1.3 Categories of Problem Solving
So it's a person issue, so these categories start to divide out causes for our problem into different areas. And somehow manages to think about all the different aspects kind of all at the same time in her head and comes up with a solution to the problem. This comes from a book from Von Oech, which you might wanna take a look at some time.
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Two general categories of problems and problem solving. Analytical Problem Solving is one way to look at problems. Another one there’s Creative Problem Solving. Analytical problem solving has a right answer and looking at this, looking at these kinds of problems, it’s usually systematic the way that we work through an analytical problem. For example, what’s the answer here? 2 plus 6 plus 4, 12. There’s not a number of different answers unless maybe you’re in, in, astrophysics somehow maybe we could figure out some different answer. But, you know, for normal humans, you know, if you’re not hawking then you’re probably going to end up with the answer of 12. There are four methods for doing this, there are a number of methods but four we’ll take a look at that are common ones. One is Root cause analysis, very systematic approach to looking at a problem. One is Matrix decision analysis, another systematic way of looking at this. Another one is a Decision tree with a very systematic way of looking a things. And one is a Precedence chart, which things come first, second, third another systematic way to look at things. Root cause analysis, there’s some different categories. What we do is say in category one, two, three, four, what are the causes of the problem under this category? So one category might be something mechanical. Your car won’t start, so we say something under there that might be mechanical is, gee, I have bad spark plug wires or my battery’s dead or the starter has gone bad. So we have a number of different possible causes for that. Another thing could be we’ve flooded the engine in the car because we don’t really know how to start a car very well. We made another category that says people, people issues. Well you may have somebody like a brother in law that drives your in-law’s car occasionally. And whenever they go out to start it, they can’t start it, so they’re always calling you to come over and start the car for them. You can’t figure out why your brother-in-law can’t start the car, you just figure my brother-in-law is an idiot. So it’s a person issue, so these categories start to divide out causes for our problem into different areas. And this is why we look at causes, get rid of the cause, the problem ends up going away. As we start examining this we finally find out oh, your brother-in-law is using a different car key than you are. Oh, there’s a little electronic chip in every single car key. Oh, the electronic chip in his car key has gone bad and the car won’t recognize his key and so it won’t let him start the car. So, when you go over with your key and put it in and start the car, of course it starts. Everybody thought he was an idiot. No, it’s a mechanical problem. You get the key fixed and then even your brother-in-law can start the car. So we look at different problems for causes to get rid of the final problem. Matrix decisions, we’re going to look at, at things we can do, how we can work together to make these things happen. And we’re going to see if there’s some kind of, of correlation between things, who’s gonna do things, how are people going to do things. So we’ll end up with a decision matrix analysis to say okay, this is what’s gonna go on here. This person’s gonna do this. This person will do that and we’ll get things accomplished finally. We’re going to look at a decision tree that’s another systematic way of doing things. We have some kind of a decision we need to make. We have option a and option b. Option a has some different possible outcomes. We even have a subheading under option a and that is two different possible outcomes. Under b, again, we have a number of different outcomes. So we have our possible outcomes. What do we do with this? We’re going to prioritize these and figure out which is the best outcome. So a number of different tools to help us in our decision-making process. Precedence chart is another one of these. This just says, okay, how in the world do we solve this problem? What we’re going to do is solve this problem as we start off. What do we need to get done, the purpose of this? What are the means we’re going to use to get there and then we get down to specific tasks. What are the things we have to do? So we get into some of the consequences we were talking about, oh, you mean I have to do this and and this and this and then that will finally reach the goal over here. So, another way to affect problem solving along the way. Let’s look at creative problem solving. We just looked at analytical problem solving. I’m just going to tell you a quick story about a couple that makes decisions. The husband, very analytical and every time he solves a problem, he will put all kinds of charts and graphs together, you know, analyze a lot of things, gather a lot of data. Put everything together in some systematic format, go through step by step and solve the problem and does a fairly good job most of the time. His wife doesn’t do it that way. She does creative problem solving. She just thinks about problems. And somehow manages to think about all the different aspects kind of all at the same time in her head and comes up with a solution to the problem. And oddly enough she is right 97 times out of 100. She comes up with the best solution. He comes up with the best solution occasionally. She comes up with the best solution almost always. It doesn’t always work that way. Systematic analytical problem solving is a great way to do things. So is creative problem solving. What do we learn in school? We learn analytical problem solving. Creative problem solving, let’s look at an example. There’s no right answer and we just are going to look at, look for some useful answers. What’s the best answer? When we get done with this, we put a solution in place out in the real world, things went right. We did the right, we did the right thing, we picked the best answer. Let’s take a look at this. This comes from a book from Von Oech, which you might wanna take a look at some time. It’s just kind of a fun book, a whack on the side of the head. We have five choices here. Which one of these. You just need to decide now. Take a look at this. Which one of these, which one of these shapes does not belong with the other shapes. Give you just a moment to look at that. And it doesn’t take you long to do that I’m sure a lot of you were just like that one right there. Okay, so if you picked A, you are correct. All right, so if you picked A, you’re correct. It’s the only one that has part of the shape internal to the rest of the shape. Anybody pick B? Okay, great you’re right. It’s the only one that has a straight and curved side. C, correct, it’s the only one that has all straight sides. D, hey, correct, it’s the only one with no point of discontinuity, it’s a perfect circle. E, I really like this one a lot maybe some of you picked this one if you did, good job. It’s the only one that depicts a non-Euclidean triangle into Euclidean space so good job on that one. The idea being that when we look at these, there’s no right or wrong answer. A lot of times you find in the business world there is no right or wrong answer. The organization that comes up with the best solution to a problem is quite often the one that gets an edge in the marketplace. There are numbers and numbers and numbers of stories about organizations who solve problems and can do something like increase their quality over a competitor to get an edge in the marketplace. They get things out the door faster than their competitor. You get an edge in the marketplace. They can hit a better price point and still make a good profit. They get an edge of over somebody else in the marketplace. So looking at answers, there’s not a right or wrong answer. It proves itself out in the real world eventually, did we pick the best answer?
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