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Problem Solving with Chris Whipp. A presentation to The Inspired Group, Cambridge.
Chris Whipp gave us a fascinating insight into the relatively new world of neuroscience and how the discoveries could help us to solve problems in a different way.
When we attempt to solve problems and make decisions we generally use short cuts, mostly based on experience. Examples of this include things like making an educated guess or may be called intuition but can be less than useful when we face new situations or problems.
We all develop personal constructs based on our interpretations of our observations and experiences and as we grow older we generally go from believing something is right or wrong, black or white to realising that there are many shades of grey. This obviously makes decision making and problem solving more difficult as we become aware of more possibilities and again, as we face new situations that we can't relate back to previous experience.
One of the reasons why business decisions are more difficult now is that that technology is moving so fast and people's expectations are changing so quickly we can't rely on previous experience to see us through and need to be more flexible than ever before.
Our habits of thinking and doing lead us through theses four stages:
Unconscious incompetence - we don't know what we don't know
Conscious incompetence - we're aware of what we don't know
Conscious competence - we're aware of what we know and consciously use it
Unconscious competence - we're not consciously aware of what we know or do - it becomes second nature or instinctive.
Researchers now believe there is a firth stage which is a variation on unconscious incompetence but may be the result of complacency and so prevent further learning.
New studies show that our "always on, 24/7" world leads to overload where the brain is in automatic with not much conscious control being practiced and panic just a short step away but has also discovered a tremendous power for our brains to be re-wired and change previous ways of thinking. This is called Neuroplasticity.
What we learned is that we have an infinite capacity to solve problems when we consciously set out to do so without letting our personal constructs and previous experience interfere. However, problem solving is so seductive that one problem is quickly replaced with another and can become a hazard so care is needed!
Chris Whipp has provided content free professional coaching to a wide range of organisations and individuals predominantly at the interface between business and science over the last eight years. He is currently launching a new service aimed specifically at benefiting Owner/Managers of SME's. He is a Director of Vet Learning Ltd, encouraging and fostering the development of Best Evidence Veterinary Medical Education Programmes and has spent 17 years running a successful veterinary practice.