An integral part of the thinking process involves the application of critical thinking and creative thinking.
Not all problems can be solved or even formulated without properly dissecting every component and arriving at a proper formulated problem. Oftentimes, people are too caught up with making the problem difficult of perhaps too challenging that it becomes more of a nuisance rather than a challenge. In scientific inquiries, the proper formulation of problems is also very important as it is the beginning of the scientific method and requires a problem that is not only challenging but one that, in one way or another, leads to a reasonable answer or solution. Creative thinking plays an important part of this problem formulation because it acts as the base of all thoughts. As such, the role that it plays in problem formulation is that it lays the ground work and sets the parameters for the determination of the problem. No problem can be properly formulated or analyzed without the application of creative thinking. It is important to note that the main goal in the formulation or statement of any problem is to not only identify the problem but also to structure it in such a way as to lead to a reasonable solution.
Creative thinking does play another role in this process as it makes the statement and formulation of the problem more precise. While the term creative may imply a certain degree of being verbose, as used in this situation it is a method of simplifying; similar to the way metaphorical thinking operates by reducing the most complex of terms to its basic structure that is easily understood. This is a method that is familiar to the scientific method where hypothesis and problems are stated in simple “and…or” and “if…but” approaches. As previously mentioned, creating an impossible problem is a useless endeavor as the human condition is geared not towards the discovery of more problems but rather at the quest for solutions.
In this light, the statement and formulation of problems is but the first step in critical thinking and as such should encourage instead of frustrate.