What is the best strategy to practice solving problems?

This article discusses the question what is the best strategy to practice solving problems? We suggest a process based on the following flexible twelve-step set of activities. However, the best approach to practice solving problem is to understand what the problem is in the first place. What the problem is without the distraction of worrying about the solution. Using many Competitive Intelligence tools will assist you to get to the bottom of the problem is in the first place. 

Keep calm 

Be calm, detached and speculative in the reaction and the better chance you will have of finding a solution. That moments thought or hours of contemplation will rapidly enhance the probability of success. Without a calm head, spontaneous reactions and actions to problems cause even more problems, and as a result, it is less likely that you will solve the original problem.

Special Forces solve problems in 2 or 3 seconds or less, but their training enables to think calmly and quickly in all situations, And 2 or 3 seconds is a lifetime if you are highly skilled, well-drilled and already come up with the problem and the solution on the training ground. 

Underlying causes

Thankfully, most of us have more than 3 seconds to think about big problems. So we have time to look at the underlying causes of any situation and inquire before identifying the problem but looking at what things were not working correctly before. 

Twelve-step process

So here is our take on a twelve-step problem-solving approach:

1. Study and think about the problem

2. Determine what the problem isn’t

3. Start generating ideas without analysing and forming them into possible solutions. Just let ideas flow. 

4. It’s now time to isolate each of these ideas strengths and weaknesses 

5. Next focus in on the three most credible, interesting and innovative ideas

6. Look at the concerns of each without looking to blow the ideas out of the water. Look at why these ideas could work. How can you counter any of these concerns and how can you reduce its effect on the potential solution

7. Take each idea you have identified and think of examples of these ideas working in unrelated fields and industries. How do they overcome the concerns, and how are the ideas implemented?

8. This part of the process is the most important. You have determined the idea for the solution to the problem that is most feasible. But is it morally the right thing to do? We have assumed that the ideal is legal! 

9. Now go back to the original problem and re-evaluate. Ask what will work and what won’t? Why won’t they work? And what could be done to make them work?

10. Study the original problem and look at the solutions you have come up with. Go through the solution process and determine if they do solve the problem. And is there a way of improving the solution even more?

11. Take a look at all the ideas, especially the interesting, innovative, surprising, creative and out of the box ones. Start building them into a workable solution. 

12. When coming up with the solution and developing the implementation, it is critical to understand that there are diverse sets of people so take all ideas, demographic, regions, culture into account.

Thinking outside the box

The drivers of ideas, innovation and creativity are people like you and me. It’s currently down to people to solve a problem. Artificial Intelligence is proliferating, but it still can’t make a decent cup of tea, and personally, I would still prefer people to have control of the solution. Not the other way round.  


The article discussed the question what is the best strategy to practice solving problems? We suggested a process based on a flexible twelve-step set of activities. 

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