All business entities have to invent and change over time for the simple reason that everything changes because of new knowledge, scientific and industrial development, and changing competitive environments. Innovation involves creativity because there has to be a shift in the problem definition for new ways of finding solutions to emerge. Entrepreneurship, which is the overall disposition to avail the power of creativity and innovation to facilitating solution to the problems of society and business, thrives simply due to the advancement of knowledge (Dodgson & Gann, 2010, p. 60). However, knowledge or scientific research that is not controlled is potentially dangerous and even disruptive. Creative problem solving as a theory of business innovation is based on the consideration that all innovations need to be sustainable and fit-for the purposes sought in the industry or business. Creative problem solving depends of safeguards attributed to the situations and circumstances of innovation. Without safeguards and a compounded analysis of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors involved, creativity might be counterproductive. In contemporary management and ethical leadership standards, creative problem solving as a mechanism of innovation should address the immediate needs of the business while also making a critical cognizance of the long-term and protracted consequences.    

Compendium of Business Innovation Theory

Business innovation is an eclectic subject because diverse business situations involve distinct approaches to innovation and development. The foundation of all business innovation theories lies with Schumpeter’s creative destruction theory, which posits that the force of creativity within entrepreneurial circles often address the challenges of business and society while also creating less sinister ones for the cause of progress. Innovation is necessary in all circumstances of business management ranging from a simple communication process to complex and super-challenging tasks of technological improvement of the business process. There is deep introspection and inertia in the ordinary redundant status quo of society and business. Such inertia tends to cause conflict and degradation and the only way to achieve progress is the cultivation of new ideas and innovation that gives solution to the challenges of redundancy. In this grand view, technological innovation answers a very existential question in business because it alleviates wastage occurring because of redundant old ways by achieving new novel and better ways of doing business.

Both Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction and the theory of creative problem solving attest to the basic survival of business organization in a very natural sense because they justify innovation and new ideas as a normal requirement without which business might face very extreme situations. Technologies have life cycles and the patterns of their adoption in the society vary largely depending on their costs, sophistication, and industrial deployment. At the industry levels, government and political influence can intervene in the promotion of given outcomes of innovation that direct society and business in a given direction and not in others. Since political leadership does much of the broad definitive work of setting the tone of industrial innovation and research, it renders all business institutions into compliance because of the necessity of leadership. Uncontrolled innovation and unguided research might often harm society and business as a result of industrial chaos and political unrest.

Theory of Innovation: Creative Problem Solving

Through creative problem solving, many organizations can address their most immediate challenges in every aspect of management and technology deployment to always continue thriving in the constantly changing market experiences. Creativity and innovation are synonymous in respect of the necessity to deploy critical and imaginative thought to define problems and advance to select relevant solutions to them. Since there is no single contributors or inventor of the theory, it borrows ideas, methods and tools from many scholars whose sole concern was imaginative problem solving within business and societal issues. This theory first took shape after the works of Alex Osborn in many studies expressed in his seminal work “Applied Imagination.” The author lays down principles of effective imaginative work that delivers useful solutions to any problem situation. Later, Edward de Bono carried further studies and published “Lateral Thinking,” which has been critical in exemplifying the deployment of strategic thinking to solve problems in business management and leadership. Henry Altshuller also made impressive contribution to the process and theory of inventive arts, which fall into the category of authors. Later Richard Forbes also made impressive writing on the theme of “Creative Problem Solving” directed to leadership and management roles. These authors are the key personalities associated with the theory of creative problem solving as a theory of innovation.

