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Becoming Effective Problem Solvers

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Becoming Effective Problem Solvers

  1. 1. Becoming Effective Problem Solvers: Separating Ideation from Evaluation Teresa Lawrence, PhD, PMP, CSM International Deliverables, LLC teresa@internationaldeliverables.com (716) 536.4848 NYS WBE
  2. 2. Agenda • Introductions • A little schooling on Creative Problem Solving (CPS) • Share strategies to frame challenges as opportunities • Introduce the seven steps of Creative Problem Solving (CPS) • Learn and use a few thinking tools • Evaluate the Session Tell a little, teach a little, talk a little, try a little.
  3. 3. Select a card that represents problem solving to you. Share your card and thinking. One person, random three tables.
  4. 4. Creativity Novel Useful Project Management Temporary Endeavor Unique Deliverable VALUE © International Deliverables
  5. 5. Creative Problem Solvers Tolerance for Ambiguity Tolerance for Complexity Openness to Novelty Being able to entertain ideas that at first seem outlandish and risky. Being able to deal with uncertainty and to avoid leaping to conclusions. Being to stay open and persevere without being overwhelmed by large amounts of information, interrelated and complex issues, and competing issues.
  6. 6. Creative Problem Solving Creative specifies elements of newness, innovation, and novelty. Problem refers to any situation that presents a challenge, represents a troubling concern or offers an opportunity. Solving means devising ways to answer, meet, or satisfy a situation by changing self or the situation. specifies elements of newness, innovation, and novelty. Problem refers to any situation that presents a challenge, represents a troubling concern or offers an opportunity. Solving means devising ways to answer, meet, or satisfy a situation by changing self or the situation. refers to any situation that presents a challenge, represents a troubling concern or offers an opportunity. means devising ways to answer, meet, or satisfy a situation by changing self or the situation.
  7. 7. Creativity and Problem Solving Leaders are faced with the task of finding solutions to difficult, complex, ambiguous, unexpected and perhaps even, repeat problems. The challenge: How to problem solve and how to decide what tools to use? Using thinking tools from the Creative Problem Solving process (CPS), anyone can become deliberately creative and arrive at novel and useful solutions…on demand!
  8. 8. For the Creative Process to be Effective • Divergent thinking: Generating varied and original ideas and options, exploring possibilities, free wheeling, imagination Divergent Thinking Convergent Thinking Dynamic Balance • Convergent thinking: Developing and evaluating most promising options, focusing, making decisions
  9. 9. The more effective PROBLEM SOLVER separates IDEATION from EVALUATION
  10. 10. Diverging
  11. 11. Ground Rules for Divergent Thinking • Defer Judgement…All evaluation is ruled out. • Strive for Quantity…More ideas increases the likelihood of generating/developing useful ideas – think idea quota. • Build on other ideas…How can ideas be extended or combined? • Seek novelty…It is easier to tame a wild idea.
  12. 12. Diverge!
  13. 13. A Story about Quantity So, how many pictures did you take?” “About three.” “About three?” “Yes about 3,000.” “I show the bride and groom about 900. They pick about 50.” That’s less than 2% of all the pictures taken. Think about ideas as wedding photos.
  14. 14. The ⅓; ⅓; ⅓ Principle • First ⅓...Obvious and incremental • Second ⅓...Ridiculous and sometimes brilliant • Third ⅓…Game Changers and Disrupters
  15. 15. The Thing about Ideas Ideas ≠ actions Ideas ≠ decisions Ideas ≠ conclusions Ideas ≠ feelings
  16. 16. Let’s Practice Diverge to Ideate
  17. 17. Defer judgement Strive for quantity Build on other ideas Seek novelty
  18. 18. What might be all the ways to improve a suitcase?
  19. 19. The Modobag: 150W electric motor; Top speed 8 mph; Rechargeable battery; Six mile range; GPRS-GSM real-time locator; USB Port to Charge your mobile devices
  20. 20. What’s with the pictures?
  21. 21. Forced Connections The goal is to force a connection between two unrelated things, the prop and the problem, to stimulate creativity and generate more ideas. These new results are often more novel and unusual ideas.
