Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Creative Problem Solving

Yesterday I was really pleased that PIU were invited to present at a Faculty of Science Development Day. This was a full faculty away day for administrative and technical staff. We co-facilitated the session with the HR staff development team. The theme of the presentation was Creative Problem Solving, a subject I have very strong views on.

I started by talking about root cause analysis and introduced the group to the five whys, which was well received. I then introduced three different tools:
1.     “Chunking” – helping the group to effectively scope an improvement project by breaking it down into manageable parts
2.     Reverse brainstorming  - I’m acutely aware that it can be difficult to break through negative thought patterns that can stymy creative problem solving. I find reverse brainstorming a really effective tool to help people move away from only thinking about one way of fixing things
3.     Affinity mapping – once you have lots of ideas, problems, services etc. putting these into key themes or group so that they become actionable.

Each table had a problem challenge that was generated from discussion earlier in the day. Our main aim was that all staff had chance to try all of the techniques and hopefully find at least one of them useful.

I also really enjoyed linking up with our staff development team to co-deliver the presentation and I hope that this will be the first of many opportunities.

I’d be really interested in hearing about other people’s favourite creative problem solving tools and techniques.

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