The basis of creative problem solving approach is that mental states should shift to allow managers and leaders address the root cause of the problems they experience. Through a spirited meta-cognitive reframing of the problem situation and the exploration of options to finding a solution, the people have better chances to fix their challenges. It is noteworthy that teams can be formed to brain-storm the problem and indentify alternative course of action. Multiple ideas yield better modeling and simulation of the problem scenario and the derivation of the optimal solution. Although very limited technological approaches existed previously in creative problem solving, recently the use of computers and massive analytics capability in dealing with massive data help organizations reduce data to critical variables. Data mining, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) can be useful tools of computing in the process of creative problem solving because the use of intelligence aids the thinking process.

i.               The Core Features of Creative Problem Solving

In all management roles and practices within organizations, problems often recur and they take many different forms. Creative problem solving rests on the conviction that relevant mental processes can yield in problem situations to give the solutions that outlast the challenge that caused the problems. Moreover, with the use of massive computing power to analyze and reduce data within organizations, suitable solutions can be obtained in the process. Computing helps with rapid problem identification and necessary solutions are obtained outright. However, leadership and management competency in creative thinking is useful because of the protracted issues within problem situations. For instance, Jack Welch only attained astounding achievement as a business maverick after many years and massive experience at General Electric (GE). Leadership ability, acumen, and experience are vital aspects of the creative problem solving process as a means to innovative work.

ii.             The Criterion Validity of Creative Problem Solving Theory

Creative problem solving emerges as a sound theory in the field of business innovation because businesses are constantly dealing with exigencies and changes that directly impact their profitability and the operations orientation in the marketplace. Ideas are the sole raw materials of problem solving in business and ideas emerge mainly through new knowledge acquisition. The necessity for creativity in deriving new knowledge to address a practical challenge is the harbinger of managerial acumen. In contemporary management approach, a collection of institutions come together particularly when massive resources are needed and the expertise to deliver solutions. In the same light, highly specialized consulting agencies like McKinsey & Co, Brookings and many other highly specialized institutions are sought to give direction to organizations. The use of business incubation facilities by governments and research universities also advance the same core principle of creative problem solving. The essence of these institutional affiliations and collaboration is to enrich the debate and collaborative synergies that promote shared interests among networks of directly interested parties advancing the common good.

The Place of Creative Problem Solving as a Theory

All problems are resident in the circumstances and situations assumed normal within organizations. The widely accepted norms, however, occasionally prove to the very cause of low productivity and creative incremental development of any magnitude that can deliver profits to the organization. Innovation to address problems and challenges in a business occurs within a psychological domain of leadership competencies (Turban et al., 2015, p. 24). Creativity finds expression in a technological way for inventing machines using new scientific discoveries or it can yield the advancement of business operations and processes of management in a business set up. In both situations, the use of new thinking about problems and their solutions within different kinds of frames delivers the desired outcomes for the business. In the contemporary management scene, the deployment of Information Technology (IT) under the waves of digital disruption has witnessed a massive shift in business operations across the globe. Information technology not only drives down the overall cost of doing business but also cultivates immense competitive efficiency for any organization. Such industry level innovation makes deliberative moves in the general environment of commerce, which individual businesses has to emulate for regulatory compliance and other intrinsic advantages.

All management roles happen with a societal and governance scenario, which sets the priorities and expectations. In this regard, creative problem solving strategy and theory occur in institutions and societies where there is intellectual liberty and the power of free thinking fetches the great reward it has for society (Rerup &Feldman, 2011, p. 789). The shortcoming of this approach to innovation is that closed societies where there is massive patronage and autocratic leadership cannot usefully adopt its tenets. The process is also possible only when the organizations are willing to learn and change rapidly and purposively in the light of new knowledge and discoveries in their field of business.

Creative Problem Solving in the Development of Global e-Commerce

Globalization emerged in very unlikely circumstances. During the 1980s, the tensions between the Soviet Communist block of influence and the American Pro-Capitalist system was rife in international affairs. However, in the computing industry was gaining progress in alleviating the barriers to effective communication across continents and geographical barriers. At the political level, the United States played a pivotal role under the presidency of Ronald Reagan to forge ties between nations in a manner that the international tensions could be diminished (Barrett et al., 2015, p. 140). Innovation in the scope of an organization not only involves products, but methods and schemes of management, marketing, communication, administrative programs and all aspects of the organization with an element of influence on the overall output.

