The Creative Process – The Seven Stages of the Universal Traveler Model

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The Universal Traveler Model of Problem Solving or Design

My quest for creativity models turned up the Universal Traveler Model or the UT Model (The Universal Traveler: A Soft-Systems Guide to Creativity, Problem-Solving, and the Process of Reaching Goals by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnall) and I found its presentation rather interesting. The creators of the model presented it as a map and called it the “Travel Map for the Universal Traveler.” The Process is called “The Creative Process of Problem Solving or Design” and it says that this process “is like taking an excursion or a journey.”

I found it quite interesting and realized that what initially drew me to it, was the journey metaphor. I too feel that the creative process is quite like a journey that begins with the problem at hand, and ends with a solution that works.

The Universal Traveler Model of the Creative Process divides the process of creative problem solving into the following 7 stages.

The 7 Stages of the Universal Travel Model of the Creative Process:

1.    Accept Situation (or understand the problem.)
2.    Analyze (the problem/situation.)
3.    Define (restate the problem clearly by defining the goal.)
4.    Ideate (to think of the possibilities, come up with option.)
5.    Select (to decide upon the best option by comparing the options on important parameters such as feasibility, risks etc.)
6.    Implement (by taking the plunge.)
7.    Evaluate (to assess whether or not the solution works and how it could be improved.)

I see a strong reflection of ADDIE in this model. ADDIE is the instructional design model that explains the content development process, which inherently is a creative process and so the resemblance is perhaps natural.

I think that “Accept Situation”, “Analyze”, and “Define” map to the Analysis Phase of the ADDIE Model, while “Ideate” and “Select” map to the Design phase. As the creative process focuses on the idea/concept, I believe that the Development and the Implementation phases of the ADDIE Model are rolled into the “Implement” stage of the UT model, while Evaluation is directly reflected in “Evaluate”.