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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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07/22/11
Thinking about Thinking. 3. Problem solving methods
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:41 pm

Continuing on discussions of the interrelated topics
of thinking processes as it relates to
 -  finding positions we want  1  ,
 -  understanding what it is we want in positions (and
be able to put it into words– like what it is we are
passionate about) 2   ,
  - learning some of the thinking processes involved in
candidate selection  ,
  - bringing out some of the topics related to
applying scientific thinking and logic to what we
call work,  and
  - understanding and learning from (failure) and
unsuccessful application, interview and work
experiences  ,
this entry highlights concepts of thinking to solve problems

PROBLEM SOLVING
This is what we are doing when we search for
a job, show that we are the best candidate for a
position and, in fact, one of the key components of
our roles .

There are a continuing parade of interesting ideas
identifying what it takes and what we do to solve
problems. 

–>ESTABLISHING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Asking the right questions, acquiring sufficient
information and connecting the dots stands out. 
An environment supporting asking questions
needs to be encouraged and nurtured.

We also need to develop the skills to phrase our
questions so that information and ideas come forth.
Intimidating interrogation can shut off the “answer
spiggot.”

–>COMPUTATIONAL THINKING
Frequently we observe that combining computing
power with creative juices of human brain power
provides unmatched results in providing answers
to specific problems.  This is  Computational
thinking and needs to be thoughtfully applied. 
Not every computational result is valid and there
needs to be validation and rational sensemaking.

–>LATERAL THINKING
What is done to solve similar problems in some
fields can sometimes apply to problems in
unrelated fields.  Edward deBono wrote about
lateral thinking in this regard over 25 years ago.

If we try to apply the same solutions each time
we face the same problem we should expect to
get the same outcomes.  Maybe the problem is
not solved but hidden.  deBono encouraged
broadening the search for solutions and not taking
“it goes without saying…” as an answer.

–>TRZ and MINDMAPPING
Other examples of problem solving methods
are TRZ the Russian gulag concepts for looking for
similarities and differences where things seem
not to be obvious and inventing something new, and

mind mapping that can help communicate and look
for trends and clusters.

We are all scientists and engineers and seeking ways
to manage our careers more judiciously.  Perhaps,
applying some of the principles used in our fields
can help our thinking in overcoming our individual
hurdles.

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