There is a marked systematic trajectory in the development and adoption of e-commerce innovations. Incremental and radical innovation both help in shaping how the business environment has evolved. The advent of web 2.0 was a critical milestone that generally enabled increased international interactions. After it, the development in the telephony sector availed varied types of handsets for individual and corporate uses. The mobile handset has undergone a massive transformation and each time complementing the need for individual connectivity to the internet and for easier simpler digital communication. Major online retailers like Alibaba, e-Bay and Amazon could not achieve their impressive penetration were it not for the Smartphone. In the software segment, both Android and the iOS have made a significant contribution to the propagation of digital disruption led by the key high-tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon just to mention a few.

Creative Problem Solving in Contemporary Global e-Commerce

A lot of Silicon Valley start-ups invest huge sums of dollars in research and development (R&D) for the very purpose of sustaining business competitiveness (Bessant & Tidd, 2015, p. 93). Since global operations can be cumbersome to manage, advances in digital management solutions have become handy. Google Inc. and the other high-tech firms have thrived mainly due to their high level innovation so that they give businesses technologies that are less costly and have tactical power in addressing practical business problems. At Amazon, the worlds most dynamic and innovative e-commerce retailing giant, the key driving strategic competencies is purely innovation. While logistical issues can be an issue, the company is testing with drones to find better and cheaper ways of delivering merchandise and end-user commodities bought on the company’s website.

Global e-commerce companies have largely emerged because of technological innovation in the prerogative of creative problem solving. As many multinationals sought to reach an international audience, paper-work and manual administrative work would far much be destructive. Through creative problem solving, the evolution in transactions involving bank notes is in their sunset years (Bockstedt, Druehl & Mishra, 2015, p. 192). Digital money on various platforms is currently in use with astounding speed of efficiency. E-commerce generally is a product of creative problem solving because it makes citizens access government services much rapidly and effectively thereby alleviating redundancy in service delivery in the public sector. Moreover, mobile payment solutions have changed the lives of millions of village dwellers in the developing world who cannot access and afford banking services. On the same platform, such rural farmers can find market for their produce and competitively negotiate for prices because they have access to market information. A whole shift in welfare is underway because the mobile platform is now in use to deliver medical services to the poor, educational opportunity and security of the community.

Creative Problem Solving and the Future of Global e-Commerce

The advent of digital media that enables e-commerce today is at a very early stage of its development. However, the challenges currently experienced in logistics, effective and sustainable transportation system and 3D printing processes will rapidly undergo a fundamental change due to accelerated rate of innovation. The challenges of insecurity and associated risks to property and merchandise will no longer exist through innovative ways of global logistical advancements and efficient security installations (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014, p. 16). In this direction, Amazon is carrying out massive tests with drones to deliver merchandise to strategic collection points. Moreover, international financial flow is possible in all manner of platforms. With the internet-of-things (IoT) underway, many and advanced platforms of delivery and connectivity for various utilities will emerge because of creative problem solving in those directions.

The future of e-commerce will involve different institutions of regulatory authority as well as those for other needs. Web 2.0 gave way to the establishment of social media but the web 3.0 will enable more real-time interactive engagement involving video and other functionalities. In this regard, the threat of impersonation and insecurities in the internet will be alleviated when functions of biometric identification are embedded in the process of e-commerce (Hyysalo et al., 2016, p. 21). Progress underway in supply chain management using digital tools is at an advanced stage for documenting and standardizing all merchandise moving across the globe. Under all forms of futuristic advancements, regulation of commerce should ensure safety and non-proliferation of toxic substances through ill intended operations. Conduits that supply vital liquid consumables that will be piped should find better service of advanced metrics in quality assurance gadgetry fixated at critical points of the conduit.


Creative problem solving asserts the necessary guarantee that innovation should not advance in a manner that endangers our own survival at any stage. The constant improvement in the methods of production and business management through research for businesses and the industrial establishment generally yield solutions to managers. The learning organization as a management paradigm makes it possible for the leadership in any establishment to cultivate knowledge in the process of work and use that knowledge productively in spurning the competitive strategy of the business (Christensen et al., 2016, p. 18). Principles of leadership accountability and sustainable development are in the highest regard as innovations advance to address the challenges of e-commerce and other related functions or aspects of technological change.

