Problem Solving Toolkit

Problem Solving Toolkit-69
When faced with a difficult decision, the problem solver, Bendor says, is better off turning to “a toolkit of heuristics that can be deployed separately and combined in various ways.” Bendor’s research shows we actually have more options when it comes to solving hard problems than “Muddling Through” suggested.“There aren’t just two fixed methods of decision making like Lindblom thought,” Bendor says, referring to disjointed incrementalism and the synoptic method.

Then when we’re there we’ll figure out [the rest].” Having many people working independently on the same problem increases the likelihood of success, Bendor says, referring to what Lindblom calls distributed intelligence.“You can have a problem that’s too big for anybody’s mind, but if you break off a piece of it, it’s more manageable,” Bendor says.Evaluating something that’s radically different from the status quo is bound to be fraught with error.He introduced the idea of disjointed incrementalism, a package of heuristics that could be used to make small, incremental changes along the way.Disjointed incrementalism rang true for several generations of scholars and problem solvers.It also helps to include people from varied backgrounds.For example, a team wrestling with a big data problem might consider incorporating a visual artist, cognitive scientist, and computer scientist to bring different insights to the problem solving.When faced with a tough problem, Bendor recommends choosing among these methods.Carve off part of a big problem and disperse its subcomponents to different groups.Through “recombination,” the problem solvers design a solution.They implement on-site childcare borrowing from the exercise club model: Parents can drop off their children without an appointment.

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