How to Improve Problem Solving Skills

(Last Updated On: October 8, 2019)

Although it seems like some people have a strong problem-solving skill, there is a strategy that anyone can use to improve them. how to improve problem solving skills?

All right, your skills are significantly enhanced in this area – and the best part is that most of these activities are also interesting!

Use these ten creative tips to improve your problem solving skills, develop more strategic ways of thinking, and train your brain to do more.

how to improve problem solving skills

The glory of Apple’s Steve Jobs – in the words of his colleagues – was one of the greatest problem solvers of his time. Therefore, it is no surprise that many companies today are hunting down problem solvers. After several discussions with my students about problem solving skills, I decided to choose one of the most widely used and effective five-step formulas from project management, called Ideal: Identification, Definition, Testing, Law and Vision.

Here’s how you can make the most of your time at university to improve your problem-solving skills …

Identify the problem

To summarize, my definition of problem solving skills is very simple: it is the ability to identify the nature of a problem (break it down) and to develop effective measures to address the challenges associated with it.

In fact, in some challenging situations many students become obsessed with emotions and see only major obstacles, obstacles or problems. However, big problem solvers usually try to identify the root causes of problematic situations – the nature of a particular problem that is clearly prominent, can be solved, and ultimately resolved. It’s not bad to say that the situation is bad or out of control, because it’s so abstract and unbearable. It is more important to explain where that problem and challenge comes from. Albert Einstein once said: “The solution to a problem is often more important than its solution, which is simply a matter of mathematical or experimental skills.”

In my experience, the first step in developing valuable problem solving skills is to learn how to look at each identifiable problem. For example, recently in the MDP / Global Classroom at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), my students are preparing for a semester abroad program for sustainable urban development. A host university – Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) – asked them to identify a solution to their problem and prepare a research proposal on sustainable urban development. Of course, in the first brainstorming session, students only talk about what is good and what does not work. But it was too common for a problem-solving proposal. My proposal was to try to identify the nature of the problem systematically and by summarizing a particular situation in a paragraph.

What Are Problem Solving Skills

Determine the main component of the problem

The next step in problem solving – and learning problem solving skills – is the ability to break the problem into smaller pieces or smaller and more efficient parts, defining the key elements of the problem.

It is an essential step and a skill to develop both psychologically and managerially. Instead of facing a giant, scary, impossible-to-climb monster-mountain, you have to learn how to define smaller roads between the hills and rocks. When you break down a big problem into smaller elements, then you are no longer facing an impossible task, and can go about making several very concrete steps to achieve the goal and solve your problem.

For example, my students in the MDP program at Al-Farabi KazNU met experts and policy practitioners and identified several problems. However, those problems were so complex and so big that they scared the students, who were not sure they could come up with a solution within one semester. We had to conduct several additional rounds of exercises to define the main elements of each problem and prepare a table where a large problem was broken down into several elements.

EXAMINE possible solutions

Finding possible solutions is a very tricky step in the problem-solving process, as on the surface it looks like most of the work is already done and the ultimate goal is close. In reality, students should not try They should find the most effective ways and turn them into a successful success story. Steve Jobs often liked to suggest that when his team was confronted with a problem they had to search for “an elegant, really beautiful solution that works.”

Here students also have to remember that there are risks and factors that are not easy to foresee (but possible to try). In order to become more effective, students need to find creative approaches to mastering, with the aid of techniques such as a problem-solving tree. For every branch (a problem element), students have developed multiple leaves (possible solutions). An important part of this step of the problem-solving process is to create logical links between different potential solutions, thus reinforcing solutions and creating synergies.

ACT on resolving the problem

Developing a step-by-step execution plan and acting effectively and decisively is the final touch in the problem-solving process. This is also an important skill as it deals with how effectively students identify, define its elements and examine possible solutions; all still boils down to the ability to execute the action plan Within this problem-solving formula students should also master skills such as monitoring and evaluating the entire action implementation process and – if it is a group undertaking – learn how to delegate certain parts of the work to each other or to external stakeholders.

