Completing the full cycle for every change process is rare, but the template is always useful.   

Ask yourself:

  • Have I worked through this stage?
  • Do I know enough about this stage?
  • Does my project take this stage for granted?
  • Does this stage require more work?
  • Do I have change team members or allies who cover this stage?
  • Do I have change team members or allies who tend to skip over this stage?

If you ignore or under-rate any of the problem-solving stages of CREATER, you can expect to experience  these common errors.

1. Short cuts (skipping or under-valuing certain stages)

  • always tempting,
  • sometimes OK when the “problem,” or the “solution” seems obvious,
  • OK when known to have worked in similar setting and circumstance. 
    • (always ask yourself, what is different or special about this situation?)

BUT: Here are just some reasons why short cuts are usually a bad idea:

  • C: there is not enough energy or motivation in the system to move forward system is frozen- fearful of doing anything to rock the boat no motivation to change
  • R: relating to the client ignored or under-rated
  • E: the “problem” is not the real problem
  • A: no-one has bothered to look for alternative solutions
  • T: the “solution” may not be the best solution, even though advocates see it as “obvious,” least costly, in hand “trial” may be half-hearted, incomplete, poorly demonstrated,
  • E: No real evaluation of trail
    • pseudo adoption; tried but value assumed without evaluation
    • no plan or means to extend the change to affect the larger system or other like systems
  • R: one-time trial without diffusion to all inadequate resources to continue after seed money gone no way to update, revise the change for continuing improvement


2. The fallacy of the easy two-step.

Problem clearly defined already, solution is at hand and obviously correct to all concerned (How often do these conditions really apply?)


3. CREATER Cycle Problems

  • Time pressures; urgency of problem requires skipping steps, rush to trial stage with poorly thought-out “solution”
  • Resource limitations: no time or money to do a proper search or experiment with alternative solutions
  • Isolation: solutions and expertise required to fulfill the cycle are not available, remote, or inaccessible
  • Poor match of problem to “solution” (Do you have the freedom or flexibility to start all over again and rethink the entire process? Often not)

4.  Create a CREATER  Check-list: (it’s easy!)

  • Always think about all the cycle stages even if you can’t fill them.
  • You can keep a checklist in your mind, but better still.
  • Keep a checklist on paper or on your “Reminder” app or wherever you store important things for handy reference.
  • Cycle map gives CA an orientation to the over-all process and where his/her expertise, experience, and/or creative effort might fit.


The Full Cycle of Rational Problem Solving

Anyone who intervenes in the problem-solving efforts of a social group or organization can be described as a "change agent," but there are a number of different ways in which such intervention can take place. The change agent can and should specialize in helping with that part of the process where he/she has the best chance of making a difference. That might indicate a very limited or a very broad role definition, a single contribution at a particular point in time or many interventions over the whole course of the change. Let us briefly consider what some of the roles might be, following the 7-stage paradigm for change management.