This article illustrates how entrepreneurs need creativity in solving complex problems.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, entrepreneurship, target market

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How do entrepreneurs devise creative solutions to complex problems?
Study and Discussion Activity


Using the same matrix used earlier in the semester will help students analyze the article and provide them with reinforcement of a tool they can use to analyze other situations/opportunities/articles they come across.


  • Ask the class if they have eaten poutine. Have them rate it on a scale of 1-10.
  • Explore with the class some creative problem-solving methods.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • In pairs, have students brainstorm the challenges and opportunities faced by Ashton Leblond and his chain of restaurants.
  • Invite students to categorize the challenges and opportunities using the following categories: Simple and easy, complicated, complex, chaotic. You can define these categories as follows:
    • Simple and easy: challenge can be easily resolved or an opportunity can be easy to take advantage of
    • Complicated: an expert may be required to resolve the challenge or shape the opportunity with a high degree of predictability
    • Complex: the challenge or opportunity presents several ways to move forward, but it is unpredictable what the outcome will be
    • Chaotic: there is no path because things are changing too rapidly
  • Combine groups and have students discuss the impact of the province wide labour shortage that Ashton Leblond faces in ensuring his restaurants stay open and customer service is not impacted.


  • Two big trends for 2020-21 are connections and well-being.  How are these addressed through Lablond’s solution?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand how creative problem-solving leads to innovative solutions.

Confirming Activity:

In small groups, students should brainstorm:

  • What other solutions might work for Leblond’s restaurants?
  • Have them rank each solution and write a brief paragraph justifying the top solution.

Students and their families face many challenges, from simply making a meal by following a recipe to more complex challenges such as ensuring family members are healthy. During a family dinner, brainstorm what challenges each of the family face as individuals and as a member of a family. Talk about each of them in terms of the predictability of outcome and then decide together if the challenge is simple, complicated, complex or chaotic. You may find this is a conversation you can continue on an ongoing basis.  Each time a challenge is encountered, use this approach to come up with a solution. It will promote critical thinking among the whole family.