What are problems?
We use the word problem to describe a wide range of situations of different importance, from the irritation of discovering that the car battery is flat, to the life threatening failure of an aircraft engine in mid-air.
Objective = something we have decided we need to achieve.
Obstacle = anything that prevents us achieving an objective. objective + obstacle = PROBLEM
We encounter a large variety of problems during the course of our work, with objectives and obstacles of different types and importance. Defining these accurately is essential to finding an effective solution.
Open-ended problems occur when we want to achieve a specific objective but there are certain obstacles blocking our progress. They can be subdivided into three groups:
Solving a problem involves finding ways to overcome any obstacles and to achieve our objective.
Although each problem is unique in terms of the information involved, and requires a unique blend of thought processes to find a solution, all successful problem solving follows a basic pattern.
Read the next article The stages of problem solving
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Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.