Principles of Problem Solving
Effective problem solving is recognized as being universally important across all sectors of the economy and aspects of our lives. Regardless of the size of the problem, from setting personal goals to creating a strategic plan for your organization, the basic problem solving process is the same. Fortunately, problem solving is a skill that anyone can develop and hone. This class will introduce you to the fundamental principles that all good problem solvers either intuitively know or have learned through repeated application of their skills. With the information in this class and some disciplined practice, you too can become a more effective problem solver.
What You Will Learn
- The notion of a wicked problem and how problem solving tools and techniques are geared towards "taming" wicked problems
- The importance of systems thinking in problem solving and how all good problem solvers are systems thinkers
- How creativity plays into the problem solving process and how you can learn to foster personal creativity as well as creativity in groups
- How the Psychology of Decision Making impacts our ability to objectively tackle ambiguous, ill-defined problems and what disciplined problem solvers can do about it
- Formal problem solving methodologies and the key aspects that all good problem solving methods contain
- Tools and techniques to aid in the problem formulation, problem definition, solution definition, evaluation, and selection stages of problem solving
How You Will Benefit
- Develop the skills necessary to be a more disciplined problem solver.
- Learn a set of simple tools and techniques to immediately leverage in the workplace and at home.
- Understand the large body of problem solving literature that exists to hone your problem solving skills in your own self-directed fashion.
INTRODUCTION TO WICKED PROBLEMS
- Waterfall versus opportunity driven problem solving
- How to tame wicked problems
- Factors that contribute to wicked problems
INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMS THINKING
- Review of the history of scientific thought
- Introduction to components of systems thinking
- Discussion of system thinking and problem solving
OVERVIEW OF CREATIVITY RESEARCH
- Creativity definition and myths
- Incubators versus procrastinators
- Optimizing group creativity
- Removing of barriers to creativity
INTRODUCTION TO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DECISION MAKING
- What influences our decisions?
- Satisficers versus maximizers
- A simple decision making method to combat the tyranny of choice
OVERVIEW OF FORMAL PROBLEM SOLVING METHODS
- Summary and contrasts of four formal problem solving methods
- Summary of the three fundamental steps all problems solving method exhibit
OVERVIEW OF PROBLEM DEFINITION TOOLS AND METHODS
- Discussion of problem definition roadblocks
- Discussion of the importance of perspective in problem solving
- Introduction to 15 problem definition strategies
OVERVIEW OF SOLUTION GENERATION TECHNIQUES
- Overview of a universally applicable system engineering method for solution generation
OVERVIEW OF SOLUTION EVALUATION TECHNIQUES
- Introduction to two universal design/project evaluation metrics
- Overview of Multi-Attribute Decision Making (MADM) and summary of three formal MADM techniques
Who should attend
This course is designed for anyone that wants to improve their problem solving skills. Although the class has a technical bent to it as most of the examples are taken from the engineering and business communities, the material will be easily digested by anyone interested in improving their problem solving skills. This class is not about mathematical problem solving, and no mathematical skills other than basic algebra will be necessary.