A problem is a situation wherein you encounter a situation that is difficult to solve. Problem-solving is a way in which you identify the problem, define it, analyze it and then work towards figuring out its solutions.
The problem can be of any type- family, financial, mental, physical, problems related to work, students may face problems in homework answers and they might require help in homework, and the like.
Therefore it should be solved efficiently to get the desired results. The steps in problem-solving are:
1. Define the problem: Analyse the situation in order to focus on the problem and not just its symptoms. Efficient problem-solving techniques consist of using flowcharts to identify the expected steps of a process to solve the problem and cause-and-effect diagrams to define and analyze the root causes of the problem.
The steps here include the identification and involvement of the respective parties, identification of facts, figuring out and separating expectations from reality, and especially an eye on the root cause of the problem. Thus you figure out for yourself a standard model.
2. Generate alternative solutions: Do not jump to accepting one solution until you have found other alternatives as well. This is a common problem in the problem-solving process, alternatives are evaluated as they are put before instead of first putting out all solutions and evaluating them, and finding out the best fit.
When you evaluate multiple alternatives, you get for yourself the best solution. The moment you figure out the standard model of your problem, getting the solution for the problem becomes an easy task.
Then the team members can have an effective brainstorming session to come out with alternatives.If we focus on the results, we are not able to learn anything new in the process.
For example, this is best applicable in Math where there are multiple answers to your question and therefore students come up with different solutions to the same problem while working themselves on their homework answers.
3. Evaluate and select an alternative: As stated above, this step involves the evaluation of the alternatives figured out for the problem-solving process. Since multiple alternatives put by different people are analyzed, everybody will accept the best fit solution since it is a result of severe brainstorming.
4. Implement and follow up on the solution The team leaders must next focus on the implementation of the best fit solution and also guide the team members towards doing it.
If you involve others in the process, there is a proper learning process that happens among all the team members.
After the implementation of the process, it is also important to receive feedback from the members.
This assists in proper critical analysis of the process. This solution has to be implemented in such a way so that it can be updated in the future as per the requirements.
But this problem-solving process itself has certain obstacles:
- Assumptions- Before solving a problem, people assume that certain obstacles may prevent the solution to the problem, and hence people may not move towards the solution or may be less motivated to implement the solution.
- Irrelevant or Misleading information- While figuring out the solution, you may come across certain irrelevant information as well. Therefore you need to figure out whether the information you are using to solve the problem is relevant or not.
- Functional Fixedness- This prevents people from analyzing all dimensions of the problem. People are able to view the problem only from one point of view.
- Mental Set- This refers to the belief of the people that the solutions that have worked out in the past would be the only ones to be favorable. For example, when you work on homework answers you have a tendency to go for solutions that have already been used and you don’t expand your horizons.
Creative Thinking means expanding the horizons of your mind and thinking creatively. Creative thinking helps one to solve problems in an efficient manner. This method solves problems when all other conventional ways of solving problems have failed.
The Creative Problem Solving Model involves the following:
- Clarify the problem before going on the solutions. Understand the problem effectively and then move to the next step. Gather data, formulate more questions regarding the problem. Ask the 5 Whys- Why, What, Where, Which, When.
- Evaluate the problem effectively, analyze it, find reasons why the problem had arisen, and then move to the next stage
- The next stage is the development of solutions to the problem: identify several alternate solutions, think out of the box because creative thinking involves thinking out of the box, have proper brainstorming, and then come out with solutions.
- Last, implement the best solution that could address the problem. Not all solutions may be favorable to the problem thus you must find out the best one.
This creative thinking model works on the following principles:
- Both divergent and convergent thinking are addressed simultaneously to strike a balance.
- In this way, you address the problem in a question-answer manner. Then you figure out multiple possibilities to address the problem.
- In this model, you basically get done away with any judgments and think about the problem with a clear mind.
- All the ‘Yes’ are focused on. Keep an optimistic mind and then evaluate the solutions. This also motivates people to come up with new ideas, most importantly the creative ones.
Therefore problem-solving is something that we deal with in our daily life and this creative thinking model can help us solve it effectively.
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You may have a problem with your homework and need help in homework or you may have a problem with certain office work. All this can be sorted out using this creative thinking model.