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Problem Solving

Problem Solving

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Problem Solving

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  1. Problem Solving From Conceptual Blockbusting, 4th Edition, by James L. Adams

  2. Solve This Puzzle • One morning, exactly at sunrise, a Buddhist monk began to climb a tall mountain. A narrow path, no more than a foot or two wide, spiraled around the mountain to a glittering temple at the summit. The monk ascended at varying rates of speed, stopping many times along the way to rest and eat dried fruit he carried with him. He reached the temple shortly before sunset. After several days of fasting and meditation he began his journey back along the same path, starting at sunrise and again walking at variable speeds with many pauses along the way. His average speed descending was, of course, greater than his average climbing speed. Prove that there is a spot along the path that the monk will occupy on both trips at precisely the same time of day.

  3. Complete the Sequence Below • A EF • BCD G

  4. Perceptual Blocks • Detecting What You Expect – Stereotyping • Difficulty in Isolating the Problem • Tendency to Delimit the Problem Area Poorly • Inability to See the Problem from Various Viewpoints • Saturation • Failure to Utilize all Sensory Inputs

  5. Context • Remember this list: • Saw, when, panicked, Jim, ripped, haystack, the, relaxed, when, cloth, the, but, he • Remember this sentence: • Jim panicked when the cloth ripped, but relaxed when he saw the haystack.

  6. Context • The context is: • Sky diving • Remember this sentence: • Jim panicked when the cloth ripped, but relaxed when he saw the haystack.

  7. Difficulty in Isolating the Problem • Sometimes we just can’t see it…

  8. Difficulty in Isolating the Problem • Sometimes we just can’t see it…

  9. Difficulty in Isolating the Problem • Think of a problem that is bothering you. State your problem as concisely as you can. Can you think of alternative problem statements that might be causing the difficulties you are experiencing? If so, write them down and conjecture about the possible differences in solutions that occur to you.

  10. Delimit the Problem • How many ways can you solve this puzzle? • Draw no more than 4 straight lines, without lifting the pencil from the paper, that will cross through all 9 dots.

  11. Different Viewpoints • Think of an interpersonal problem you presently have. Write a concise statement of the problem as seen by each party involved. If possible show the statements to the corresponding parties and see if they agree with your interpretation of their perception of the problem.

  12. Saturation • Without looking at one, draw the push buttons on an ordinary phone, placing the letters, numbers, and symbols in the proper location.

  13. Find Your Animal • If your last name begins with: You are: • A – E sheep • F – K pigs • L – R cows • S – Z turkeys • Choose a partner, someone you don’t know well. Look your partner in the eye. When I say go, loudly make the sound of your animal.

  14. Emotional Blocks • Fear to make a mistake, to fail, to risk • Inability to tolerate ambiguity; overriding desires for security, order; “no appetite for chaos” • Preference for judging ideas, rather than generating ideas • Inability to relax, incubate, and “sleep on it” • Lack of challenge versus excessive zeal • Inability to distinguish reality from fantasy

  15. You and Your Amygdala • Your amygdala is always on • It’s a survival tool – a rapid response to threat • Your amygdala is not precise • Social threat and physical threat both produce a response • Social threats include looking bad or foolish or stupid. Also, being dominated, diminished, disrupted, or deceived.

  16. Cultural Blocks • Taboos • Fantasy and reflection are a waste of time, lazy, even crazy • Playfulness is for children only • Problem-solving is a serous business and humor is out of place • Reason, logic, numbers, utility, practicality are good; feeling, intuition, qualitative judgments, pleasure are bad • Any problem can be solved by scientific thinking and lots of money • Everyone should be like me • Cyber is better • Tradition is preferable to change

  17. Exercise • Assume that a steel pipe is imbedded in the concrete floor of a bare room as shown below. The inside diameter is .06” larger than the diameter of a ping-pong ball (1.5”) that is resting gently at the bottom of the pipe. • You are one of a group of six people in the room, along with the following objects: 100’ of clothesline, a carpenter’s hammer, a chisel, a box of Wheaties, a file, a wire coat hanger, a monkey wrench and a light bulb. List as many ways as you can think of to get the ball out of the pipe without damaging the ball, tube, or floor.