many others. We know from evidence that we’ve gathered that using the approach can help develop new services and more efficient ways of working, for example with the help of CLEAR IDEAS a local council redesigned an adult social care service which they’ve estimated has saved over £1million in its first year of operation.

“It’s an ongoing process as more and more organisations use our methodology, and the CLEAR IDEAS app is a way of helping to make the model accessible to more people.”

You can download the CLEAR IDEAS app for £4.49 here:

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