Problem Solving Ideas That Work

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Information about Problem Solving Ideas That Work
How-to & DIY

Published on December 22, 2008

Author: thomasteepe



Slide show on problem solving. The main idea is to combine problem solving tools and mind maps.
Focuses on the IDEAL problem solving tool and on ideas on tool mapping, where you use two mind maps at a time: one problem map for the actual problem, and one tool map with a collection of problem solving tools.

There is a video on YouTube based on this slideshow:

problem solving ideas that work

what's our aim?

we present some practical methods of problem solving

what's our approach?

we combine two ideas: problem solving tools and mind mapping

what are problem solving tools?

here's a definition - naive yet useful: anything that may help to solve a problem

examples of problem solving tools • ask questions: what – why – how – who... • brainstorming • break a problem down into parts • ask a colleague • sleep over it

here comes a basic problem solving tool: IDEAL

IDEAL stands for I identify problems and opportunities D define alternative goals E explore possible strategies A anticipate and act L look and learn

why is IDEAL useful?

IDEAL is • a powerful guide for problem solving processes • easy to use • easy to memorize • flexible

how to use IDEAL

we add tools to each of the IDEAL stages

identify problems and opportunities • ask what? - why? - how? -who? etc. • ask for causes then ask for causes of causes etc. • break the problem down into parts • draw a diagram of your problem • collect information about the problem

define alternative goals set SMART goals: • S specific • M measurable • A attainable • R relevant • T time bound what might a role model do?

explore possible strategies • brainstorming • transfer solutions from another area to your problem • talk to others

anticipate and act • assess possible outcomes • make a to do list • act

look and learn • did you reach your goals? • why or why not? • potential for improvement?

what is mind mapping?

mind mapping is a special form of note taking

its basic promise: to make better use of your brain

here are the classical mind mapping rules

use paper in landscape format

start in the center ... and let your map grow in all directions

use a central image ... because brains love images

use different colours ... to add information ... to stimulate your brain

write basic ideas round the center

connect ideas to the center by quot;branchesquot; ... and give structure to your map

add sub-branches etc. ... and order your thoughts in a meaningful hierarchy

use keywords

rule of thumb: 1 word per branch ... to save time and writing space ... because single words produce more associations

use images, numbers, arrows... ... to give further structure to your map ... but avoid cluttering your map

you can adapt these rules

here are some examples

use only one colour ... to save time ... to concentrate on thoughts

use nonstandard map layout ... for better structure and overview

ignore 1-word-per-branch rule ... for more precise meaning

use short links instead of branches ... to save time

I have to apologize.

these adaptations reflect my personal preferences, nothing more

how to combine tools and mind maps

we present two ideas: 1. IDEAL mapping 2. tool mapping

IDEAL mapping use the IDEAL tool in a mind map

start with I = identify problems and opportunities

analyse the problem

next D = define alternative goals

proceed with E = explore posssible strategies

develop your ideas into more detail

if you encounter an obstacle - start a new IDEAL cycle

this example for all its shortcomings shows the flavour of the method

tool mapping: use two mind maps at a time

1. one problem map for your actual problem

2. one tool map with a collection of problem solving tools

here's a sample tool map, using the tools mentioned earlier

how to use a tool map

create your own tool maps!

adapt your tool maps from time to time

use your tool map • as a recipe book • for inspiration in case you're stuck

trust your intuition - avoid over-formalism

what are the advantages of tool maps?

tool maps offer valuable help

you get insight into your problem solving behaviour

some notes

mind map and mind mapping are trademarks registered by the Buzan Centre, London

the IDEAL tool is presented in John Bransford / Barry Stein: quot;The IDEAL Problem Solverquot; Freeman 2002

hasty, narrow, fuzzy and sprawling thinking this analysis comes from David N. Perkins' book 'Outsmarting IQ'

a plea

tell me about your problem solving methods

Add a comment

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