  22. 22. Cognitive Fluidity “Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere…two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun.” - Stephen King
  23. 23. Warm Ups  To briefly train you in the tool we will be using  To “sanction” the time for speculation  To create a judgment free zone
  24. 24. Let’s Practice some More
  25. 25. Stand up and Stick’em up Brainstorming • Write your idea on a Post-it • Say your idea out loud so that others in the group can hear it • Stick your Post-it on the chart paper • Phrase your idea like an idea, not a description • One idea per post-it
  26. 26. Stand up and Stick’em up Brainstorming Write it Say it Stick it
  27. 27. Defer Judgment Strive for Quantity (40 ideas in 4 minutes) Seek Wild and Unusual Ideas Combine and Build on Other Ideas
  28. 28. What might be all the ideas you can possibly imagine for the perfect bathtub?
  29. 29. What ideas do you get for improving a bathtub from…
  30. 30. What ideas do you get for improving a bathtub from…
  31. 31. What ideas do you get for improving a bathtub from…
  32. 32. What ideas do you get for improving a bathtub from…
  33. 33. What ideas do you get for improving a bathtub from…
  34. 34. How many ideas?
  35. 35. Diverging to Clarify Divergent thinking tools can also be used to help clarify or formulate the challenge in order to decide what problem the team will solve. The language we use to describe a problem will determine how we will go about solving it.
  36. 36. Statement Starters - AKA Challenge Statements • We don’t have enough time. • It’s too expensive. • We are too broad in our focus. • How to secure time? • How might we reduce cost? • How to gain clarity?
  37. 37. The first three statements block your thinking. The three questions open your mind to the possibility of solving the problem. They provoke you to think about ideas that could solve the problem.
  38. 38. Statement Starters - AKA Challenge Statements • More general and global • Consider the challenge from various vantage points • A definition of the problem stated like a question • An alternative view as to what the problem is • An insight in to what the “real” problem might be • A sub-problem of the main goal • A piece of the overall issue • Do not have to be perfect • Not a solution…Not trying to solve the problem yet
  39. 39. Statement Starters - AKA Challenge Statements • How to…(H2...) • How might...(HM…) • In what ways might…(IWWM…) • What might be all the…(WMBAT...)
  40. 40. Formatting Challenge Statements I don’t have the money for a TV! • Statement starter (What might be all the ways) • Owner (I) • Verb (obtain) • Object (cash for a TV) What might be all the ways…I…obtain…cash for a TV?
  41. 41. What might be all the ways…I…obtain…cash for a TV?
  42. 42. Let’s Practice
  43. 43. H2 HM IWWM WMBAT
  44. 44. H2 HM IWWM WMBAT
  45. 45. Divergent thinking for ideating or clarifying: Generating varied and original ideas and options, exploring possibilities, perspectives, free wheeling, imagination
  46. 46. Converging
  47. 47. Guidelines for Convergent Thinking  Apply affirmative judgement…Carefully consider the strengths of an idea.  Be open to novelty…Entertain highly original options that you might otherwise eliminate.  Be deliberate…Consider what is realistic, useful or that can be improved upon.  Stay on course…Keep the original goal in mind.
  48. 48. CONVERGE!
  49. 49. Criteria Matrix Stakeholder Analysis
  50. 50. Convergent thinking: Developing and evaluating most promising options, focusing, making decisions
  51. 51. To Recap Traits of creative problem solvers Divergent thinking – ideate and clarify Brainstorming Forced Connections Challenge statements Convergent thinking Guidelines for each
  52. 52. The Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Process – Thinking Skills Model
  53. 53. Cognitive and Affective Skill Base for CPS Cognitive Thinking Skills Affective Skills Diagnostic Thinking Mindfulness Visionary Thinking Dreaming Strategic Thinking Sensing Gaps Ideational Thinking Playfulness Evaluative Thinking Avoiding Premature Closure Contextual Thinking Sensitivity to Environment Tactical Thinking Tolerance for Risk
  54. 54. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) – Thinking Skills Model DIAGNOSTIC THINKING STRATEGIC THINKING THINKINGVISIONARY THINKING TACTICAL THINKING IDEATIONAL THINKING EVALUATIVE THINKING CONTEXTUAL THINKING
  55. 55. Every step of CPS utilizes the dynamic balance between divergent and convergent thinking and related thinking tools.
