CPS Step 2 - Gather Data


Gather Data is the second step of the Clarify stage of the Creative Problem Solving process. Its purpose is to describe and generate data to enable a clear understanding of the challenge.

In this activity, the team will use the Know / Wonder technique to identify what they know and what we wonder about our challenge. Then they need to take time to gather the missing data.


About the CPS process.

There are many models of the Creative Problem Solving process. Though, as recommended by the Creative Education Foundation, Stormz has chosen to focus on an evolution of the Osborn-Parnes CPS called the CPS Learner’s Model.

The basic structure is comprised of four stages with a total of six explicit process steps. Each of these process steps is available in Stormz as a template.






1. List what we know and what we wonder

In the previous step of the CPS process (Step 1 - Explore Vision), we identified our most important wish.

Now, we need to gather as much data as possible!

So let's list:

  • all the facts that we know about this wish,
  • anything that we might wonder about this wish.

Don't forget to follow these rules:

  • Use invitational stems: start all your contributions with either IKT (I know that) or IAWI (I am wondering if...)
  • Be as broad as possible: we want a 360 view of the context, ask yourself about who, what, when, where and how...
  • Be as explicit as possible: create one card per know or wonder and use between 7 to 15 words to craft your sentences
  • Be collaborative: listen to others and comment on their contributions

2. Identify key critical data

Not all the data has the same importance...

Let's select the data that is really critical to our challenge!

Review both the knows and the wonders and give 1 to 3 points to:

  • known facts that are really important to consider,
  • questions that we really need to find answers to before going further.

You can also comment on your choice.

3. Discuss and plan data collection

Let’s make a plan to collect the missing data!

Let’s have a look at the most important items:

  • Wonders: how can we answer the question?
  • Known facts: is there anything we should do to learn more about this?

You can also comment and vote on the different actions.

Once the action plan is done, you can move on to the next step.


For your information, there are many ways to collect data. For example, you can:

  • search over the internet or your internal knowledge base,
  • order some existing studies,
  • observe users, customers (or stakeholders),
  • interview users, customers (or stakeholders),
  • ask experts on the topic,
  • ...

4. Update with new information

Let’s collect our missing data!

We can now implement the plan and collect the data.
As soon as we have new knowledge, we can add new cards or update existing cards with more information.

Important! Sometimes, you will see that with new knowledge there are new questions. This is OK and is, in fact, a very good sign, just add the wonders and collect data again.

As soon as you feel that you have enough knowledge, move on to the next step.

5. Congratulations!

Congratulations, we have finished the second step of the CPS process!

Let's celebrate that by adding a second serie of steps to our little victory dance ;-)


Once done, take a little time to reflect on what we should do next.

Are we still OK with our wish statement?

  • If yes, we can launch the third step of the CPS process: Formulate Challenges.
  • If no, it is OK to go back to the first step Explore the Vision and use our newly acquired knowledge to iterate again on our wish

Login Register