April 26, 2006

Thinklets for Problem Solving

The latest Computerworld has a great article on ways to improve your critical thinking skills.

Five Steps to More Critical Thinking by Gary Shea

I especially liked the sidebar, titled More Thinklets, which gave quick techniques for kickstarting your mental engine. Some gems:

Personal Visioning:

Consider the problem, project or idea. In five minutes, writing as quickly as you can, answer questions like, "What do I want to do?" and "What will this be like when it is done?" No pauses! This technique brings information from the subconscious to the surface.

The author also includes the usual SWOT analysis and a Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi-esque "High Performance View":

High-Performance View:

Have you ever been "in the groove," where everything is humming along and the productivity is high? What did it take? Think of how to create an environment that supports it.

The author also includes a faceted analysis, which is really just TRIZ (article on TRIZ from this blog's archives):

Attribute Brainstorming:

Get down to basics: size, weight, color, duration, strength. This is useful for product improvements and can also lead to other kinds of insights.

All in all, it's good to keep such quickies in your mental toolchest for those gnarly problems that keep coming up.

Posted by jameshom at April 26, 2006 12:45 PM | TrackBack
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