Developing Management Skills Chapter 3: Solving Problems Analytically and Creatively 3 -
Learning Objectives • Increase proficiency in analytic problem solving • Recognize personal conceptual blocks • Enhance creativity by overcoming conceptual blocks • Foster innovation among others 3 -
A Model of Problem Solving • Step 1: Define the Problem • Differentiate fact from opinion • Specify underlying causes • Tap everyone involved for information • State the problem explicitly • Identify what standard is violated • Determine whose problem it is • Avoid stating the problem as a disguised solution 3 -
A Model of Problem Solving • Step 2: Generate Alternative Solutions • Postpone evaluating alternatives • Be sure all involved individuals generate alternatives • Specify alternatives that are consistent with goals • Specify both short- and long-term solutions • Build on others’ ideas • Specify alternatives that solve the problem 3 -
A Model of Problem Solving • Step 3: Evaluate and Select an Alternative • Evaluate relative to an optimal standard • Evaluate systematically • Evaluate relative to goals • Evaluate main effects and side effects • State the selected alternative explicitly 3 -
A Model of Problem Solving • Step 4: Implement and Follow Up on the Solution • Implement at proper time and in the right sequence • Provide opportunities for feedback • Engender acceptance • Establish ongoing monitoring system • Evaluate based on problem solution 3 -
Constraints on the Analytical Problem-Solving Model • Defining the problems • Lack of consensus on the problem • Acceptance of problem definition • Symptoms are often confused with the real problem • Confusing information 3 -
Constraints on the Analytical Problem-Solving Model • Generating Alternatives • Alternatives are evaluated as they are proposed • Few possible alternatives are usually known • The first acceptable solution is usually accepted • Alternatives are based on what was successful in the past 3 -
Constraints on the Analytical Problem-Solving Model • Evaluating and Select an Alternative • Information on alternatives is limited • Search for information occurs close to home • The type of information is constrained by other factors • Gathering information is costly • Preferences for the best alternatives are not always known 3 -
Constraints on the Analytical Problem-Solving Model • Implementation and Follow up • Acceptance is not always forthcoming • Resistance to change • Uncertainty about what part of solution to monitor • Political and organizational processes must be managed • It may take a long time to implement a solution 3 -
Impediments to Creative Problem Solving • Most people assume creativity is one dimensional • Almost everyone has created blocks that inhibit our creativity 3 -
Four Types of Creativity Insert Figure 3.1 3 -
Key Dimensions of the Four Types Insert Figure 3.2 3 -
Conceptual Blocks Mental obstacles that constrain the way problems are defined. 3 -
Two Examples • Percy Spencer’s Magnetron lead to the invention of the microwave • Spence Silver’s Glue lead to the every popular Post-It Notes 3 -
Conceptual Blocks • Constancy • Commitment • Compression • Complacency 3 -
Conceptual Blocks • The constancy block refers to being wedded to one point of view and being unable to change perspectives. • vertical thinking: ignoring alternative problem definitions and thus pursuing a narrow solution path. • single thinking language: people use only words and verbal language to think about problems
Vertical Thinking Continuity Chooses Stability Searches for what is right Analytic Where the idea came from Develops an idea Lateral Thinking Discontinuity Changes Instability Searches for what is different Provocative Where the idea is going Discovers the idea DeBono’s Ways of Thinking 3 -
Multiple Thinking Languages • Words • Symbols • Sensory (i.e. smell) • Feelings and emotions • Visual imagery 3 -
Multiple Thinking Languages The more languages available to problem solvers, the more creative the solution will be. 3 -
Conceptual Blocks • 2. The commitmentblock : unwillingness to change perspectives once someone has taken a stance on a particular point of view. • stereotyping based on past experiences • ignoring commonalties
a. Perceptual Stereotyping When individuals define present problems in terms of problems that they have faced in the past. 3 -
Shakespeare Riddle Insert figure 3.5 3 -
b. Ignoring Commonalities Creativity is blocked when individuals fail to find the common thread that exist between dissimilar problems. 3 -
Conceptual Blocks 3. The compressionblock • 3. The compressionblock : looking too narrowly at a problem, defining it in a constricted way, or screening out relevant information. • artificial constraints: placing unnecessary boundaries around a problem. • not separating figure from ground, which means not constraining a problem sufficiently so that it can be solved.