How to Improve Problem Solving Skills

LOOK for lessons to learn

At the moment when the problem is solved, I suggest that students sit down with all their problem-solving trees and action plans, either alone or together if it is a group project. This is the moment to look back and see if there is a need to tune up the work that has been completed. Especially valuable is taking the time to evaluate the entire process and formulating lessons learned so that the next problem-solving project will be more effective and produce even more elegant solutions.

Create “mental distance”

What is the emotional distance? According to Constant Level Theory (CLT), it is “something that we do not think is happening now and here.” In some instances there is a possibility of taking the view of another person or thinking of the problem.

Scientists have shown that by increasing the emotional distance between us and our problems, we will have an increase in creative solutions. This happens because thinking more outstandingly helps us to create unexpected connections in unexpected relationships, thereby increasing our minds’ ability to solve problems.

Get a Good Night Sleep

As with any other sleep or waking state, Rapid Eye Movement (RME) sleep directly enhances the brain’s creative processing. REM sleep “stimulates cooperative networks, allowing new brain to create new and useful associations between unrelated brain ideas” and “not like memory consolidation” that occurs when becoming aware.

Tune out some work

In a study of cardiac rehabilitation patients, oral fluid testing was performed without music and after exercise. The results showed that when they listened to music while at work, participants doubled their scores on oral fluid tests as they performed in silence. According to the study’s lead author, “a combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output.”

Keep an “Idea Journal”

You’ll be able to quickly record important thoughts, write personal experiences, create sketches, and explore ideas while keeping an “Idea Journal” with you. Solving problems by sorting your thoughts into paper and then showing them more purposefully is easier than all the thoughts that stick in your head (and will provide better problem solving strategies).

Participate in Yoga

The vital combination of body awareness, breathing, and meditation required during yoga practice has been shown to significantly increase cognitive test scores. In the study of the University of Illinois, the short response time, more accuracy, and attention was increased in other results.

Eat some cheerios (and then think about it)

The name Cheriyas Effect has been given by physicists that the last few cheerios in a bowl are stuck together. The cause of this phenomenon is surface tension.

Takeaway comes when it encounters the tension while trying to solve a problem, cling to those around you. Depending on the experience and ideas of others, even those from different career fields. Draw the connection. Emotions of emotional distress. Work together to get the job done.

Dance out your heart

Did you know that dancing has a positive impact on nerve processing, possibly creating new neural pathways that cause dopamine-depleted blockages in the brain?

This means that if you are involved in ballet or any other form of dance, then doing this can narrow down the thoughts. In other words, it can help you find a suitable, appropriate answer to the problem. If you need isolated thinking (looking for multiple answers to a problem), engaging in more advanced types of dances, such as hip-hop or tap, can only use technique.

Work your brain with logic puzzles or games

Winning tactics for chess, sudoku, Rubik’s cube, or other brain-assisted games actually put the problem behind, not far behind. The same strategy can be applied in realistic strategic-thinking situations.

To develop your brain muscle and develop new troubleshooting strategies, practice some logical puzzles and other games.

Use mind maps to help visualize problems

Mind maps, a visual snapshot of a problem and its possible solutions, help focus the mind, stimulate the brain, increase the capacity for creative thinking, and create more ideas for solutions.

Make a mind map by drawing your problem as the central idea. Add “main branches” is all the cause of the problem. Use “sub-branch” for more details.

Next, create a separate mind map of all possible solutions to the central problem. Add “main branches” that can help your colleagues such as solve problems, apply strategies, and use other resources. Add “sub-branch” for more details. Make a final branch with the most appropriate solution for the major problem. Use “sub-section” for details.

Through this exercise you will see that any “branch” or alternative is the most effective, time-saving and cost-effective problem solving process.

Play some football

Our brain has found a link between “executive function” and sports success. When in action, our brain is multitasking in moving, anticipating, strategizing, responding, and performing. Doing all of these things at once requires huge amounts of brain activity.

We plan, because, when monitoring our actions and problems, our work can be related to the world — all solutions at once. Therefore, it can be concluded that when you play football or some other fast-moving game, you can expedite your brain to think, process and respond to problems.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *