Describe a creative problem-solving method you have experienced or read about. How did this method support an organizational process?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The recent disclosure that approximately 40 million Target customers had their credit and debit card data breached is a problem for the retailer.  Given the height of the holiday shopping season and the perception that Target is incapable of providing "adequate security for the financial information collected from customers," a creative problem- solving approach was needed.

On Friday, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced a ten percent discount for all shoppers this weekend.  The CEO was open and honest about the predicament:  "We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season... Our guests' trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right."  This approach was creative for a couple of reasons.  The first is that Steinhafel authorized the discount even though the upcoming weekend is one of the most active prior to the Christmas holiday.  It is creative in the evident acceptance of wrong and desire to restore good faith, "making this right," with its customers.  Another reason why it is creative is that it represents a desire to bring customers back into the stores, where the security breach happened in the first place.  

The Target management offered a creative approach that sought to alleviate fears during an "already busy holiday season."  This method supports the centralized organizational process.  Steinhafel articulated an order that all stores are to honor.  The centralized approach is evident in a time of crisis.  Target leadership perceived the situation to be so volatile and one filled with potentially negative publicity that a centralized approach was needed.  The centralized organizational approach suggests that "tends to focus on top-down management, whereby executives at the top communicate by telling middle managers, who then tell first-level managers, who then tell the staff what to do and how to do it."  The leadership of Target embraces this organizational approach in order to take control of a spiraling situation that could be challenging to the financial success of the company.  It is creative in its direct appeal to the consumer, something management wanted to centrally emphasize in a time of crisis.

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