Problem solving. 6 steps to solve a problem

Collect information systematically. In addition to defining your problem and your goal, you should gather as many facts as you can regarding the problem, in order to have a clear picture. Collect information, ask others or experts related to the problem, search online sources, published sources or elsewhere. Once you have the information, order it. You can do it by saying it in other words or by summarizing it. Maybe you could plan it on a chart. You do not need to follow this step if your problem is simple, but it will be essential for those more complex problems. [4]

  • For example, to solve the problem of lack of money, you may want the most detailed picture possible of your financial situation. Collect information through your last statement and talk with a bank employee. Keep track of your income and expenses in a notebook, and then create a spreadsheet or chart to show your income along with your expenses.

Prepare a plan

one

Analyze the informationThe first step in finding a solution is to look at the information you have collected regarding the problem and analyze its importance. When you analyze it, you will look for links and relationships in order to better understand the situation in general. Start with the raw data. Sometimes you will have to break down the information into smaller and more manageable parts or you will have to classify it according to its importance or relevance. To do this, some useful tools are diagrams, graphs or models of cause and effect. [5]

Generate possible solutions. Say you have reviewed your information and realized that you have a net deficit in your funds (that is, you spend more than you earn). The next step is to generate a range of possible solutions. You don’t need to evaluate them now. For example, you can brainstorm in reverse. This involves asking yourself “How does this problem originate?” And then reverse what you answer. [6] You could also ask others what they would do. [7]

  • Your problem is your lack of money. Your goal is to have more cash. What are your options? Without evaluating them, mention some solutions. Maybe you can get more money with a part-time job or taking out a student loan. On the other hand, you can save by reducing your expenses or decreasing other costs.
  • Use some strategies to help you devise solutions:
    • Divide and you will win. Divide the problem into smaller parts and conceive solutions for them separately, one by one.
    • Use analogies and similarities. Look for the similarity with a common problem or one that you have solved before. If you can identify the common aspects between your situation and one that you have faced before, you might be able to adapt some of the solutions used in order to use them now.

Evaluate the solutions and choose. Just as you analyzed the raw data of the problem, you will also have to analyze everything that might be appropriate. In some cases, this could mean testing a hypothetical framework or conducting an experiment; in other cases, it could mean using a simulation or an experiment to see the consequences of a given solution. Choose the solution that best suits your needs, that seems to work and that does not create more problems. [8]

  • How can you get money? Look at your expenses, that is, you should not spend on many things apart from your basic needs such as your classes, food and lodging. Can you reduce your costs in another way like finding a roommate to split the rent payment? Can you afford to apply for a student loan just to have fun at the weekend? Can you separate time from your studies to work part time?
  • Each solution will lead to its own set of situations that will have to be evaluated. Project yourself. Your money problem will require you to prepare a budget. However, you will also need to make personal considerations. For example, can you reduce your expenses on basic things like food or lodging? Are you willing to give more priority to money than to school or to taking on debt?

Generate possible solutions. Say you have reviewed your information and realized that you have a net deficit in your funds (that is, you spend more than you earn). The next step is to generate a range of possible solutions. You don’t need to evaluate them now. For example, you can brainstorm in reverse. This involves asking yourself “How does this problem originate?” And then reverse what you answer. [6] You could also ask others what they would do. [7]

  • Your problem is your lack of money. Your goal is to have more cash. What are your options? Without evaluating them, mention some solutions. Maybe you can get more money with a part-time job or taking out a student loan. On the other hand, you can save by reducing your expenses or decreasing other costs.
  • Use some strategies to help you devise solutions:
    • Divide and you will win. Divide the problem into smaller parts and conceive solutions for them separately, one by one.
    • Use analogies and similarities. Look for the similarity with a common problem or one that you have solved before. If you can identify the common aspects between your situation and one that you have faced before, you might be able to adapt some of the solutions used in order to use them now.
  • Evaluate the solutions and choose.
    With a clear definition of the problem, start generating ideas for a solution. The key here is to be flexible in how you approach the problem. You should be able to see it from as many perspectives as possible. Looking for common patterns or elements in different parts of the problem can sometimes help. You can also use metaphors and analogies to help analyze the problem, find similarities with other issues, and think of solutions based on those similarities.

    The Brainstorming  is very useful at this time. By taking the time to generate a range of creative solutions to the problem, you will significantly increase the likelihood of finding the best possible solution, not just an almost good one. Whenever necessary, involve people with different points of view to expand the volume of ideas generated.

  • Do mental exercises frequently. Like the muscles in your body, you will have to work hard to solve a problem if you want it to be stronger and work over time. In other words, you will have to exercise often. Studies show that elements such as mind games can make you have a more creative mind.
  • [12] There are many games or activities you can do.
    • The puns are excellent. For example, there is a game to divide words in which you have to match fragments of a word to form words under a given theme, such as “philosophy.” [13] In the game “Tower of Babel”, you will have to memorize and then combine the words in a foreign language to have a proper image. [14]
    • Mathematical games will also test your problem solving skills. Whether it’s a numerical or word problem, you’ll have to activate parts of your brain to analyze the information. For example, “James is half the age he will be when he is sixty years older than when he was six years old before he is half the age he is now. How old will James be when his age is twice that of 10 years old after half his current age.
     
  • Play videogames. For a long time, video games have been considered a mentally idle game. However, new research shows that video games can improve some parts of thinking such as spatial perception, reasoning and memory. However, not all games are created in the same way. While the games in which the shots are made in the first person can improve your spatial reasoning, they are not as effective as others to develop problem-solving skills. [16]
    • Play something that forces you to think strategically or analytically. Put together a puzzle or play Tetris. You may also prefer a role play or strategy game. In that case, some games like “Civilization” or “Sim-City” might be more suitable for you.
  • Start a hobby. A hobby is another excellent way to continue developing your problem solving skills. Choose something that involves active problem solving or activates appropriate parts of your brain. For example, start learning a foreign language. The language works in both hemispheres of the brain, so learning a language will activate the areas that control the analysis as well as reasoning and problem solving. [17] These elements help you solve problems:

Conclusion;

This stage of action is an end, but it is also a beginning. Once you’ve finished your implementation, it’s time to move on to the next problem-solving cycle, returning to the stage of finding a new problem. In doing so, you will continue to improve your organization as you both move into the future.

Remember:

  • Problem solving is an extremely important skill in the workplace.
  • Being recognized as someone competent and confident in solving problems will create many opportunities for you.
  • By using a well-developed model like Simplex to solve problems, you can approach the situation systematically, and feel comfortable that the decisions you make are solid and well-founded.
  • Given the unpredictable nature of the problems, it is very comforting to know that, following a structured process, you have done everything possible to resolve the problem to the best of your ability.

References;

Carnine, D., & Granzin, A. (2001). Setting learning expectations for students with disabilities. School Psychology Review,

eno, S. L. (2002). Problem-solving as “best practice.” In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV: Vol. 1 (pp. 37–56)

Witt, J. C., & Martens, B. K. (1988). Problems with Problem-Solving Consultation: A Re-Analysis of Assumptions, Methods, and Goals. School Psychology Review, 17(2), 211-226.