How To Problem Solve

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Outlines a process that anyone can use to solve problems. And if there is a specific outcome, there is a process that shows users how to work backwards to solve problems. There are four types of problem solvers, which type are you?

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How To Problem Solve

  1. 1. How to Problem Solve By Avil M. Beckford
  2. 2. Table of Contents Legal Notices …………………………………………….. 3 Introduction ……………………………………………….. 4 Characteristics of Great Problem Solvers……………… 5 4 Types of Problem Solvers …………………………….. 6 Problem Solving Process ……………………………….. 8 4 Step Problem Solving Process ……………………….. 9 What Great Thinkers & Innovators Have in Common …11 Things to do to Become a Better Problem Solver ……..13 Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process ………………..14 Reverse Problem Solving ………………………………. 21 Conclusion …………………………………………………23 About the Author …………………………………………..24 Websites/Resources ………………………………………25
  3. 3. Legal Notices Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com Please feel free to distribute the presentation in its entirety with attribution to the author. Disclaimer And/Or Legal Notices:   The information presented herein represents the view of the author at the time of publication. Due to the rate at which conditions change, the right to update this publication is reserved based on new conditions. This toolkit is for informational purposes only, in regard to the subject matter, and not intended as professional advice. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this work, the author does not assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. You should be aware of any laws which govern business transactions or other business practices in your country, province and state.
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Any successful business or life activity demands the ability to problem solve </li></ul><ul><li>E mployees who boldly face daily problems and challenges are worth more to an organization than those who passively rely on their supervisors </li></ul><ul><li>Moving up the corporate ladder depends on the number and complexity of problems solved </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  5. 5. Characteristics of Great Problem Solvers <ul><li>Observe </li></ul><ul><li>Listen and hear </li></ul><ul><li>Get along with others </li></ul><ul><li>Secure reliable information </li></ul><ul><li>Look at what’s been done before </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to detail </li></ul><ul><li>Take a break </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on options </li></ul><ul><li>Trust their instincts </li></ul><ul><li>Adapt </li></ul><ul><li>Take decisive actions </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  6. 6. 4 Types of Problem Solvers <ul><li>After distilling 60 interview responses to the question, “Describe a business challenge you had and how you resolved it” four types of problem solvers emerged. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspirers </li></ul><ul><li>Reflectors </li></ul><ul><li>Innovators </li></ul><ul><li>Influencers </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  7. 7. 4 Types of Problem Solvers <ul><li>Inspirers : They nurture people and relationships and have the ability to inspire confidence. Whenever they face a challenge or problem, people rally around them offering their assistance. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflectors : These problem solvers do not rush when making decisions, instead they take their time, mull things over for a while, step back from the situation to get a new perspective and then act. </li></ul><ul><li>Innovators : These individuals have the unique ability to come up with creative solutions to any challenge or problem that they might encounter. It could be an entirely new solution or the blending of two known solutions into something fresh and exciting. </li></ul><ul><li>Influencers : These problem solvers are expert at getting others to support their cause, and they excel at finding solutions to “people” problems that involve change. Influencers are great at getting people to “buy in.” </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  8. 8. Problem Solving Process <ul><li>In his 1926 book The Art of Thought , Graham Wallas, the English political scientist and psychologist, adopted and expanded Hermann von Helmholtz’s process to idea development. </li></ul><ul><li>Wallas describes a four-stage creativity process for generating great ideas — preparation, incubation, illumination and implementation . </li></ul><ul><li>This process is ideal for problem solving because it taps into the idea of creative solutions rather than a one-size fits all template. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  9. 9. 4-Step Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Preparation : A period of study and fact-finding, which includes conducting research to identify what has been done before, interviewing subject experts and participating in any other activity of collecting opinions or ideas on the subject. It is time to take a break when you become stressed, bored, overwhelmed, or distracted, or feel that it’s futile to gather more information. </li></ul><ul><li>  Incubation : Stop thinking about the problem and sleep on it . Though not consciously working on your issues, challenges or problems, your subconscious mind is busy working at connecting the different pieces of information to form ideas, and so creating something different and new. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  10. 10. 4-Step Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Illumination : When you least expect it, a sudden flash of insight, an “aha” moment where the new idea(s) to resolve your issues, challenges or problems will surface to your conscious mind and you see the light. </li></ul><ul><li>  Implementation : The great idea(s) or solution that surfaces could be implemented the way you conceived it, or you may have elements of a great idea that you have to refine before you can implement. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  11. 11. What Great Thinkers & Innovators Have In Common <ul><li>Ability to reflect </li></ul><ul><li>Observation skills </li></ul><ul><li>Openness to experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Keep record of research </li></ul><ul><li>Impossible was not an answer </li></ul><ul><li>Open minded </li></ul><ul><li>Childlike sense of play </li></ul><ul><li>Curious </li></ul><ul><li>Voracious reader </li></ul><ul><li>Read/study broadly </li></ul><ul><li>Observe and collect facts </li></ul><ul><li>Independent thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Take breaks to reenergize </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  12. 12. What Great Thinkers & Innovators Have In Common <ul><li>Total absorption in subject </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the limitations of old inventions and devise a solution </li></ul><ul><li>Modify present technologies for other uses </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to make connections between two different things </li></ul><ul><li>Have imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Have vision </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t reinvent the wheel - built on present knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Paid attention to detail </li></ul><ul><li>Give vital ideas the opportunity to take root and grow </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  13. 