Adding Structure to the Process
There are five key phases in the problem-solving process. We introduced a simple skeletal problem-solving model in the previous chapter as a way to illustrate that. It's a good way to begin, but what we introduced was conceptual. We explained that you begin by introducing and discussing the problem. Then you generate ideas. Next you develop the ideas that you like most. Finally, you determine if you have a solution and put together an action plan.
We have determined that groups need a more structured process. Just knowing about these five phases isn't enough to make anyone become a better problem solver. The same applies to teams. With that in mind, we will introduce you to a more structured approach.
Now, structure does not inhibit creative thinking. No one can tell you how to think when you encounter problems. But any group needs to know where they are in the process—are they discussing the problem, generating ideas, developing them, or changing direction? Even when you ask the most creative people you know how they work in groups, they'll tell you it helps to know where they are in the process.
This model is a specific variation of the interactive meeting sequence we introduced previously, since it includes the key components of the problem-solving sessions. It has the five phases, but they are each more detailed (see Figure 6.1).
Position the Session
We discussed the importance of positioning previously. ...