Foundations of Creative Problem Solving and Design Thinking for K-12 Educators

The International Center for Creativity (ICC), Ohio Invention League (OIL), and the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) are proud to present a multi-day Creative Problem Solving for Educators professional development workshop. This 16-hour workshop provides a fast track to a deliberate creativity process for solving problems, enhancing existing school lessons and curriculum, and introducing more fun into the learning process.

The Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Process is the research-based gold standard of creativity methods. In CPS for Educators, you will learn the Four CPS Stages — Clarify, Ideate, Develop, and Implement — and how to use the tools and techniques of CPS to enhance lessons and the classroom environment. CPS also supports 21st Century Learning objectives:

  • Value inquiry and curiosity and provide tools to develop these intuitive inclinations.
  • Embrace creativity, risk-taking, and imagination.
  • Couple creative thinking with critical analysis to unlock possibility and name solutions.
  • Collaborate as part of a group and communicate complex ideas.

CPS helps both teachers and students become nimble, fluent, innovative thinkers, and eager and effective collaborators.

Workshop Details

International Center for Creativity
4675 Lakehurst Ct.
Dublin, OH 43016

Dates and Times:

  • July 19, 2021 – 10:00am-5:00pm
  • July 20, 2021 – 9:00am-4:00pm
  • July 21, 2021 – 9:00am-4:00pm

Registration Fee:

Includes 16 hours of CPS Professional Development, a certificate of completion, and the opportunity to take CEF’s Official Foundations in CPS Certification Test, which if you pass, officially certifies you as proficient in CPS for one year ($250 value for free).

Workshop Schedule and Agenda

This CPS for Educators workshop combines large and small group work and dynamic, interactive activities. You will have the opportunity to practice your new CPS skills and our professional facilitators can answer questions about how each part of the CPS process applies to the classroom or school environment, as well as how it applies to various subjects or administrative activities. There will be an hour break for lunch each day.

You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course for 16 hours of professional development, and you will have free access to CEF’s official Foundations in CPS Certification Test. Successful completion of this text will earn you CEF Foundations Certification including an electronic badge.

Monday, July 19th, 10am-5pm

  • Welcome
  • Pre-Session Evaluation
  • Setting the CPS Stage
    • Interactive Opening
    • Room Climate Agreement
    • CPS for Educators Objectives
    • Program Overview
  • CPS Principles
    • Divergent and Convergent Guidelines
    • Pose Problems as Questions
    • Defer Judgement
    • Yes, And
  • Creative Mindset
  • The CPS Model — Clarify, Ideate, Develop, Implement
  • Clarify Stage
    • Explore the Vision
    • Gather Data
    • Formulate the Challenge
  • Debrief
  • Overview for Day 2
  • Closing Activity

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

  • Welcome
  • Opening Activity
  • Overview for the Day
  • Clarify Stage, continued
    • Explore the Vision
    • Gather Data
    • Formulate the Challenge
  • Ideate Stage
    • Explore Ideas
    • Ideation Tools and Techniques
  • Debrief
  • Overview of Day 3
  • Closing Activity

    Wednesday, July 21, 2021

    • Develop Stage
      • Refine Ideas and Make them Better
      • Develop Tools and Techniques
    • Implement Stage
      • Assisters and Resistors
      • Action Plan
    • Applications of CPS with OIL Curriculum
    • Debrief
    • Closing Activity
    • Post-Session Evaluation

    CPS generates break-through ideas, improves teamwork, and energizes the classroom. CPS professional development will help you and your students:

    • Recognize and overcome blocks to creativity.
    • Identify attitudes and behaviors conducive to creative thinking.
    • Apply core concepts of creative thinking.
    • Use a variety of divergent and convergent thinking tools.
    • Apply the CPS method to many simulated or real situations.
    • Consciously be creative when facing problems and opportunities.
    • Improve classroom management skills.

    Register today and complete continuing education hours that will inspire you for the new school year!

    Your CPS Trainers:

    Beth Slazak

    Beth Slazak

    Beth Slazak is a seasoned CPS and Improv facilitator and trainer, with a public school and collegiate teaching background. Beth earned MS from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College. She manages program and event logistics as Conference Manager for the Creative Problem-Solving Institute (CPSI), produced by the Creative Education Foundation.

