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SKILL PRACTICE

EXERCISES FOR APPLYING CONCEPTUAL BLOCKBUSTING

The purpose of these two exercises is to have you practice problem solving—both analyt- ical and creative. Two actual scenarios are provided below. Both present real problems faced by real managers. They are very likely the same kinds of problems faced by your own business school and by many of your local businesses. Your assignment in each case is to identify a solution to the problem. You will approach the problem in two ways: first using analytical problem-solving techniques; second, using creative problem-solving tech- niques. The first approach—analytical problem solving—you should accomplish by your- self. The second approach—creative problem solving—you should accomplish in a team. Your task is to apply the principles of problem solving to come up with realistic, cost- efficient, and effective solutions to these problems. Consider each scenario separately. You should take no more than five minutes to complete the analytical problem-solving assign- ment. Then take 15 minutes to complete the creative problem-solving assignment.

Individual Assignment—Analytical Problem Solving (5 minutes)

1. After reading the first case, write down a specific problem definition. What pre- cisely worded problem are you going to solve? Complete the sentence: The prob- lem I am going to solve is . . .

2. Now identify at least four or five alternative solutions. What ideas do you have for resolving this problem? Complete this sentence: Possible ways to resolve this problem are . . .

3. Next, evaluate the alternatives you have proposed. Make sure you don’t evaluate each alternative before proposing your complete set. Evaluate your set of alterna- tives on the basis of these criteria: Will this alternative solve the problem you have defined? Is this alternative realistic in terms of being cost-effective? Can this solu- tion be implemented in a short time frame?

SOLVING PROBLEMS ANALYTICALLY AND CREATIVELY

CHAPTER 3

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