Name That Ship! Insert figure 3.6 3 -
Examples of Compression Artificial Constraints Insert figure 3.7 Separating Figure From Ground 3 -
Conceptual Blocks 4.The complacencyblock • The complacencyblock occurs as a result of fear, ignorance, insecurity, or mental laziness. • Noninquisitiveness: unwillingness to ask questions, gather information, or search for relevant data. • bias against thinking: a preference for taking action over engaging in thought and reflection.
Examples of Complacency • Noninquisitiveness: Unwillingness to ask questions • Bias against thinking: Proclivity to avoid doing mental work 3 -
Insert Table 3.4 3 -
Stages in Creative Thought • Preparation • Incubation • Illumination • Verification 3 -
Conceptual Blocks • To unfreeze you from your normal skeptical, analytical approach to problems and increase your playfulness: (1) methods for defining problems (2) ways for generating alternative solutions.
1. Ways to Improve Problem Definition • Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange – Synectics • Elaborate the definition • Reverse the definition 3 -
Four Types of Analogies 1. Ways to Improve Problem Definition Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange – Synectics • Personal: individuals try to identify themselves as the problem (“If I were the problem, how would I feel, what would I like, what could satisfy me?”) Direct : individuals apply facts, technology, and common experience to the problem fantasy analogies: individuals ask the question “In my wildest dreams, how would I wish the problem to be resolved?” (e.g., “I wish all employees would work with no supervision.”). Symbolic: symbols or images are imposed on the problem (e.g., modeling the problem mathematically or diagramming the process flow)
Elaborate on the Definition 1. Ways to Improve Problem Definition • Ways to enlarge, alter, or replace a problem definition: • Force yourself to generate at least two alternative hypotheses for every problem definition. • Think in plural rather than singular terms. • Use a question checklist: series of questions designed to help you think of alternatives to your accepted definitions. : ❏ Is there anything else? ❏ Is the reverse true? ❏ Is this a symptom of a more general problem? ❏ Who sees it differently?
Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange – Synectics Reverse the definition of the problem • Turn the problem upside down, inside out, or back to front. • Reverse the way in which you think of the problem. • Janusian thinking: • Janus was the Roman god with two faces that looked in opposite directions • thinking contradictory thoughts at the same time • conceiving 2 opposing ideas to be true concurrently • .
Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange – Synectics Reverse the definition of the problem • Creative people who actively formulate antithetical ideas and then resolve them produce the most valuable contributions to the scientific and artistic worlds • Opposites and backward looks enhance creativity • Reverse or contradict the currently accepted definition in order to expand the number of perspectives considered.
2.Ways to Generate More Alternatives • Because a common tendency is to define problems in terms of available solutions : • the problem is defined as already possessing a certain set of possible solutions, • consider a minimal number and a narrow range of alternatives in problem solving. • The primary characteristics of effective creative problem solvers are their fluency and their flexibility of thought • Fluency: the number of ideas or concepts produced in a given length of time. • Flexibility: the diversity of ideas or concepts generated. While most problem solvers consider a few homogeneous alternatives, creative problem solvers consider many heterogeneous alternatives • 3 techniques to improve your ability to generate a large number and a wide variety of alternatives when faced with problems, whether they be imagination, improvement, investment, or incubation:
2.Ways to Generate More Alternatives • Defer judgment – Brainstorming • Expand current alternatives • Combine unrelated attributes 3 -
Rules of Brainstorming • No evaluation of ideas is permitted • Wild ideas are encouraged • Quantity before quality • Build on ideas of others 3 -
Expand current alternatives • Need an external stimulus or way to break through conceptual blocks to generate new ideas. • Subdivision, or dividing a problem into smaller parts: technique for enlarging the alternative set: • subdivision improves problem solving by increasing the speed with which alternatives can be generated and selected.
3.Combine Unrelated Attributes • Forcing the integration of seemingly unrelated elements. • Ability to see common relationships among disparate factors is a major factor differentiating creative from noncreative individuals. • Two ways to do this • morphological synthesis • the relational algorithm
Morphological Synthesis • The problem is written down • Attributes of the problem are listed • Alternatives to each attribute are listed • Different alternatives from the attributes are combined 3 -
Morphological Synthesis Illustration • Suppose you are faced with the problem of an employee who takes an extended lunch break almost every day despite your reminders to be on time. • Think of alternative ways to solve this problem. • The first solution that comes to mind for most people is to sit down and have a talk with (or threaten) the employee. • If that doesn’t work, most of us would reduce the person’s pay, demote or transfer him or her, or just fire the person. • However, look at what other alternatives can be generated by using morphological synthesis (see Table 3.7)
Relational Algorithm Applying connecting words that force a relationship between two elements in a problem. 3 -