Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Problem-Solving Mindset

The problem-solving mindset has synthetic nature with multi-level thinking processes involved, such as strategic thinking, system thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, and empathetic thinking. etc.

The lack of problem-solvers is a problem for this world. Problem-solving has no equal in the development of intellect and becoming more human. What’s the problem-solving mindset though?

It takes big picture type of strategic thinking and the scientific logic of system thinking to dig through the root cause of problems: It is a sense of perspective, stepping back to see a bigger picture than others. For those who are trying to solve problems, they may find the problems evolving as they try different solutions. These are complex problems that may be difficult to tame. Probably, an integrated approach includes the systematic analysis of, and perspective on the others' failures; break down and the transformation of one difficult problem into the easier ones. Hence, fact-finding and prototyping with the problem-solving mindset that cycling back through the process might be necessary so the best solution is found in overcoming the challenges.

It takes critical thinking to frame the right problem and empathetic thinking to address the correct need: Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem. Ultimately addressing the correct need is what determines the right problem. It's called empathy. It’s the ability (and desire) to look through the eyes of someone else, and to see what they see - as if you were that person - but without ever losing the "as if" part. That is, being who you are while you are looking because you care enough to want to see both why and what the way they do - even if that way is different to what and the way you see things.

Apply creativity in a recursive way for problem-solving: Creative and methodical solvers exhibited different activity in areas of the brain that process visual information. The patterns of “alpha” and “beta” brainwaves in creative solvers were consistent with diffuse rather than focused visual attention. This may allow creative individuals to broadly sample the environment for experiences that can trigger remote associations to produce an Aha! moment… In addition to contributing to current knowledge about the neural basis of creativity, this study suggests the possible development of new brain imaging techniques for assessing the potential for creative thought, and for assessing the effectiveness of methods for training individuals to think creatively.“ -Academic study

It also takes a collective thinking and collaborative mindset to brainstorm the solutions: One of the problems with brainstorming in an organizational context is that everyone thinks it is easy! The reality is that a competent facilitator (brought in at the right point -the beginning) will spend as much effort in 'problem identification' as in solution finding. In reality, the leadership team has often decided they know what the problem is and then you end up with the situation you have identified. There is as much creative thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking and system thinking that goes into problem identification as well as solution discovering!

Problem-solving is a mindset with curiosity, self-inclusiveness, creativity, and progression. Human nature is one of the components in a self-inclusive model: in other words, they should be included as partners in taking challenges of solving complex problems facing humanity.


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