Artificial super-intelligence, which will result after the current wave of massive artificial intelligence (AI), will change society and culture in massive unimaginable ways. Whereas artificial intelligence faces excessive criticism among intellectuals, the use of open source paradigm appeals to a wide elite audience. However, politically, the changes underway in society already show a marked shift in the manner of leadership and critical concerns tilt in the favor of increased innovation and science. Creative problem solving is in line with total quality management (TQM), which has produced tremendous improvement in diverse settings (Pentland, Hærem &Hillison, 2010, p. 933). Furthermore, the Japanese system of Kaizen principle, which implies a devotion to a constant quest of improvement in the business operations, correlates positively with the theory of innovation. Japanese management practices and the astounding environmental record is a testimony to the veracity and validity of creative problem solving theory.

The use of drones and robotic technologies can only advance favorably if the principle of creative problem solving finds a chance in the contemporary movement of minds in the fields of technological innovation. Under sustainable development principle and the commitment of many nations to green energy into the future, useful innovation can be done through creative problem solving principles (Felin & Zenger, 2014, p. 920). A collective of several institutional and government agencies directly involved in the regulation of industry process is a suitable frame for checks and balances in this massive futuristic endeavor. Moreover, in the accounting and financial management practices, the push for standardized practices of reporting and disclosure serve the same mission of enhancing creative problem solving because it alleviates mistrust and possible administrative malpractices that hamper open creativity and innovation by setting the parameters right.


The progressive convergence of technologies tends to alleviate the gaps between technical advancements and the negative consequences in the society. The progressive accumulation of innovative ways of solving problems in political, social, and economic spheres of livelihoods is the only hope for a vibrant humanity and is cognizant of the immense odds against industrial progress and the rigid limitation of resources. An era of leadership accountability, innovative and effective management of resources in the public and private sector through public-private partnerships has to be forged. The contemporary era of massive technological disruption has seen massive technological research and development among key companies in e-commerce. The persistent problems of logistical challenges, insecurity, and general managerial efficiency will greatly improve as computing capabilities advance and as mangers address the problems in their work through greater creative problem solving tools and innovations.



Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J. and Vargo, S.L., 2015. Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions. MIS quarterly, 39(1), pp.135-154.

Bessant, J. & Tidd, J. 2015. Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  Third/Second Edition. Chichester, John Wiley & Sons.

Bockstedt, J., Druehl, C. and Mishra, A., 2015. Problem-solving effort and success in innovation contests: The role of national wealth and national culture. Journal of    Operations Management, 36, pp.187-200.

Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A., 2014. The second machine age: Work, progress, and  prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. WW Norton & Company.

Christensen, C.M., McDonald, R., Altman, E.J. and Palmer, J., 2016. Disruptive innovation:  Intellectual history and future paths. Harvard Business School.

Dodgson, M. & Gann, D. 2010. Innovation.  A Very Short Introduction.  Chapters 1, 2, 5,& 6.  Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Felin, T. and Zenger, T.R., 2014. Closed or open innovation? Problem solving and the governance choice. Research Policy, 43(5), pp.914-925.

Hyysalo, S., Jensen, T.E. and Oudshoorn, N. eds., 2016. The new production of users:  changing innovation collectives and involvement strategies (Vol. 42). Routledge.

Pentland, B., Hærem, T. &Hillison, D. 2010.‘Comparing Organizational Routines as Recurrent Patterns of Action’.Organization Studies,31(7): 917-940.

Rerup, C. &Feldman, M. 2011. ‘Routines as a Source of Change in Organizational Schemata: The Role of Trial-and-Error Learning’.The Academy of Management Journal,     54(3):3 577-610.

Turban, E., King, D., Lee, J.K., Liang, T.P. and Turban, D.C., 2015. Electronic commerce: A managerial and social networks perspective. Springer.