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Problem Solving Exercise: Quick Thinking

Problem Solving Exercise: Quick Thinking


Purpose

This is a fun activity which encourages delegates to become creative with their ideas and share them with others. They will learn the value of quick thinking and quick judgement since sometimes you may need to rely on gut instincts to cut your search space and save time looking for solutions. If the delegates know each other or are from the same organisation, a common problem can be chosen as the main topic which helps them to use this exercise to brainstorming the problem.

Objective

Delegates to come up with creative ideas in a short amount of time, share them and vote for best solutions.

What You Need

  • Flip chart/ Whiteboard
  • A4 or A5 sheets

Setup

  • Ask the delegates to form a circle.
  • Write down a question on the flipchart or whiteboard. This question could be something about how to increase productivity within the organisation or how to solve a specific problem in the business.
  • Explain that delegates have 3 minutes to come up with two creative answers to the questions. Each answer should be written on a separate paper. Ask them to put their initials on each paper as well so they can be traced.
  • Once the time is over, ask the delegates to pass one paper to the left and one paper to the right.
  • Ask them to read the two suggested solutions they receive from others and write their vote on them. Their vote should be a number between 1 and 5, 1 being low and 5 being high.
  • Ask them to pass the paper they received from right to the left and the one from left to the right.
  • Read solutions and vote again.
  • Continue this cycle until delegates receive their own solutions back.
  • Ask them to sum up the total votes for each solution.
  • Collect the three highest voted solutions and bring them to the attention of the delegates. You can stick these on the flipchart next to the question and hang the flipchart on the wall for reference.
  • Follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Test: 5 minutes.

Activity: 3 min answering, 5 min voting = 8 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes.

Discussion

How did you find this exercise? Was this activity effective in generating more ideas and solutions? How do you feel about sharing your ideas with others? How effective was the limited time? Was the voting effective to bring out ideas that everyone liked without anyone being able to use political dominance to dictate the solution? Do you think it is important not to have the initials on papers so the voting can be completely anonymous?