Chapter 2: Approaches to problem solving and the stages involved By Sounay Phothisane
Different approach to problem solvingThe creative approach• Have you ever say something like ‘That’s a really clever/new/elegant idea – it’s so simple! If only I could think like that…”• Creative Problem-Solving process (CPS) – Used in group settings, improves communication skills and team work – Open and Supportive group climate in order to think and say “strange things”
Different approach to problem solving• The rational (logical) approach – Stage to stage analysis, letting our thoughts and logical analysis dictate our way. – This is appropriate of proceeding, but we often forget the importance choice of starting point. – Before solving, we need evaluate, examined and formulate assumptions so the problem solved will be on the right track
Different approach to problem solving• The Soft system approach – Problems today are complex and interrelated (interconnected to each other) which leads us to tackle the situation as a whole – We need to “model” in its all complexity – taking a holistic view. – Soft system approach helps us improve problem situation by building abstract system model
Which Approach?• Logical approach is not often used because it will benefit from the creative approach• A purely creative approach is sometimes dangerous and we can get hooked and shy away from disciplines to develop and implement the idea• Soft system approach requires understanding and experience of various systems concept and it is debatable – The question is, which one? It all depends on your systematic problem solving strategy. Ex: Individuals, Organizational culture, Conditions, Environment… – Can we be the people who can solve or it must be those engineers or geniuses?
Systematic Innovation• There is a myth that innovation is relied on the genius in the industries. They are born to be innovation experts thus other people who do not have this genius can only follow instead of innovate. This myth has been proved to be wrong. In fact, most people have hidden genius. People can be trained to equip with some techniques to become innovative. Systematic Innovation (SI) is a guided approach to train engineers, managers to become creative idea generators.
Why we need creativity in all problem solving• We live in a rapidly changing world, creativity is important because: – Inadequacies of logical thinking gives less insight – Provides the means in coping with fast pace of change – Gain competitive edge – An increasing number of problem have a few or no precedents. – Vital asset in leadership role
Choosing a problem-solving approach• Machine Problems Vs Problem approach – A Machine is ill defined, we may not know precisely what the cause. If we did, we would not have a machine problem – We might have a replacement problem-part problem – Work-rescheduling problem – Logical/rational approach like Kepner-Tregoe (KT) problem solving strategy known as “Probabilistic Replacement”
Machine Problems Vs Problem approach• Kepner-Tregoe (KT): What is “Probabilistic Replacement” – Assuming that the cause is the most likely one and replace the supposed faulty part, then if that does not do it, you move on to the next most likely cause.
Ex: Zenith Engineering Ltd: a ‘machine’ problem?• A new machine bought recently by Zenith Engineering Ltd is not performing up to specification. It will not shape the thickness of alloy used to the desired level of precision. On contacting the designer of the machine, Zenith Engineering Ltd were told that their problem was due to the fact that they were expecting the new machine to do something for which it was never intended, so what did they expect?
Solution?• We know that: – Zenith Engineering has a machine problem – Found possible cause which has verified by the designer• Machine or People problem? It is people problem!• Problem Descriptions people problem: – How do we encourage the designer to work with us to modify the machine to deal with the necessary alloy thickness? – How could we persuade our customers to accept the slight reshaping of our product that is necessary with the new machine? – How do we redesign our product to use either the same alloy only thinner, or a ‘softer’ alloy of the same thickness so that the machine can cope with it? – How do we persuade the machine’s supplier to exchange it for a more powerful variant of offering us recompense for the bad advice received?
Innovation?• Do we require a particular innovation solution to our problem situation? Such might be the case if our problem could be stated as: – How can we ‘invent’ a new range of products/services? – How can we improve an existing product/service to make it more appealing to our customers? • If innovation is paramount in our consideration, then we should adopt creative approach “Brain Storming” – Brainstorming is still useful technique for acquiring large numbers of conceptually simple ideas: Product names, adding values to existing product.
Innovation?• Brainstorming: Idea Development – Sometimes the problem situation is likely to require considerable development of an idea before it becomes a possible solution – Ex: How can we increase our revenue from tourism without spoiling the environment? • Attract only rich tourist? It has possibilities but we may have some concerns. It needs developing before we can judge whether it is possible solution or not! ( are there any other ways to overcome those concerns?)