Fiches de cours 2017-2018


Creative Problem Solving in Science and Engineering


Lecturer(s) :

Seitz Peter




Every year


Theoretical Part: Aug. 24 & 25, 2017 - EPFL // Practical Part: Sept. 28 & 29, 2017 - Besançon


Our globalized, connected world has become more complex and demanding. Problems and challenges our society has to face has grown tremendously. Are there systematic or more creative approaches to solve them, are there tools to help us addressing technical, societal, ethical and political issues?


Curriculum (Theoretical part)
1. Neurochemical basis of learning and creative processes in the brain
2. Behavioural and chemical influences on creativity
3. Personality traits of highly creative individuals (M. Csikszentmihalyi)
4. Objective testing of the originality of thinking
5. Group creativity: Brainstorming (A. Osborn)
6. Creativity training: Lateral thinking (E. de Bono)
7. Systematic problem solving (G. Polya)
8. Morphological analysis and the morphological box (F. Zwicky)
9. Lateral thinking puzzles and systematic solution approaches


Curriculum (Practical part)
1. Brainstorming exercises (Plenum)
2. Lateral thinking puzzles (Plenum)
3. Systematic solution of a tough scientific/engineering problem (Small groups)
4. Poster preparation (Groups: Problem+Process+Solution)
5. Debriefing session


Creativity, systematic problem solving, morphological analysis, Polya approach, lateral thinking

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

Basic education (bachelor level) in an engineering or scientific discipline

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German