Some Constraints on the Analytical Problem-Solving Model
STEP 1. Define the problem.
CONSTRAINTS • There is seldom consensus as to the definition of the problem. • There is often uncertainty as to whose definition will be accepted. • Problems are usually defined in terms of the solutions already possessed. • Symptoms get confused with the real problem. • Confusing information inhibits problem identification.
2. Generate alternative solutions.
• Solution alternatives are usually evaluated one at a time as they are proposed.
3. Evaluate and select an alternative.
• Few of the possible alternatives are usually known. • The first acceptable solution is usually accepted. • Alternatives are based on what was successful in the past. • Limited information about each alternative is usually available. • Search for information occurs close to home—in easily accessible places.
• The type of information available is constrained by factors such as primacy versus recency, extremity versus centrality, expected versus surprising, and correlation versus causation.
4. Implement and follow up on the solution.
Gathering information on each alternative is costly.
Preferences of which is the best alternative are not always known.
Satisfactory solutions, not optimal ones, are usually accepted.
Solutions are often selected by oversight or default.
Solutions often are implemented before the problem is defined.
Acceptance by others of the solution is not always forthcoming.
Resistance to change is a universal phenomenon.
It is not always clear what part of the solution should be monitored or mea- sured in follow-up.
Political and organizational processes must be managed in any implemen- tation effort.
It may take a long time to implement a solution.
do , you will find that the bees will persist, until they die of exhaustion or hunge , in their endeavor to discover an issue through the glass; while the flies, in less than two minutes, will all have sallied forth through the neck on the opposite side. . . . It is [the bees’] love of light, it is their very intelligence, that is their undoing in this experiment. They evidently imagine that the issue from every prison must be there when the light shines clearest; and they act in accordance, and persist in too log- ical an action. To them glass is a supernatural mystery they never have met in nature; they
have had no experience of this suddenly impenetrable atmosphere; and the greater their intelligence, the more inadmissible, more incomprehensible, will the strange obstacle appear. Whereas the feather-brained flies, careless of logic as of the enigma of crys- tal, disregarding the call of the light, flutter wildl , hither and thithe , meeting here the good fortune that often waits on the simple, who find salvation where the wiser will per- ish, necessarily end by discovering the friendly opening that restores their liberty to them.
LVING PROBLEMS ANALYTICALLY AND CREATIVELY