Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

[email protected]

Full listing of blogs

Innovation and creative problem solving

Being creative and innovative is something that is widely touted, but how do we actually do it?

This may be needed for a particular issue during land development, most certainly necessary during design and of course during construction.  In todays economy cutting costs is a constant factor and to do this whether you are using lean, value engineering etc etc at the core is being creative and innovative. While there are a range of issues that go into making a company or team creative including culture, here is one structured approach to creativity, PISA.

The Creative Problem Solving framework includes PISA is:


Define clearly what the problem is that you need to solve. Spend time on this, we so often dive right into assigning a solution that we don’t focus on the details of the problem in the first place. Also involve everyone connected at this stage, talk to the customer, trades and construction managers that deal with this issue, use their experience to fully understand the situation.


Again, don’t be tempted to dive into a solution! Gather ideas or ‘seeds’ that can be developed later. Engage a range of people in this activity, including the original group consulted to understand the problem but also others.  Others in your team may have ideas or insights and would love to get engaged.


Finally, yes the solution. This stage involves evaluating the ideas and developing the ‘seeds’ in alignment with the problem to create an effective solution or range of sub-solutions.


This is putting the solution into action. This may be correcting a process, creating a new process or developing a new product. This can be the stage when the ideas do not get turned into action. So it is critical that those that will be creating and managing the solution continue to be involved and those that the solution is created for have the opportunity to provide feedback. This may involve a pilot project and use of a focus group depending on the project and its scale.  But good project management is another tool to ensure that the solution is put into action.

Comments on: "Innovation and creative problem solving"


This Month in Custom Builder


Sales leader and author Mark Richardson shares his advice for how custom builders, and leaders throughout residential construction, can improve the effectiveness of thier staff meetings

Overlay Init