13. Things You Can do to Become a Better Problem Solver <ul><li>Each day spend some time reflecting on life </li></ul><ul><li>Travel to places that you have never been before </li></ul><ul><li>Eat different foods, interact with nature </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to learn about another culture </li></ul><ul><li>Read diverse books and other materials and think about what you’ve read </li></ul><ul><li>Consider problems that you know need solving and work on ways to solve them </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  14. 14. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage I: Preparation (Research/Gather ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Describe a challenge or problem that you’re having. Writing down the problem makes it more concrete for you. Make sure that your problem statement is not too broadly or narrowly defined </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a set of decision criteria to judge the quality of the solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Describe the root causes (not symptoms) of the problem or challenge. Uncover the facts surrounding the problem </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  15. 15. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage I: Preparation (Research/Gather ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Who do you know that has experienced a similar problem? If you know someone: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How did they resolve the problem? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would that solution work for you? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Collect all the information that you can find relating to possible solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look for case studies in your industry and unrelated industries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct research on the internet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interview subject matter experts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm with colleagues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct focus group interviews </li></ul></ul></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  16. 16. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage I: Preparation (Research/Gather ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Read all the information gathered and synthesize them </li></ul><ul><li>Extract all the relevant information by distilling the facts pertinent to your problem </li></ul><ul><li>Formulate options and test alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>This is the most critical stage for Inspirers, Influencers & Innovators </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  17. 17. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage II: Incubation (Lay the issue aside for a period of time) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Take a break, or work on another project </li></ul><ul><li>Let all the information sit for a while </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>This is an important stage for Reflectors. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  18. 18. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage III: Illumination (The moment when the new solution (idea) emerges) </li></ul><ul><li>You have an aha moment </li></ul><ul><li>You see the problem in a completely different light </li></ul><ul><li>Or a solution (s) comes to you </li></ul><ul><li>You now have an opening to develop a strategy to resolve your problem </li></ul><ul><li>This is another important stage for Reflectors & Innovators. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  19. 19. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Stage IV: Verification/Implementation (Test out the idea then apply it) </li></ul><ul><li>Test the idea to see if it’s a workable solution to your problem </li></ul><ul><li>Use the criteria you developed in Stage I to judge the quality of the solution </li></ul><ul><li>Refine the idea if you have to </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  20. 20. Anatomy of a Problem Solving Process <ul><li>Implement the solution </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate the solution </li></ul><ul><li>If you find that the solution doesn’t work, go through the process again </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>This is an important step for all types of problems solvers, but more so for Influencers who have to get “buy in” and Innovators who take pride in doing what’s never been done. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  21. 21. Reverse Problem Solving In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”   There are times when you have a specific outcome for a problem. In such instances, you have to reverse the problem solving process, that is, work backwards methodically and fill in the missing information. Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  22. 22. Reverse Problem Solving <ul><li>To reverse problem solve: </li></ul><ul><li>Define the problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the knowns? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the unknowns? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is the end result (goal)? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it important to achieve this goal? </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a strategy to achieve the goal (solve the problem), working from the end result </li></ul><ul><li>What are the necessary steps to achieve the goal? </li></ul><ul><li>Solve the problem using the steps identified to achieve the goals </li></ul><ul><li>Does the solution make sense? Is it the best solution? Check the solution by working forwards </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  23. 23. Conclusion <ul><li>The type of problem solver you are informs how you approach the challenges, problems and issues that you will inevitably face in your work and life. </li></ul><ul><li>The problem solving process outlined above is solid and has been used successfully for decades. </li></ul><ul><li>The entire process can take hours or it can take months depending on the complexity of the problem. </li></ul>Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  24. 24. About The Author Avil Beckford President of Ambeck Enterprise and Chief Invisible Mentor, is an accomplished writer, researcher, and analyst with over 15 years of experience. Her strong service orientation, dedication to learning and exploring new ways of improving her own life as well as the many she touches, has underpinned her success to date.   A published author, her new book, Tales of People Who Get It is the culmination of her life experiences. It has often been said of Avil that her life informs her work. She has also created a companion workbook Journey to Getting It .   Avil’s many readers look forward to Ambeck Edge , her company’s regular e-Newsletter that is a rich resource those interested in self-improvement, as well as those professionals who struggle with life balance issues. More recently, she created The Invisible Mentor Blog to use books, articles and interviews by and about successful people to mentor her readers. Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com
  25. 25. Websites/Resources Websites   Ambeck Enterprise http://www.ambeck.com   The Invisible Mentor Blog http://theinvisiblementor.com   Resources   Website Resources: http://www.ambeck.com/resources.html   Blog Resources: http://theinvisiblementor.com/resources/   Books: Tales of People Who Get It , Journey to Getting It , The Invisible Mentor Tool Kit , The Problem Solver Tool Kit , Work-Life Balance Self Discovery Worksheet , Regret Disengagement Worksheet http://stores.lulu.com/avilbeckford Ambeck Enterprise http://theinvisiblementor.com

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