Developing Solutions Essay, Research Paper
Developing and Selecting Solutions
Graham Parker s Structured Problem Solving Guide describes the problem solving process in four phases, one of which is Developing and Selecting Solutions (Phase 4). The other phases are not summarized here, however, it is noteworthy to mention that Phase 4 is the entering into solution development, whereas during the first three Phases of the process, specific problems of study have already been defined, a selection process is undertaken to decide which problems to address, and finally the problem to be studied is characterized by the collection and analysis of the data to be studied. We then pick up the process of developing solutions for addressing the problems identified in the previous phases, as we enter Phase 4.
This particular stage of the Creative Problem Solving process is regarded as the primary decision-making stage. The function of implementing solutions hinges on two basic ideas: (1) consideration of the possible solutions by studying the results of the previous stages and the ideas they generated; and (2) development of evaluation criteria.
A simplified approach to solution development is the “in-house” search for solutions on the presumption that there are no new problems, only unsolved ones. This simply suggests the research team ask, “has anyone else had this problem?” Consideration would be given to a problem of similar circumstances, how they solved the problem previously, if the solution was successful, and if any disadvantages resulted from the solutions implemented. This method simply uses history to our advantage so that don t find ourselves re-creating a solution that perhaps has already been developed that would serve current needs.
A second consideration would be to find out if anyone else is looking at the same, or a similar, problem. We could determine what, if anything, they have learned to date, determine if we can be of help to each other, and perhaps pool resources to broaden the prospects of ideas and solutions.
In-house efforts can quickly bring solutions to common problems, that are frequently dealt with which minimizes effort in coming to a successful solution. Parker explains that sometimes solutions can be found simply by restating the problem, so by examining other problems/solutions with a view toward solving current problems, a solution from previous events, can potentially be redesigned to fit an existing event.
When causes of particular problems have been identified, the problem solving process can be directed in several directions, but we concern ourselves with elimination of causes. Therefore, after problem identification, we move to solution filtering and selection. With each problem coming with many potential solutions, there are going to be a great number of solutions that must be filtered in order to get the best possible results. There are several methods of such filtering (some of which are covered in the three previous phases), such as grids, checklists, cost analysis, and constructive questioning. When eliminating certain solutions, caution must be used so that the “bundled” approach is not sacrificed. Meaning, there may be some solutions that, when coupled or teamed with other solutions to form a single approach, may be the answer to the entire problem. But, if any element of a bundled approach is discarded on the notion that by itself, it would not be effective, the solution as a whole may be jeopardized.
Another segment of Phase 4 is determining priorities, cures and fixes. As a team, we must consider whether it would be best for us to proceed with a partial solution, conceding some of the problem unsolved, or would we be better served to delay implementation of the solution, until a more complete approach is available. There is no right or wrong answer to our decision, except for the business solutions at risk, and another cause/effect analysis on whether we should wait for better solutions or proceed with partial answers.
Discussion 1: The Course Guide emphasizes Phase 4 of the problem solving procedure to be the most critical be reinforcing the idea that solutions must be carefully and selectively produced in a systematic way so that optimum results will be achieved. However, Parker seems to simply smoothly blend Phase 4 in with the entire process. While he doesn t lessen the importance of this phase, he also doesn t acknowledge it as being the most important. If you choose to respond to this summarized article, please begin by giving overall comments on the phases of the problem solving process, and where you think the development and selecting of solutions fits into the process.
Discussion 2: Please discuss Parker s idea of solution transfer as related to the technology transfer . In your view, can this method in-fact produce results by simply restating the problems, particularly in the absence of any supporting data to show the source of the problems?
Discussion 3: I m interested in thoughts on the issue of priorities, cures and fixes. It is rather difficult to come up with a pat answer (that could be why there is no such thing) on whether it is wise to sacrifice time and move forward with a partial solution, or at (most) any cost, study it to the end and come up with a pat solution. As best you can, provide your views on the cost – benefit of each.
Discussion 4: “The full benefits of problem solving derive not from just fixing a problem or reducing its impact in order to improve immediate performance, but from learning from the causes and what in turn caused them so that not only can the specific circumstances be avoided in the future .this will not happen unless they are relentlessly pursued even after partial solutions have been put in place. Concentration on short-term effects and curtailed investigations will ensure only short-term survival – complete problem solving has to be seen as an investment in the future” (Parker). Considering this theory, what seems to be the benefit of suggesting that we do in-fact sometimes need to come up with partial solutions? Parker is the one who suggests both – how?
Discussion 5: Open forum – (after all, how many discussion topics can you derive from solution development?) Any personal stories are welcome that would serve to illustrate the phases of the problem solving process, and particularly the stage of solution development and selection, where used to successfully (or not) systematically solve a problem.
Maryland.: UMUC., 1997.