Published on December 22, 2008
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
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
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'
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