  56. 56. The Steps
  57. 57. Assessing the Situation Purpose: Describe and identify relevant data and to determine next process step. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Diagnostic Thinking Making careful examination of a situation, describing the nature of the problem and making decisions about appropriate process steps to be taken. Affective Skill: Mindfulness Attending to thoughts, feelings and sensations relative to the present situation. objective Understanding
  58. 58. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Assessing the Situation • Leaders influence • Leaders monitor and make adjustments • Leaders sort through conflicting data • Leaders are decision makers • Leaders seek (positive) risks • Leaders assess and take action
  59. 59. Assessing the Situation Diverge: Why, What’s Stopping You? Converge: Hits Diagnostic Thinking/Mindfulness
  60. 60. Clarification: Exploring the Vision Purpose: Develop a vision of a desired outcome. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Visionary Thinking Articulating a vivid image of what you desire to create. Affective Skill: Dreaming Imagining as possible your desires and hopes. Desired State objective It be great if . . . ?
  61. 61. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Exploring the Vision • Leaders identify future opportunities • Leaders help others work toward meaningful goals • Leaders proactively initiate change/analysis • Leaders provide direction • Leaders discern which activities/tools yield insights
  62. 62. Clarification: Exploring the Vision Diverge: Storyboarding Converge: Success Zones Visionary Thinking/Dreaming
  63. 63. Clarification: Formulating Challenges Purpose: Identify the gaps that must be closed to achieve desired outcome. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Strategic Thinking Identifying the critical issues that must be addressed and pathways needed to move toward desired future. Affective Skill: Sensing Gaps Become consciously aware of discrepancies between what currently exists and is desired or required. Well Defined Problem objective How to . . .? In what ways might we . . .? What are all the ways to . . .?
  64. 64. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Formulating Challenges • Leaders preform alternative analysis • Leaders go for root cause • Leaders avoid rushing to decisions • Leaders understand business need • Leaders test assumptions before moving forward • Leaders provide greater clarity to challenges
  65. 65. Clarification: Formulating Challenges Diverge: Statement Starters Strategic Thinking/Sensing Gaps Converge: 5-4-3-2-1 Voting
  66. 66. Transformation: Exploring Ideas Purpose: Generate novel ideas that address important challenges. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Ideational Thinking Producing original mental images, thoughts and ideas that respond to important challenges. Affective Skill: Playfulness Freely toying with ideas. Many and Varied Ideas objective
  67. 67. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Exploring Ideas • Leaders invest in teams to feel more energized • Leaders strive to find breakthrough solutions • Leaders require original thinking to old problems • Leaders face “what-if” scenarios • Leaders facilitate meetings • Leaders create environments where ideas are welcomed
  68. 68. Transformation: Exploring Ideas Ideational Thinking/Playfulness Diverge: Brainwriting Converging: Highlighting
  69. 69. Brainwriting - Write 3 and GO! Divergent thinking tool that gives team members a time to reflect on ideas and deliberately build on other thoughts. Tool to help deal with teams in which shy, quiet members are being overshadowed by more vocal ones. Generates more ideas because everyone is working simultaneously. Think ⅓ principle.
  70. 70. Diverge - Brainwriting Read the challenge statement Write three ideas Get a new sheet Read the challenge statement Read the ideas Add/build on ideas Get a new sheet Repeat
  71. 71. Brainwriting in Action Diverge: Brainwriting Ideational Thinking/Playfulness
  72. 72. Converge - Highlighting: Hits, Cluster, Restate Highlighting lets you narrow from many to a few good options. Hits lets you choose ideas that are especially interesting, promising, compelling, intriguing, innovative or on-target. Clustering organizes your hits into groups, categories or themes. Restating captures the essence of the cluster.
  73. 73. 2.Cluster the related “hits” together 3. Restate the cluster as a challenge starting with H2…? IWWMI…? WMBAT…? WISMDI…? 1. Mark the “Hits” - Interesting - New insight - Workable - Solves the problem - Promising direction - Feels good in your gut Highlighting
  74. 74. Highlight in Action Ideational Thinking/Playfulness Converging: Highlighting – Hit, Cluster, Restate
  75. 75. Both in Action
  76. 76. Let’s Practice the Tools • Locate Brainwriting sheets on your tables • Let’s go for 40 more ideas per group What might be all the ideas you can possibly imagine for the perfect bathtub?
