Creative Thinking


Career management

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools

Key words

Creative thinking, creativity, problem-solving, mindset, cognition, practical tools


In any university context, you are required to establish practical, creative habits that allow you to innovate, solve problems and collaborate positively. Throw into that mix the fact that any PhD project is an exercise in problem solving and that every funding bid or publication requires novelty, and its clear that you benefit from the ability to devise new, and workable, ideas. This hands-on workshop is designed to equip you with practical tools and approaches to relieve the pressure of problematic situations, generate new and insightful ideas and develop them into suitable ways forward. By the end of the course, you will have addressed the following objectives:

By the end of these workshops, you will have:
1. Explored the links between creativity, motivation, flexibility and research
2. Understood your reasons and context for participation – applied the learning and tools to real situations
3. Learned an overall process for understanding and approaching situations constructively
4. Devised tools to cultivate and attend to natural creative process and attitude
5. Working knowledge of tools to create ideas and new lines of though
6. Understood different practical methods to explore, develop and turn those ideas into plans
7. Explored how to offer and receive critique on those plans in a genuinely constructive manner
8. Understood the of use solution-focused questioning to cultivate creativity
9. Learned how to generate a motivating vision for solutions vs dwelling in problems
10. Found the factors that support, or suppress, personal creativity and resourcefulness
11. Understood the impact of assumption and ego vs open, exploratory states
12. A method for easing the pressure of important situations and enabling creativity


This event is a highly experiential, hands-on workshop – we won’t be lecturing or diving deeply into theory. We ask you to learn by practicing with the tools and methods we cover, and to apply them to real situations, so what you learn is immediately applicable, personal and memorable. Please come along ready to contribute and participate fully, thanks. The real work occurs between and after the course. There is a small amount of fieldwork that will help you to deepen and experience the ideas and tools we use. These aren’t too much and might even be rather enjoyable; we will certainly use them in each session – so please, make the time to do the fieldwork.


  • Day 1

• Introduction and orientation – to the session, the people and style of working.

• What are you here for? A process to examine motivation, creativity and different approaches to use

• The quiet voice – what happens when we sit back for a while, and how does it affect creativity?

• Defaults and mental shortcuts – the good, bad and pretty unhelpful – and how to step outside of them

• Taking off the pressure and understanding into the situation properly – tools to release the grip of our default thinking, understand the situation more clearly and free up your creative thinking

• If not that, then what? A small group process explores the impact of focussing on solutions and orienting ourselves to a goal, rather than problems

• Separate processes – an introduction to a method to structure creative processes from ideas to plans

  • Day 2

• Reviewing the fieldwork and practicing what you have learned

• Tools to help generate ideas are practiced in small groups along with tools for planning and sharing critique in useful ways

• Building your map – what is it that supports your creative thinking processes – using the workshop learning and your wider experience, we assemble a map of your personal creativity

• Motivation, action and putting things into practice – tools, conversations and structure that allow you to put all this into practice out of the training room

Time schedule & Venue

Course code

Dates  2022-2023

(1 course = 4 x 0.5 days)

Time Format



Het Pand, Jan Gillis, Onderbergen 1, Gent


Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the Doctoral Schools. The no show policy applies.

Registration procedure

Use the following registration link.

If the course is fully booked, please send an email to and ask to be added to the waiting list by mentioning your student number and the course code of your choice. Cancellation of your registration can only performed by sending an e-mail to


All PhD students; no previous knowledge required


Dr Jamie McDonald (

Teaching and learning material

References to relevant resources will be given at the event and participants provided with handouts and worksheets to capture major inputs.

Teaching methods

Interactive workshop

Number of participants




Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

Active participation