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Professional Skills


Creativity and problem solving


The problem solving cycle

The problem solving cycle is a frame of reference for using various problem solving methods. In this model there are six phases in problem solving:

  1. Naming the problem
  2. Analysing
  3. Goal setting
  4. Searching for solutions
  5. Planning
  6. Evaluation

The following diagram illustrates the problem solving cycle.

The problem solving cycle diagram

The problem solving cycle

The following list is the text version of a diagram showing the stages of the problem solving cycle.

As it is a cycle, the process goes back to the first item once the last item has been completed.

  1. Naming
    • Description
    • History
  2. Analysing
    • Cases
    • Consequences
    • Patterns
  3. Goal Setting
    • Redefine problem
    • Set goals
    • Write objectives
  4. Searching
    • Brainstorming for alternatives
    • Identification of forces helping and restricting each alternative
    • Identification of resources available for each alternative
  5. Planning
    • Simple contract
    • Comprehensive plan with activities and tasks
  6. Evaluation
    • Informal
    • Formal
Problem solving diagram - text version above