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Problem solving case study


I'm currently writing a course on problem solving and I need to create a case study so that the participants can apply the problem solving process that I will teach them.

Does anyone has any problem solving case study that I can use for this course?

Thanks and have a great day!
Adriana Ferguson

3 Responses

  1. reality?
    Have you considered asking the delegates to bring a real live problem in with them for them to use?
    There are arguements for and against the Real/Simulation choice…..I have my own opinion but I’d love to hear others

  2. Here’s a simple one
    Hi Adriana

    I agree with Russell that their own problems can be the best ones to solve. However, if you want something for them to practise on you could try this very simple scenario:

    The hotel had lots of complaints about the time people had to wait for a lift down to breakfast in the mornings.

    Solutions could be to put in extra lifts, increase the availability and stop charging for room service, or lengthen the breakfast timings – all fairly expensive. However, by using good problem solving techniques they came round to the fact that the problem was NOT that people were having to wait too long for a lift, but that they THOUGHT they were having to wait a long time – the two are different when you give it some thought. So they put a display of tourist info leaflets, mirrors, posters, menus, etc at each lift lobby and the complaints reduced dramatically! And at little cost. A brilliant example of making sure you are solving the right problem.

    Email me if this isn’t clear or you would like some more info.
    [email protected]

    All the best

    Jenny James

  3. General pointers?
    Without knowing which of the many problem-solving frameworks and philosophies you are using it’s difficult for me to suggest anything specific and detailed.

    Having run similar programmes for a number of years I have used some simple cases to illustrate specific aspects of the problem solving method. I have used a transactional issue – e.g. back office functions in say an accounts, customer help desk or similar, a service issue, such as waiting at tables or providing carers in social care situations, and also from manufacturing.

    These all have one shared characteristic – irrespective of the backgrounds of the delegates, they are comfortable and often quite familiar with each scenario, and they (the scenarios) are also often sufficiently removed from the delegates’ own situations that we don’t get bogged down discussing a delegate’s own issues.

    Apollo 13 is another one to look at, esp. from 2 perspectives – team work including a remote element with the main problem solvers being some 250,000 miles away and also with a 3 second lag in communications – and also speed/urgency – not every problem solving method would work in the Apollo 13 situation simply because of time pressures.

    Finally, I’ve occassionally used the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and simple local politics to demonstrate how various problem solving methods can cope, or not, with the different levels of complexity and interconnectedness that can arise in life.

    I hope this helps!

    Good luck!



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