Project Management Institute

Creative Problem Solving: Applying Non-Linear Thinking to Solve Difficult Project Management Problems with Lisa Hammer and David Newman


Topics: Leadership Development

Whether it’s finding resources in a matrix management structure or balancing stakeholder expectations as scope creep challenges your planned schedule, the ability to find creative solutions is paramount to success in today’s challenging environment! Creative problem solving involves the ability to come up with a solution that was not obvious or apparent. Often referred to as “thinking outside the box” many are surprised and excited to learn that finding creative solutions to difficult problems does not require genetic prerequisites. It is a learned skill and we can all improve our abilities in creative problem solving by applying and practicing the methodologies.

Seemingly insurmountable problems represent very real situations that occur in many organizations and are quite often cited as the top issues facing project managers today. This Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Workshop is structured around the principles of The Osborn-Parnes model with emphasis placed on the most difficult and pressing problems that a project manager is likely to face! The process, created by Alex Osborn and Dr. Sidney Parnes back in the 1950’s, which gave birth to the term “brainstorming”, has been refined to accommodate our fast-paced environments. However, the original concept of applying a process in order to find creative solutions is as valid today as it was then. Perhaps even more so as we are constantly asked to do more with less!

This interactive workshop will take you through the six-step process as well as introducing several useful brainstorming methods to enable you to facilitate more interesting problem-solving sessions and provide flexibility and variety to the meetings, resulting in ever-increasing creativity. As we are tasked with more responsibility and less resources, the out-of-the-box thinking methods become an essential component of the Project Management toolbox. Through application and practice you will flex and grow your creative muscles enabling you to face challenges head-on and work toward a more creative and motivational environment!

What You Will Learn

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Participants will be able to define and implement a structured approach to problem solving that leads to creative solutions during any phase of an ongoing or planned project.
  • We will explore the specific six-step Osborn-Parnes creative-problem-solving process providing attendees with an in-depth understanding of the total process and why each step is important.
  • Attendees will learn to processize non-linear thinking methods to provide tools and techniques that will be immediately applicable to facilitate solving the most difficult and complex problems that project managers typically face.
  • The problem definition stage will be examined in depth to eliminate circular and tangential distractions that tend to reduce the effectiveness of the process.
  • The concepts of critical thinking and the use of various problem solving tools and methods such as brainstorming will be examined by participants and put into the context of their actual work environment through hands-on problem solving activities.
  • Participants will be able to assess levels of happiness in the workplace and employ specific techniques to proactively manage performance quickly and effectively during project execution in order to optimize team morale and substantially increase project success factors.

PDU Allocation Table

The table below displays the number of professional development units (PDUs) awarded for each PMI® credential, as they align to the PMI Talent Triangle®. Leadership and Strategic PDUs apply evenly across all credentials and Technical PDUs apply only to specific credentials. PDUs will be added in full to all eligible credentials.
Technical Leadership Strategic Total
CAPM / PMP / PgMP 0 14 0 14.00
PMI-ACP / Agile* 0 14 0 14.00
PMI-SP 0 14 0 14.00
PMI-RMP 0 14 0 14.00
PfMP 0 14 0 14.00
PMI-PBA 0 14 0 14.00
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Seminar Instructor(s)


Lisa Hammer DASSM, PMP

Lisa Hammer, DASSM, PMP, is a co-founder and principal of Leadership Techniques, LLC, a training and consulting firm specializing in project management and leadership development. She is an engaging and entertaining presenter with over 30 years of experience in project management and staff development for both large and small firms.

Lisa has managed the implementation of several multi-million dollar programs, which included coordination of staff, consultants and subcontractors to achieve client goals while maintaining budget and cost controls across all activities. Her executive career has been highlighted by a broad range of qualifications, including proven leadership and analytical skills, collaboration with outside groups, along with a reputation for accountability, flexibility, and resourcefulness.

Providing training both internally at organizations as well as developing and delivering the Project Management Continuing Education curriculum at Frederick Community College has provided her the opportunity to help people at all levels of their career to prepare for working in a dynamic and complex environment.

Lisa continues to be a project management practitioner, working with clients to improve their ability to execute against demanding deliverables in dynamic environments. Her client base includes many state and local agencies, non-profits and as well as public and private companies.

Lisa understands that people who are satisfied with their employment experience are more engaged, which leads to improved quality, productivity and happiness. Her passion for professionalism shines through in her presentations on a wide range of project management topics. Using her broad and in-depth field experience she not only stands behind her training, she expects success!



David B. Newman, DASM, PMI-ACP, DASSM, PMP, CSM, SPHR, is a co-founder and principal of Leadership Techniques, LLC, a training and consulting firm specializing in project management and leadership development. Along with his PMI credentials he holds a master’s degree in Technical Management from Johns Hopkins University as well as the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)® credential.

David has a diversified background in engineering and product development and loves to share his experience and extensive background with others. Project teams have excelled under his leadership as he has emphasized that the key to building a high-performance team is to integrate management skills with a collaborative philosophy to influence and motivate teams.

Audiences eagerly engage with David’s interactive presentation style. Through a mix of personal experience, hands-on activities and touches of PMBOK® Guide formality, David’s seminars are entertaining and educational. His passion and humor makes them fun while his focus on results drives attendees to reach for practical solutions to real challenges.

Course Information

2 Days
11 - 12 November 2020


Member Price
(US$1456.00 before 28 September)
Non-Member Price
(US$1612.00 before 28 September)
Government Pricing

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