Cognitive Problem solving










Problem-solving is not just an external activity, it can also be viewed as a cognitive-behavioral-process. Some people even state that we do most of our problem solving when we sleep, or outside our consciousness when taking the bus, etc. In cognitive problem solving we are trying to reach a definite "goal". Here it is possible to draw strong links to theory in cognitive therapy, as both cognitive problem-solving share the focus on coping strategies and our evolutionary drive to cope with "problems" in our every day living. In this task, we are going to explore the act of applying problem-solving techniques and mindsets to our own perceived problems.



(10min) First, draw an obstacle course with an end goal. Illustrate it as you see fit, you need at least 3-4 obstacles. Reflect alone to locate a problem. It can be literally any problem you haven't found a way to solve yet. Your problem should not be a linear one, a certain level of complexity is required for the task to be helpful. Examples; Chaotic: Irradicate a disease Complex: Develop a trust-based culture at work. Solve a relational issue. Simple linear problems: I need a pen. The examples are a bit...out there, but should work a guide to find a problem that is not too chaotic, or too simple.


(10min) Reflect on the problem and try to identify a clear picture of the problem and a clear picture of a more desired goal or state for that specific problem. Try to understand the problem deeply, and from different angles/perspectives. Use the 5 why's if needed. 5 why's Form a problem-statement to make the problem clear in your mind.


(10min) What are the causes of your problem? Many problems do not have one single cause, and you can often find several causes that hinder you from reaching your goal. Try to locate your five things/factors/causes that make up your problem. Try to separate them from each other to get a better overview of the situation. Example: You aim to reach the top of a mountain, you divide this problem/goal into, packing, weather, avalanches, etc. You aim to improve the culture at work, and you identify causes such as; lack of communication, relational issues, social structures, etc. Use this tool if needed; Fishbone diagram.


(20min) Now that you might have a better overview of the problem and the different causes contributing to it, reflect on the following questions: -Which cause/sub-problem would have the most impact if you were to solve it? -Which causes can you do something about quickly? What is the time-frame to solve each cause/sub-problem? -What is the cost of solving each cause? Time, money, status, resources, etc. -What is the predictability of each cause? How certain is it that your solution is going to work?


(10min) Based on your assessments and reflections, choose the problem that is going to contribute the most to your goal and decide upon a course of action.

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