WHAT IS PROBLEM SOLVING?

Written By Rea Marwaha,The Young Vision Ambassador (Since Mar 2019),Delhi Private School- Dubai and Subah Bhatia, The Young Vision Ambassador (Since Sep 2018),Delhi Private School - Dubai

160

Problem solving is a skill intrinsic to the advancement of human evolution that is essential at every stage of life. It is the major root cause of the discovery of new inventions, social and cultural evolution and the crux of market based economies.

QUALITIES OF A GOOD PROBLEM SOLVER:

Competitive demands require creative, unconventional, and more efficient ways of problem solving. Therefore, the following skills should be inculcated by each individual:

  • Needs to be proactive and ready to combat any problem they come across;
  • Should stay determined to solve the problem at once;
  • Shouldn’t focus on trivial and sentimental aspects on the issue;
  • Needs to be able to deconstruct problems to achieve productivity;
  • Should seek permanent solutions;
  • Should be able to think critically in order to analyse the situation at hand.
  • Perseverant – Never give up
  • Patient – Evaluating and executing a variety of solutions takes patience and constant effort
  • Work well under pressure
  • Determined
  • Goal-Orientated – Never take your eyes off the objective
  • Resistant to distractions

Facing obstacles in our path is inevitable, but our response needs to be logical and sensible.

TRIZ:

TRIZ is the Russian acronym for Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch that translates to “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”, developed by Soviet inventor, Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in 1946.

TRIZ framework suggests that there is no problem that exists without a solution.  One needs to find a problem similar to theirs and methodically adapt to their situation. It also serves as an antidote to Psychological Inertia.

FINDINGS:

  1. There are recurring problems and solutions in every field
  2. Patterns of technical evolution are also repeated across industries and sciences.

BENEFITS:

  • Helps to improve products and services
  • Amplifies our expertise and knowledge
  • Accelerates process of functioning and progress of evolution

The TRIZ method comprises of 40 principles out of which some are:

  • Extraction :

Eliminating a part of a product or process to enhance it.

  • Segmentation :

Division into independent parts helps to identify useful and damaging aspects

  • Consistency :

Continuous work and avoidance of intermittent actions

  • Embracing a positive mindset :

Maneuvering detrimental or harmful factors to add value

  • Prerequisite actions :

Making decisions and adopting initiatives beforehand to facilitate the progress

For Instance:

An enterprise decides to launch an online project management tool. The team members are able to suggest a plethora of valuable suggestions.

The problem: A deadline has to be met and therefore all ideas cannot be catered to.

Solution: Launch a beta version of the device in order to provide a concise and essential amalgam of functionalities.

Benefits of the solution:

  1. The product will be released on time
  2. Product can be further improved with the aid of customer feedback.
  3. Product will be more user friendly

Lesson derived: Use little more or less than necessary if the goal is hard to achieve. This is another principle of TRIZ called the partial actions!

HOW TO BECOME BETTER PROBLEM SOLVERS:

8 things good problem solver do:

  1. Remain Objective – Focus on your goal and come up with problem-relative solutions.
  2. List all the Obstacles – Understand the potential difficulties that may arise so that you can come up with fixes for the same.
  3. Keep a Clear Mind
  4. Employ the 5 Whys – This method helps clearly define the problem; by reaching is core roots.
  5. Stay Positive – If you believe you can do it, you are hallway there. Try to employ optimistic thought processes and give yourself reassurance of a positive outcome.
  6. Go Beyond Your Limits – Keep an open perspective and go beyond a fixated mindset. Be receptive of new ways of thinking, new options, and solutions.
  7. Excellent Verbal Communication – Good problem solvers can also communicate effectively. They house the skill of explaining key points and solutions well.
  8. Critical Thinking – Analyse the evidence, statements and employ critical analysis of the issue at hand.

STEPS TO PROBLEM SOLVING:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Define your end goals
  3. Brainstorm the various solutions and their impact
  4. Assess alternatives by weighing the pros and cons of each possibility
  5. Choose the best solution
  6. Plan an effective method of execution
  7. Execute the chosen solution
  8. Evaluate your effort, the results, and corrections to be made