    Beth has trained teachers and business professionals at conferences around the world including: MindCamp, Toronto, Canada; CREA, Sestri Levanti, Italy; Florida Creativity Conference, Sarasota, FL; Creativity Expert Exchange, Buffalo, NY; Next Idea Conference, Litchfield, CT; Geneva Creativity Center, Batavia, NY; and CPSI, Buffalo, NY. She is President-Elect of the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor, where she also serves as Director of the 3-year certification program.

    For nearly 20 years, Beth has been an educator. She has taught at: Lewiston-Porter Middle School (suburban school district, grade 6); Lackawanna High School (low income, urban school district); Our Lady of Black Rock (urban Catholic school, grade 4-8); Attica Central School (rural, middle school); Genesee Community College (Intro to CPS); Buffalo State University (CPS courses designed for first generation, and at-risk college students).

    Beth is trained in CPS, Applied Improv, Faith and Creativity, Resiliency Training, Growth Mindset Training, Play and Creativity, Humor in the Workplace, Improv for the At-Risk Student.

    Duane Wilson

    Duane Wilson

    Duane Wilson is the current COO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph’s County in Indiana, a former high school assistant principal, and a business consultant whose forte is integrating creativity and innovation into organizations. Duane has over 20 years of experience helping organizations, trainers, and educators achieve their goals by bringing creativity, clarity, and structure to complex and challenging problems. Duane is a Leans/Six Sigma Black Belt who blends analysis with creativity to drive results. He is relied upon as a facilitator, trainer, and coach for managers, teams, and employees at all levels. Duane uses a proven, research-based approach to his underlying process when helping clients solve problems.

    In his previous role as Senior Program Director, Office of Continuous Improvement at the University of Notre Dame, Duane provided internal consulting services to campus units involved in Continuous Improvement. He is also an Adjunct Faculty Member of Beacon Health’s Pheil Innovation Center that aims to help for-profit and non-profit organizations develop Innovation as a core competency.

    Duane serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Creative Education Foundation Board of Directors and is our go-to educator trainer on the Board. Duane’s work with CEF includes: CPS facilitation for the Manchester Essex Regional School District Administrative team and “Portrait of the Graduate” Steering Committee and two years working with the Stamford Public School System helping CEF train more than 300 elementary school teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in CPS. Duane is a member of the Core Faculty of CEF’s Creative Problem-Solving Institute (CPSI) and is a key partner in developing live and virtual curriculum. He is a regular presenter at CPSI and other creativity and leadership conferences.

    Veronica Lynagh

    Veronica Lynagh

    Veronica Lynagh is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the International Center for Creativity in Columbus, Ohio. She works with industry partners who are committed to innovative workforces and fusing together their industry needs with higher education today.

    “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much” – a quote by the famous teacher and scholar Helen Keller is a quote Veronica regularly uses as her “WHY” when working with passionate partners in the education space, we can make systemic change in education, but we cannot do it alone, we need one another.

    Veronica is a serial problem solver and loves the challenge of “figuring it out” she has 15+ years of experience in sales, marketing and building educational distribution networks and is a big out of the box thinker and loves the challenge of finding unique solutions that do not fit the mold and solve to multiple audience needs at one time.

    Veronica comes to the team from The Henry Ford and Invention Convention Worldwide; she is worked with educational change leaders and program directors in 10+ countries and over 25 states, who regardless of their differences shared the same vision that one day STEM Education would be accessible and available to all students regardless of their background and geographic location. Her strength is in building educational partnerships, content sharing, shared services, marketing and creating collaborative strategic visions and plans. Veronica is Chairman of the Board of Invention League and Invention Convention Ohio, a part of the Aspire2050 team and on the Lemelson InventEd Steering Committee. She lives in Cleveland with her 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son.

    Robin Hilsmeier

    Robin Hilsmeier

    Robin Hilsmeier is the Executive Director of Invention League, the 501c3 non-profit education program that heads up Invention Convention Ohio. As passionate educator herself, Robin started her career as an elementary school teacher, then transitioned to corporate and non-profit management. Over the years she has also been a substitute teacher in both general and special education classrooms from preschool to high school. She has three teenage children and is very involved advocating for individuals with disabilities. In addition to an education advocate, Robin is also the co-founder of Rising Heights, Inc., a community for neuro-diverse adults that helps adults with disabilities thrive and reach their full potential.

