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Available dates

Nov 12—13, 2019
2 days
Montreal, Québec, Canada
CAD 1995 ≈USD 1518
CAD 997 per day
Mar 17—18, 2020
2 days
Montreal, Québec, Canada
CAD 1995 ≈USD 1518
CAD 997 per day


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About the course

Of all the skills needed to succeed in work and life, research shows that complex problem solving is at or near the top. But for most of us, solving difficult problems and selling the solutions doesn’t come naturally.

In this engaging and highly-interactive seminar, world-renowned strategy professor, and Associate Dean Corey Phelps shows you how to become a better problem solver and solution seller. Based on his widely-acclaimed book – Cracked It! How to Solve Big Problems and Sell Solutions Like Top Strategy Consultants (co-authored with Bernard Garrette and Olivier Sibony) – Corey guides you through each step in the 4S method: from how to state, structure and solve problems to how to sell the solutions.

During the seminar, you will apply the method and toolkit to a pressing organizational problem you face. You will leave with a greatly-improved understanding of how you can create value by helping your organization crack the problems that matter the most.

Key Benefits & Takeaways

  • Understand how to overcome the cognitive biases and pitfalls of problem solving
  • Develop the discipline and confidence to tackle difficult problems outside your expertise
  • The cognitive biases and pitfalls of problem solving and solution selling
  • How to define problems using the TOSCA framework
  • How to structure a problem
  • How to solve problems deductively using an analytics approach
  • An overview of design thinking
  • Developing a persuasive report or presentation to sell the solution

Topics covered during the program

Day One


  • The power and pitfalls of problem solving
  • Introduction to the 4S method
  • Using TOSCA to state the problem
  • Problem statement exercise


  • Problem structuring with issue trees
  • Problem structuring with hypothesis pyramids
  • Problem structuring exercise

Day Two


  • Prioritizing potential solutions
  • Solution prioritization exercise
  • Solution analysis planning
  • Solution analysis exercise
  • A brief foray into design thinking


  • Selling with the pyramid principle
  • Alternative pyramid constructions
  • Solution selling exercise: pitch construction

Who should attend

This program is designed for managers, executives, engineers, and entrepreneurs who need a toolkit for innovation. Participants will learn how to provide more impactful, advanced, and sustainable solutions to complex problems in the business world.

Trust the experts

Corey Phelps

Corey Phelps is an award-winning teacher, researcher and Professor of Strategy at McGill. He has spent the past twenty years researching the origins of corporate innovation and growth and has published his research in leading academic journals. His forthcoming book on innovative problem solving w...


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