Towards Solving the Problem

Part of our: Problem Solving section,
continued from Investigating Ideas and Solutions

This pages continues working through the stages of problem solving as laid out in: Problem Solving - An Introduction.

This page concludes our problem solving series with a brief overview of the final stages of the problem solving framework.

Stage Four: Making a Decision

Once a number of possible solutions have been arrived at, they should be taken forward through the decision making process.

Decision Making is a an important skill in itself and you may want to read our Decision Making articles for more information.

For example, information on each suggestion needs to be sought, the risks assessed, each option evaluated through a pros and cons analysis and, finally, a decision made on the best possible option.

Stage Five: Implementation

Making a decision and taking a decision are two different things.

Implementation Involves:

  • Being committed to a solution.
  • Accepting responsibility for the decision.
  • Identifying who will implement the solution.
  • Resolving to carry out the chosen solution.
  • Exploring the best possible means of implementing the solution.

Stage Six: Feedback

The only way for an individual or group to improve their problem solving, is to look at how they have solved problems in the past. To do this, feedback is needed and, therefore, it is important to keep a record of problem solving, the solutions arrived at and the outcomes. Ways of obtaining feedback include:

  • Monitoring
  • Questionnaires
  • Follow-up phone calls
  • Asking others who may have been affected by your decisions.

It is important to encourage people to be honest when seeking feedback, regardless whether it is positive or negative.

Conclusions to Problem Solving

Problem solving involves seeking to achieve goals and overcoming barriers. The stages of problem solving include identification of the problem, structuring the problem through the use of some forms of representation, and looking for possible solutions often through techniques of divergent thinking. Once possible solutions have been arrived at, one of them will be chosen through the decision making process.

The final stages of problem solving involve implementing your solution and seeking feedback as to the outcome, feedback can be recorded for help with future problem solving scenarios.