Design Thinking – A Creative Approach to Problem Solving

by Christopher Long / Earl Allan

Why You Should Attend This Course

Value creation has always been part and parcel of any businesses. Businesses need to engage every part of the production chain to help create new strategies, enter new markets, create new brands, create new applications for technology, find new ways of connecting with customers and/or to help find new partners. What is different today is the speed at which all such activities need to be executed. Equipping individuals within an organisation with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively and efficiently in the value-creation process is essential to maintaining competitiveness in the market place.

Individuals attending this course will acquire the ability of creative problem-solving through design thinking. Using a set of tools derived from a fairy tale known to most, this course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to effectively participate in or lead innovation within the organisation as well as make a difference to your personal lives by availing creativity in a brand new way.

Acquire knowledge about the creative and innovative process and be able to:

  • Define the non-linear nature of the creative and innovative process
  • List and describe the various elements/roles of the creative and innovative process
  • State the difference between an idea and a solution

Gain skills and procedural knowledge to:

  • Adopt The Beanstalk Creative ActionsTM process and methodology in problem-solving
  • Define the parameters of a given problem to generate, identify and document winning solutions
  • Adopt a card-facilitated brain-storming process for more effective management of group-thinking
  • Enhance ideas by simplifying, value-engineering, cost-cutting and automation


  • Fundamentals and framework of design thinking processes
  • Understand the characteristics of the creative process
  • Using principles of design thinking and techniques of The Beanstalk Creative ActionsTM for effective problem-solving
  • Harnessing and managing group creativity and thinking processes to enhance team performance

The Beanstalk Creative ActionsTM 10 Steps Approach

  • Developing the right mindset, having the appropriate attitude, understanding and following the “rules of the game”
  • Scoping and defining the problem
  • Planning the problem-solving process and identifying appropriate tools for use at appropriate stages
  • Covering the “standard” solutions / going “wild” with ideas
  • Abstracting practical solutions from impossible ideas
  • Examine internal and external environment, identify changes and removing “sacred cows” from existing solutions that no longer work in the current environment
  • Examine the customers/stakeholder needs and understanding objections or obstacles and develop arguments or solutions to overcome them
  • Cost cutting and/or value-engineering – a critical step in any problem-solving
  • Automation
  • Compiling a winning solution

Any organisation who wishes to harness the power of design thinking and creative problem-solving to create value for the organisation, improve productivity, improve teamwork, create an open and gracious creative culture within the organisation by promoting thinking and innovative vibrancy.

Any individual who wishes to adopt a winning creative and open attitude, be able to lead and facilitate teams in the entire problem-solving process, look at issues instantly from multiple angles, turn criticisms into constructive feedback, always add value to discussions, constantly absorb new ideas and thoughts, influence others and build teams.

<span style=”color:#000f9f”>(Course will be conducted by one of the following trainers)</span>

Christopher Long is a Ngee Ann Polytechnic adjunct lecturer, published writer and designer. He was external examiner to various polytechnic programmes, NUS senior adjunct lecturer, past VP of SILA and is member of the Advisory Committee ABE, Singapore Polytechnic. He was also a Public Service Commission, National Parks Board (Singapore) and Carl Duisbery Gesellschaft (Germany) scholar.

During his time in Germany, he acquired the “Synaplan” card-assisted facilitation skills from Dr Nereu Feix. Chris has throughout his career adopted the use of “Synaplan” in design teamwork, at multi-organisational workshops as well as during his landscape design teaching at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and NUS.

Chris is also a SILA registered landscape architect who not only created several prominent landmark projects such as the Istana Front Lawn, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Tanglin/Heritage Core etc. but also went on to become the head of the National Parks Board design team leading them to achieve many important masterplans for Singapore including the Gardens by The Bay Preliminary Masterplan, the Southern Ridges Masterplan, the Hort Park Masterplan and The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Redevelopment Masterplan. He later moved on to the Research Branch of the National Parks Board where he proceeded to develop learning videos, a site integrated social networking application for park users, a patent-pending lifestyle garden product, as well as several training courses.

The Beanstalk Creative ActionsTM process and methodology draws from his open facilitation skills built on the foundation of “Synaplan” as well as his design thinking ability cultivated through over 18 years of facilitating, designing and creating.


Earl started his career practising law in one of Singapore’s top law firms. Subsequently, he ventured into the world of digital marketing start-ups. There he moved from managing clients and project teams to managing the organization. Through the years, Earl has worked with MNC clients as well as in 4A agencies managing clients, operations and teams.

In the world of digital marketing, Earl was exposed to the importance of looking through the lens of the user and understanding the user journey when developing campaigns, advertisements and applications for the consumer. Applying design thinking principles was critical. In this capacity, Earl has worked with technology clients such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and PayPal, FMCG clients such as the Spa Esprit Group and Imedeen as well as Online Gaming clients such as Glu Mobile.

Through the various leadership roles he has held, Earl also learnt the importance of putting people first when developing team structures and managing people. In his last role, Earl was responsible for building an agile team structure to allow team members to work remotely across several regions, cities, cultures and languages. To do this, he had to look at the whole user experience to develop team structures as well as apply design thinking principles. This experience reinforced his passion for working with people to bring out their potential and in building highly engaged happy teams.
His personal mission is to work with people committed to and passionate about achieving great outcomes by putting people at the heart of what we do.


23 – 24 Sep 2021
25 – 26 Nov 2021

Course Fee


The class offers in-class or virtual learning
  • Time: 9am – 5pm
  • SDF Available (Non-WSQ) Code: CRS-N-0024562
  • SkillsFuture Credit eligible
  • MIS Member enjoy 10% Discount
  • Register for 8 or more participants to enjoy 10% Group Discount