  77. 77. Let’s Practice the Tools • Stick Brainwriting sheets to the wall next to your Brainstormed ideas • Hit the ideas that resonate with you • Remove the hits and cluster them on chart paper • Restate the main idea as a challenge statement (H2, HM, IWW, WMBAT) • Tell us what you got!
  78. 78. Transformation: Formulating Solutions Purpose: Move from ideas to solutions. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Evaluative Thinking Assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas in order to develop workable solutions. Affective Skill: Avoiding Premature Closure Resisting the urge to push for a decision. A Well Refined Solution objective
  79. 79. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Formulating Solutions • Leaders clear obstacles for teams • Leaders deliberately assess positive and negative risks and their potential • Leaders turn ideas into viable solutions • Leaders negotiate • Leaders develop solutions so they are less strange to others
  80. 80. Transformation: Formulating Solutions Evaluative Thinking/Avoiding Premature Closure Diverge AND Converge: POINt Praise First is a four step technique for evaluating and improving and idea. Rooted in affirmative judgment, praise first lets you express both positive and negative responses to an idea without crushing its potential OR originator!
  81. 81. (POINt): Plusses, Opportunities, Issues, New thinking 1. Plusses: Find value in the idea - express what you like about it. 2. Opportunities: What opportunities might be possible if the idea was developed? 3. Issues: Present issues as challenges statements to invite new thinking. 4. New Thinking: Brainstorm ways to overcome stated challenges.
  82. 82. POINt
  83. 83. Implementation: Exploring Acceptance Purpose: Increase the likelihood of success and buy-in. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Contextual Thinking Understanding the interrelated conditions and circumstances that will support or hinder success. Affective Skill: Sensitivity to Environment The degree to which people are aware of their physical and psychological surroundings. Solution Commitment objective
  84. 84. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Exploring Acceptance • Leaders develop acceptance criteria • Leaders intercept being blindsided • Leaders speak to multicultural/multinational audiences • Leaders ensure alignment of need with strategic goals • Leaders build teams
  85. 85. Implementation: Exploring Acceptance Contextual Thinking/Sensitivity to Environment Diverge and Converge: Assistor and Resistors: Who…. H2 IWW HMW WMBAT
  86. 86. Implementation: Formulating a Plan Purpose: To develop and implementation plan. Cognitive Thinking Skill: Tactical Thinking Devising a plan that includes specific and measureable steps for attaining a desired end and methods for monitoring effectiveness. Affective Skill: Tolerance for Risks Not allowing yourself to be shaken or unnerved by the possibility of failure or setback. Solution Commitment objective
  87. 87. Leaders Need to be Skilled in Formulating a Plan • Leaders assess tolerance levels for risk • Leaders invest in planning • Leaders create deliberate plans and timelines • Leaders understand how activities sequence and interact • Leaders tackle detailed, multilayered processes • Leaders build a “we can do this” atmosphere
  88. 88. Implementation: Formulating a Plan Tactical Thinking/Tolerance for Risk Diverge: How/How Diagram Converge: Sequencing
  89. 89. What is going to be done? Who will do it? By When? Report/Support? Short Term Actions: (30 days) Intermediate Actions: (60 days) Long Term Actions: (6 months and ongoing)
  90. 90. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) – Thinking Skills Model Cognitive Thinking Skills Affective Skills Diagnostic Thinking Mindfulness Visionary Thinking Dreaming Strategic Thinking Sensing Gaps Ideational Thinking Playfulness Evaluative Thinking Avoiding Premature Closure Contextual Thinking Sensitivity to Environment Tactical Thinking Tolerance for Risk
  91. 91. Anyone Know How To…
  92. 92. It is considered improper to diverge and converge at the same time. Final Tip – Creativity Etiquette
  93. 93. Agenda • Introductions • A little schooling on Creative Problem Solving (CPS) • Share strategies to frame challenges as opportunities • Introduce the seven steps of Creative Problem Solving (CPS) • Learn and use a few thinking tools • Evaluate the Session
  94. 94. Taking It Home Interesting Useful Intriguing Potential Uses Applications
  95. 95. Teresa Lawrence, PhD, PMP, CSM teresa@internationaldeliverables.com (716) 536.4848 NYS WBE Bringing Processes to Life and Projects to Completion

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