The Theory of Problem Solving

Regardless of our employment status, or whether we're talking about our personal or work lives, we're all faced with problems we must solve.

Being faced with problems can be challenging and overwhelming, super-charging our emotions. To help counter this it's worth understand the process of thinking we must go through to overcome our problem. Knowing how your brain acts and must act in such situations can help you feel in control.

Let's look at the stages of the problem thinking process. To help us let's use the example of Jamie whose customers don't appear to like the taste of his cakes.

  1. Awareness: You become aware that there's a problem. In Jamie's case, he becomes aware that people are not happy with his cakes.

  2. Problem Identification/Definition: We learn more about the problem and understand where it starts and stops, what it is and what it isn't. This can be quite complex. Jamie learns that people thinks Jamie's cakes are too dry.

  3. Appraising Approaches: This can often include sub-stages of thinking about high-level approaches, researching approaches and solutions further, weighing up various options (perhaps weighing up pros and cons or costs), considering the order of things we might need to put in place to solve the problem. In the case of Jamie, he might research why his cakes might be dry, how he can resolve this, and go through some testing of new ways of making and storing them.

  4. Re-assess and rejig: Is the solution working?

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