    About Creative Education Foundation (CEF):

    The Creative Education Foundation (CEF) was founded in 1954 by Alex Osborn.  Alex Osborn was one of the original advertising “Mad Men” – the “O” in BBDO – who founded the organization on the radical idea that creativity could be learned and developed.  Together with Sidney J. Parnes, PhD, they developed the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process and thousands of people across sectors have trained in this process to find new solutions, practice better teamwork, and develop breakthrough ideas.

    About Invention Convention Ohio (OIL):

    Invention Convention Worldwide introduces students to a world in which they can solve their own problems, gaining the confidence and 21st-century skills to invent their own future through hands-on, real-world, project-based learning activities and exciting events at school, state, and national levels.  Invention Convention is easy to implement, flexible enough to meet diverse student needs, adaptable to a broad range of disciplines, and accessible to virtually any young learner.

    The K-12 Invention Convention program convenes a global community of educators, business leaders, parents and students through competitions, events and a flexible, project-based curriculum aligned to education standards.

    About International Center for Creativity (ICC)

    The International Center for Creativity is a Columbus, Ohio-based think tank and partnership that designs, develops, and delivers innovative curriculum, professional training, and design and creativity consultation for universities, entrepreneurs, artists, and corporations. The ICC partners with higher education institutions to deliver a cutting-edge BA in Industrial and Innovative Design, MBA with a concentration in Innovation and Masters of Innovation programs that continue to grow year over year. Their Cedarville BA in Industrial and Innovation Design program is ranked 5th in the nation.

    Creative Problem Solving for Educators is presented as part of a collaborative partnership between the Creative Education Foundation, the International Center for Creativity, and the Ohio Invention League.

    Educator Testimonials:

    “As an academic, I have found that the CPS process provides a well- researched, grounded process to facilitate creativity and innovation. At our Center, we use the CPS process and tools to help students, faculty, and businesses identify new solutions to challenging problems in their communities and beyond. The CPS tools and techniques provide flexibility and structure for those we work with and help give them permission to bring their ideas forward, create new ones and approach their challenge from a different perspective.”

    Amy A. Whitney, Ed. D, MBA

    Director, Center for Innovation, University of North Dakota

    “The challenges within Higher Education demand that universities and colleges control costs, Increase completion rates, and address inequities within institutional resources. Creative Problems Solving (CPS) provides a framework for identifying opportunities and solving problems when conventional thinking has failed.  The mindset of CPS encourages you to adopt creative thinking to find fresh perspectives and come up with innovative solutions. 

    Whether deploying CPS within the academic or administrative divisions, CPS pulls on the strengths of teams by engaging the team in clarifying the challenge, generating potential Solutions, and executing the action plan.”

    Duane Wilson

    COO Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, Adjunct Faculty at the University of Notre Dame

    Educator Testimonials:

    “Creativity and problem solving are essential skills for students in this century. We use these skills in a variety of ways in our school. First, the CPS process is an excellent tool for students to understand, and implement, as they engage in and lead a more complex and demanding world. Second, at our school, we use the process to define and implement growth!”

    Donna Luther

    Head of School, Inly School

    “Creative Education Foundation is providing teachers in Stamford Public Schools ways to think differently about instructional practice; to allow students to understand there are many ways to solve problems and different answers to the same questions. As we educate in the 21st century and beyond and prepare students for college and careers we need to continue to reflect on how we teach but also on how students learn.”

    Dr. Tamu Lucero

    Superintendent, Stamford Public Schools

    “In education it is imperative that we consider not only the what (CPS) but the why and the how. Creative thinking and Creative Problem-Solving foster and promote metacognition. After teaching a very short unit on Learning Styles to a fourth-grade classroom, one student went home and told his Mom, “Mom, I am not stupid! I’m kinesthetic!”. That student went from a learning challenged student in elementary school to an honor student when he graduated from high school. He was able to learn and process information in his learning style without interfering with the teacher’s teaching and promote metacognition. Creative thinking enables a student to come to awareness.”

    Joette Field

    Fourth Grade Teacher