Topic 1 Problem solving

Problem solving is «the process of moving tooward a goal when the path to the goal is uncerain» (Martinez, 1998).

Even if we encounter problems in our daily life some of them are more complex, as they involve more issues and people. Most of time we have solve them without a script, adapting to different circumstances, and this is even more evident in a changing environment.

There aren’t algorithms to guide us to the solution, however some behaviors can facilitate the process.

  • Act from a process-perspective: define the problem, generate many ideas, evaluate the best idea, implement the solution;
  • Allow the interaction of person’s experience;
  • Break down the problem and monitor the subgoals.


Moreover some techniques were developed

Strategic Problem Solving: used in the managerial field, it consists of the following phases: define the problem, agree on the goal, identify solutions that have already been tried and failed, understand how the situation could worsen and instead the scenario once the problem is solved, take small steps backwards, solve one small problem at a time.

Plan, Do, Check, Act: consists of the following phases: Planning by analyzing the situation, identifying the causes and objectives and small tasks to be performed, Do the plan on a small scale, Check that the tests give the expected results and Act the plan that has passed the verification.

Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control: define the critical processes, the objectives to be achieved and the necessary resources, make a roadmap; Measure the effectivness of the process, Analyze the data collected in the first step and identify the points on which to intervene, Improve a solution for the previously identified poiints; create a Control system.