On Problem Solvers

Good problem solvers recognize three realities: 

  1. The problem solver’s ideology and personal and professional ethics determine how they frame, understand, and solve problems (and even which problems are solvable). For the problems most face today. solutions spaces are vast. Ethics (decisions about what we should do) will focus the problem solver on certain parts of the solution space and ignore others. This improved efficiency. 
    Many problem solvers claim to be objective. Humans are not capable of objectivity as individuals. That is one reason science depends on peer review; we ask others to check out work to minimize bias. When a problem solver rejects that they are prejudiced, we can be sure their conclusions are prejudiced, but that potential will be rejected when the solutions in criticized for its biases. 
  1. Problem solvers assess the data available to solve the problem. A good problem solver makes decisions about the existence of data, their ability to access it, and the quality of the data. If the necessary data do not exist, can’t be accessed, or of poor quality, then the problem solver must decide to tackle a different problem or gather the necessary data.  
  1. Problem solvers use tools to analyze data. The data sets available to problem solvers are vast. Problem solvers have no hope of accurately analyzing them with the judicious use of technological tools. In addition, digital tools make a wide range of data presentation tools available which help the problem solver to communicate their solutions to those who will implement and experience their solutions.