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Problem solving Techniques

Every individual, family, team, corporates and even nations face Problems at different point in times. The problems come in all different shapes, sizes, impact and complexities.

What matters is an ability of individuals and teams to Solve the Problem Effectively, in timely manner and Make the Decisions which will bring in the maximum benefits for all involved in the situation. Today, we will discuss some attributes and some techniques to become an effective Problem Solver.

Attributes to adopt –

- Persistence – I must persist until the solution is reached

- Patience – I shall invest time and efforts, as much it needs, to solve the problem

- Creativity – I will explore all the possible ways and means to solve the problem

Problem Solving is work of your Left and Right brain together.


Now let us look at some of the prominent techniques used in problem solving –

1. REBT based Critical Thinking

Albert Ellis’s ABC Model is a significant part of the form of therapy that he developed, known as Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

REBT served as a sort of precursor to the widely known and applied Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and the ABC Model is still commonly used as a treatment in CBT interventions.


2. Mindmap

Mind maps are a tool used to visualize and organize information. Capturing your free flow of ideas using a mind map during brainstorming will help you quickly make sense of the relationships between the information you come up with. They are also a great way to break down an idea and analyze it.


3. Fishbone

In reverse brainstorming, instead of finding solutions to a problem, you wonder how to cause it or how to achieve the opposite result of what you expect.

Fishbone diagrams, which is typically used to find the causes of an effect (hence named cause and effect diagram), can be used to facilitate a reverse brainstorming session.


4. SWOT

SWOT analysis is a summary tool that lets you analyze the internal (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) factors of your business. If you are creating a new business plan or simply planning, you can use a SWOT analysis to identify where you stand as a business.


5. Starbursting

Instead of directly discussing solutions, starbursting gets you and your team to examine the problem first by asking not just the 6 key question, but also several other questions as necessary.


6. Concept Map

Concept maps are a learning and teaching technique that is used to identify the relationships between ideas or concepts. They help properly structure thoughts that are thrown around in a brainstorming session in a way that is easier to understand.


7. Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats is a classic method for identifying the problems that need to be solved and enables your team to consider them from different angles.

Like all problem-solving frameworks, Six Thinking Hats is effective at helping teams remove roadblocks from a conversation or discussion and come to terms with all the aspects necessary to solve complex problems.


8. The 5 Whys

This simple and powerful method is useful for getting to the core of a problem or challenge. As the title suggests, the group defines a problems, then asks the question “why” five times, often using the resulting explanation as a starting point for creative problem solving.


9. Flip it

Participants in Flip It firstly consider problem from a perspective of fear and write them on a flip chart. Then, the group is asked to consider those same issues from a perspective of hope and flip their understanding.


10. SQUID

SQUID (Sequential Question and Insight Diagram) is a model that allows a team to effectively switch between giving questions and answers.


11. The Journalistic six

The Journalistic Six helps create teams to envision larger picture. They use who, what, when, where, why, and how to and facilitate the conversation. This brings in creative thinking in problem solving as a team.


12. What, so what, now what?

Through this three-step approach, every member of the group reflects on a problem by asking What happened, What is the impact and What can be done moving forward.

13. 15% solutions

Many a situations, implementing full solution can look like a mammoth task. In such cases, 15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. This approach presents the actions, however small, which can be done immendiately. This helps build confidence and comfort which further drives the problem solving and decision making.

This get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change.


14. How-Now-Wow matrix

When people want to develop new ideas, they most often think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent phase. However, when it comes to convergence, people often end up picking ideas that are most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’.

The How-Now-Wow matrix is an idea selection tool that breaks the creadox by forcing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.


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