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Problem Solving, Identifying the correct problem

Often the most difficult part of problem solving is identifying the correct problem. Many times, for example, symptoms get mistakenly identified as the problem. Effectively addressing a symptom does not solve a problem. The best business leaders are adept at analyzing situations to identify core problems. Once you have correctly identified the problem, the next hurdle is to find the best solution. Often, there are many possible solutions. The best business leaders use strategic thinking to find the best solutions. Making sense of ambiguity in order to frame and solve problems requires excellent critical thinking skills.

You may have noticed that there were some questions in the scavenger hunt that were somewhat ambiguous. In this discussion, you are asked to share how you approached "solving the problem" of a few of those questions.

Post your answers to three of the following five questions:

-Which college or university has had the most successful athletic program in the NCAA Division One for the last 15 years?
-Who are three people likely to run for president in the 2012 election cycle?
-What's the best bargain you can find for $25 and why is it the best bargain?

After each answer, provide this analysis:

-What was the problem or problems you had to solve to answer the question?
-Once you identified the problem, how did you go about finding the solution to that problem?
-How did working in a team affect your process?
-Are you confident in your result? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

Most successful athletic program? University of Florida:

The problem for me is dependent on the overall success of all sports and for women and men. There are other sports supported within a program beyond football, basketball, and baseball. The program had to have an ongoing improvement and also have all sports doing well. Rankings would have to be high and so would graduation rates among the athletes. Then I looked at those schools with a broad base of men's and women's sports, how they averaged over the ...

Solution Summary

A discussion on problem solving approaches and analysis using three provided scenarios. The problem identifies five different problems and three are chosen to show how the problem solving was approached and completed.