Problem Solving Exercise: If Time Was Not an Issue

Problem Solving Exercise: If Time Was Not an Issue


When solving problems, it is sometimes easy to dismiss new ideas straight away by worrying about lack of resources or lack of time. A new idea is usually very fragile and cannot stand much scrutiny. Thinking of limitations can seriously stop you from coming up with novel ideas as you may kill them off before they have a chance to prosper.

To avoid this, a useful technique is to artificially eliminate these resource limitations and instead freely think about the long-term benefits of a given idea.


Solve a problem while removing resource limitations. What would an idea lead to if you had plenty of time to consider it and progress it forward?


  • Divide the delegates to groups of 3.
  • Ask each group to consider a problem that they can all contribute to.
  • Allocate 5 minutes for this part.
  • Ask the groups to brainstorm on the problem by coming up with ideas. However, they should assume that they have no time limitation. Ask them to imagine they have 100 years in front of them and if they fail they can easily start over again. There is no time pressure as they have plenty of time to work out any issues. Ask them to consider the following questions:
    • How would you approach a given problem?
    • How would you schedule your work?
    • How do you prioritise considering that you have almost unlimited amount of time?
    • Does this lead to fundamental changes in the way the company is run?
    • Does this change the way you look at the goals?
  • Allocate 15 minutes for this brainstorming session.
  • Follow with a discussion on the effectiveness of this technique.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 5 min selecting the problem + 15 min brainstorming = 20 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


How did this long-term mentality help you approach a given problem? Does long-term thinking help you avoid short-term solutions which are usually driven by resource limitations? What are the long-term benefits of this kind of approach as opposed to short-termism?

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The Most Similar Exercises & Articles to this in Order of Similarity Are:

Goal Setting Exercise: Challenge Assumptions
Powerful Strategic Planning Exercises to Include in Your Courses
Team Building Exercise: Aim for the Flag
Brainstorming Exercise: Design Shoes
Decision Making: The NAF Technique

Training Resources for You

Course Design Strategy

Course Design Strategy

Available as paperback and ebook

Training Resources

Free Training Resources

Download a free comprehensive training package including training guidelines, soft skills training activities, assessment forms and useful training resources that you can use to enhance your courses.

Body Language Guide

Our Comprehensive Guide to Body Language

Train the Trainer Guides

Train the Trainer Resources

Get Insights - Read Guides and Books - Attend Courses

Training Materials

Get downloadable training materials on: Management Training, Personal Development, Interpersonal Development, Human Resources, and Sales & Marketing

Browse Full Product Catalogue About Training Materials