The Universal Creative Process

We help organizations increase their “creativity on demand” and capacity for steady, sustained innovation

The Universal Creative Process (UCP) is a structured framework that allows you to generate better innovations. The 7 stages help you choose the right problem to solve, generate lots of ideas, improve those ideas, prototype the best ideas, and create a plan for implementation. This process is based on 65 years of research. As a result, it is the best process for developing innovation and creating competitive differentiation.


This methodology solves core challenges by providing:

  • An innovation framework that allows you to effectively use the best creative thinking tools, processes and techniques 
  • Rich processes that work together to help teams collaborate better together, including designing new opportunities as well as anticipating and overcoming existing challenges
  • Tools to strengthen creativity, collaboration, and use of diversity
  • Tools to increase an organization’s ability to support people with a well-managed innovation ecosystem

In conclusion, this process will improve your innovation culture. Whether you already use Design Thinking or other tools, this process will ignite innovation across the whole organization. 


How the Process Works

The creative process has seven distinct stages.

Each stage has two parts: divergent thinking (generating lots of ideas) and convergent thinking (choosing the best ideas). As a result of separating the two parts, people fully engage in open-ended thinking and then judge carefully during the selection process.

“Thank you for facilitating the Kraft Kitchens’ strategy problem-solving session. You did a terrific job understanding a complex problem, coming up with exercises that effectively pulled us through the session. As the client, I received what I was expecting…some rich, insightful feedback that will be very helpful in identifying a recommendation for Q1 implementation. Your detailed planning and attention to the client’s objectives delivered great results.”

Sr. Director, Kraft Kitchens North America

Message to Senior Leadership: The Truth About Creating Innovation Culture

Stage 1: Identify a Goal, Wish or Opportunity

Begin creating a better future Diverge: What does the individual, team, organization or culture have “care, concern or desire” for? Converge: Of all of the things that are cared about, which one carries the most energy or excitement in this moment? Which care, if resolved, will move you or the team more fully in the direction they’re wishing for at this moment?


Stage 2: Gather Input and Insight

Get ready by learning

Diverge: What is everything knowable that might have impact on our thought processes as we move forward in having our most important care resolved? What is important data? What human aspects of this should we develop empathy for? What are the feelings from various groups about this focus? What seemingly unrelated information is there that might have an influence as we move forward? What have we not considered that we might be wise to consider?

Converge: Of all of the input we have considered in the divergence, which input does the data, group-think and personal intuition cause us to see as most important?


Stage 3: Clarify the Challenge(s)

Find the problem(s)

Diverge: What might be all of the obstacles, challenges or problems that we would need to overcome to achieve our goal/wish or take advantage of our opportunity?

Converge: Of them all, which are most important to work on solving, and in what order?


Stage 4: Generate Ideas

Create some options Diverge: What might be all of the ways to solve the challenge/problem that we are focusing on at this moment?

Converge: Among all of those ways, which of them (often more than one, or a combination of many) does the data, group think, personal intuition and current capacity/skill attract us to implementing?

Stage 5: Prototype and Strengthen

Try out and test some solutions by creating concept illustrations, models, mock-ups, validational experiments or storyboards

Diverge: As we test our hypotheses about which ideas will best help us overcome our challenges and achieve our goals, what are we learning? How might we strengthen our solutions? What new challenges are inherent in our solutions that we’ll need to overcome and strengthen for our ultimate strategy or solution to be successful?

Converge: Which solution is good enough (for now) to implement?


Stage 6: Plan for Action

Design a project plan

Diverge: What are all the specific actions that must be implemented to make our solution a reality?

Converge: Which are the priorities, who will do them, by when, reporting success (or unforeseen obstacles to solve) to whom?


Stage 7: Implement and Evaluate

Assure that the chosen options are implemented consistently and that, where modifications are needed, you understand why – and make them happen

Diverge: What is the project management process? Who will hold individuals accountable for hitting their deliverables in the plan for action? What is the mechanism and timing for review of the effectiveness of the solution? In what ways will we assure control and consistency as this solution scales and repeats itself throughout the system? Each solution is always the seed-bed for the next set of challenges to overcome. When, where, how and with whom will we next convene to identify new challenges that need application of the UCP?

Converge: Put it in the project management system and assign the Project Manager. Schedule a first evaluative meeting.

Ready to Make a Change?

Whether you want to start with a small training workshop or discuss more widespread systematic culture change, give us a call. We will tailor a solution to fit your exact needs.

Become an innovation expert

Sign up for our updates in innovation processes, tools, and techniques!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This