problem solving strategies

Problem solving strategies are as important as creative thinking and critical thinking. We will take a look at some common problem solving strategies and understand how a problem can happen. There are some universal steps to take with problem solving no matter which route you take.

It’s also key to understand that there can be multiple solutions, and each possible solution has its pros and cons. You want to eventually ask how did the problem happen in the first place. Part of problem solving is having preventions in place to stop it from happening again. The other part is understanding various problem solving strategies.

Problem solving is also about finding those alternative solutions that are also effective solutions. Sometimes our problem solving skills stop at accepting failure and moving on, yet there are always different solutions possible. Remember, it’s not about the most effective solution but the best solution for the situation.

Starting point: you must define the problem

There are different strategies used by effective problem solvers, but there is one thing all of them do. If you want to hone in on your problem solving abilities, you need to first truly understand the problem. This is your first problem solving strategy to master.

Always remember that well defined problems are one step closer to new solutions.

Ill defined problems will lead to a less than optimal solution. Heading to the root cause of the problem occurring will help find the best solution.

The root cause is looking at the source of the problem, which can be in the process itself. Then it’s about taking the best course of action and resolving these root causes. Focusing on resolving root causes will lead to fewer actual problems in the future that have stemmed from them. It’s going to take critical thinking combined with your problem solving efforts to do this correctly.

Effectively solve problems by breaking them into digestible pieces

Sometimes the right solution is to break it down into smaller pieces. This allows you to focus your problem solving efforts to get one solution at a time. This problem solving process helps to reward the smaller victories and enables you to continue to solve problems, and it’s easier to solve small issues, one at a time, than a big problem that seems to be impossible to solve. When there is no more problem solving to do, you are left with a variety of possible solutions.

A great way of practicing this problem solving method is to use it in our everyday lives. We all have major stressful problems at work and in our personal lives. When we break it down into something manageable, the stress is released, and we start acting like problem solvers. This strategy is perfect for complex problems.

Definitely utilize a trial and error approach with your problem solving strategy

Sometimes we are unsure as problem solvers if a potential solution will work or not. We must be ready to take on a trial and error approach to see what the potential outcomes look like. Different solutions may arise, and this testing method is a great problem solving method.

Do keep in mind that with this problem solving method, it can be applied to theory or real life. Just like we can learn from our mistakes in everyday life, in turn, we can get better at problem solving.

Visualize the problem to organize your thoughts and enhance your problem solving process

There are many factors to consider with the challenges that a problem can present. You want to be able to organize information seamlessly. This can include the right process that is currently working and the strategies considered to solve the problem itself.  When you map out the whole situation, it becomes easier to work backward or reverse engineer the solution.

Visualizing via a spider diagram

How do you manage a problem with mind maps? It’s easy to use a problem solving mine map and, in fact, an excellent support tool for problem solving methods. Several problem solving strategies can benefit from using mind mapping software. Our platform has mind map templates, such as a spider diagram which should be used in your problem solving strategies.  

problem solving mind map template

The problem is built into the center, and you can take two different approaches. If it’s a simple problem, then you can have all the points surrounding the problem. If it’s a complex problem you are problem solving, and then you can showcase the broken down components. Each of those smaller problems can be tackled, and you can also identify problems that weren’t thought of before.

Since you’re building these out via digital mind mapping software you can put as many ideas on them as possible. This leads to innovative solutions and a desired outcome for at least parts of the major problem.

You can also use the means-end analysis when a problem arises to find solutions:

problem solving strategies - means end analysis template

Working backward as a way to add to your problem solving skills

Sometimes if we untangle the mess as our problem solving strategy, we can see a potential solution out there. Consider working backward from the problem all the way to the root cause and see where you can fix it. You may also identify problems along the process and route that need their own potential solutions in the future.

You can use the 5-Whys Root Cause analysis to work backward:

problem solving strategies - work backward - 5-Whys Root Cause analysis template

Integrate the Kipling Method

One of the strongest problem solving strategies out there that can help solve most problems is this method. The Kipling Method solves problems by asking all the right questions.

This problem solving method is also known as the 5W1H method. That means asking, Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions. This will lead to the creative thinking of possible solutions and lead to creative solutions more often than not.

Always make sure to use past experiences to learn to move forward

We can only grow as much as we choose to accept the outcome. Having a problem solving strategy is one thing, but learning from problems is another. Problem solving only gets better with each experience behind you as a reference point. Those problems of our past are there to empower our problem solving skills and the overall problem solving process.

A mind mapping tool such as Mindomo will only be able to get you to reference old problems easier. You can fine-tune your problem solving strategies as need be and solve problems effortlessly moving forward. You will be able to see if you already developed an effective solution by tracking problems in our tool. Then it’ll be easier to develop solving strategies and possible solutions.

Just like we have many templates for mind mapping, you can develop templates for solving strategies. Eventually, you will find your own way of problem solving and develop your unique problem solving strategies. Sign up and explore the tool that will help you

Keep it smart, simple, and creative!
The Mindomo Team

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