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My first ever OU exam in 2 hours

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 5 May 2012, 06:50

VanbeckclimbSNIP1.jpg

My first and only ever exam too as 'normal' MAODE modules don't require them relying instead on asignments.

I wish I was this keyed up before tackling an assignment, that feeling that I can now sit down and write actively, with a smile on my face, for three hours.

A lesson I may take forward, putting far more into the preparation of an essay so that I write fluidly rather than assembling stuff.

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How to define a 'wicked' problem?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 15:12

'I could use a colourful swimming costume'.

This pegs the following ideas:

Interconnectness
Complicatedness
Uncertainty
Ambiguity
Conflict
Societal Constraints

And recalling the authors Mason & Mitroff (1981)

However, I need to visualise this. Perhaps the actor James Mason (in his Nabakov role of Herbert Herbert from 'Lolita') with a Russian girl called 'Olga Mitroff'. Everyone around them are wearing colourful Versace swimming costumes whereas their's are plain black. She is black and young, suggesting the 'complexity' required here and they are standing on the end of a springboard, like walking the plank, and holding hands to give me 'conflict' and 'connectedness' even disaproval from those around them and so 'societal constraints'. All I need to do now is peg this further with an orange flavoured fruit Polo. And then be able to add a couple of relevant sentences to each. Assuming there is a question from which this 'mind dump' can provide some detail.

Why does this all matter?

I've been learning in B822 how to apply a variety of creative problem solving techniques to business problems; both the theory and practice says the the problem you are dealing with has to indicate all the above to warrant a creative problem solving approach.


Beyond the exam I can and will apply this to what I do which has in the past been solving communications problems using creativity in the execution of ideas.

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Pegging to remember a set of facts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:14

On having come up with he anagram 'Van Beck Climb' to remember the 12 precepts of 'Creative Problem Solving' (COS) (see below in this blog) I found I kept forgetting what each letter refered to I therefore visualised entering the house and in turn:

Seeing a set of hockey sticks to represent 'value of play ', while sitting on the stairs there is an adopted girl with a broken chess set to represent 'adopt the set to break sets'. Further up on the wall there really is a framed drawing of my wife 'nurturing ' the children to represent 'nurture the givens' while I imagine a far larger painting on the landing to represent 'broad picture, local detail'.

There are many doors to 'explore' and people with whom I should 'connect and be receptive to' while I must 'know what I really want'.

In a large lounge there are many people. To meet them all I am on a bike so 'cycle often and close late' however my clothes are 'loose' and i fall off so need to 'involve people', there being so many I 'manage the process' and finally 'build up to knock down'. Or some such.

Having got this straight I then hope to add detail, make sense of it all and have a few authors such as Handy and Schon to quote.

Will I get a question on this?

Do I need to? Even sime of it i'd certain to come up as these precepts are vital to the creative problem solving techniques as taught.

Looking at one exam question it said take ONE precept and write about it sad

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Creative Problem Solving Database

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Problem Solving Techniques Database
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B822 TMA2 Creative Problem Solving

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 13:18

Today’s Creative Problem Solving workshop went well.

Why?

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I planned, but didn’t over plan. I kept it simple, doing a combination of what I know, what I’ve done or had done to me, with an intuitive inclination to two straightforward exercises that I stumbled upon in the B822 Techniques Library: ‘Advantages, Limits and Unique Qualities’ is the first exercise in the book. This sounded like my people, something they’d be familiar with. That they could do. I had it down as an opening exercise, then rejigged it to the end of the cession to assess our plan of action. Then there was Help/Hinder, I’m glad to say a ‘pure OUBS’ exercise as if was devised by Jane Henry and John Martin in 1997 for the Creative Problem-solving Guide.

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It helps that

a) I am a professional (though part time) swimming coach.

b) As a director, often working with members of the public of client members of staff, I can give clear direction and put people at their ease

It matters enormously when you stand up in front of 10, 20 sometimes 60 young athletes that you know, to the minute what you want to do (and know why it has to be done). It matters to your assistant coaches too. This isn’t so different. I will be on my feet for 90 minutes (a senior squad group runs 2 hours, the junior swimmers an hour). A handwritten plan might suffice, often put into a day per page diary. This gets written up on a large whiteboard poolside. With swimmers this is very much for them to see bit by bit what is expected of them, but it also provides for the stressed-out coach with a million things on their mind with an immediate aide memoire. Swimmers perform to the second. At the top level we expect them to swim within the tinniest of tolerances, hitting during training a specific, personal time of Personal Best (PB) + a number of seconds. The expert amongst them do it.

I digress.

This was a different kind of class entirely. Adult swimmers, I could say. Not a group of unknowns though, with strangers I may have thrown them in a the deep end, but I knew with my colleagues that resting their legs in the water, a Jacuzzi perhaps or floating around in the shallow end would be enough. I was right, finger-painting, super-hero role play, or hypnosis would have been the equivalent of Mr Bean on the High Diving Board.

It would be egalitarian, whatever their position (we had directors, managers and officers). In this respect, I would have to take it carefully, advancing them into exercises and responding as they do. In practice each planned exercise came off and with care I kept people engaged in what I wanted them to do, even where I sensed they were feeling a little uncomfortable.

Laughter in the warm-up exercise helped.

WARM UP

It felt appropriate as someone they know to be a swimming coach to do a short ‘poolside’ swimming related practical. My initial thought had been ‘hot potato’ a version of what we did at Residential School and I see trotted out all the time, the throw the ball, say your name add an adjective pass it on. Exactly what I do with young swimmers as they join a squad for the first time and will soon be competing together. In this case, with one exception everyone knew each other very well. To begin to form a bond between strangers yes.

To teach sculling I get swimmers to place their hands on their face, look at the shape of their hands, then describe ‘infinity’ elbows in hands in front of them. They did a bit of this and I added floating off the bottom of the pool, making whirlpools and polishing a bald man’s head.

We did Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger in a Tutorial. I felt a quick team go of Paper, Scissors, Stone would be a valuable intermediary step. I can see now that I have this set of steps I want them to take with me, and that I have to be the judge of how to place the ‘stones’. Here I am still looking for an easy buy in.

Team Game : Paper Scissors Stone

Two goes at this and we were ready for the next one.

Team Game : Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger

The first of these drew laughter, the second fits of giggles. I don’t know what the scores were and didn’t want to start thinking about doing it often enough to find a winning team so swiftly moved on.

(More to follow once I have extracted the confidential or the controversial)

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B822 : Creative Problem Solving

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Tomorrow I run a creative problem solving exercise with 7 colleagues : perhaps i should make that 8. I have 90 minutes. Not an afternoon or a weekend. How much can i fit in? Or should that be how simple should I keep it? Using techniques I have taken part in or even done? Or do try something else? I have to facilitate but am also the most informed when it comes to the problem and its context so how do I remain detached and in charge?
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When is a problem 'wicked' as opposed to 'tame' ?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:30

 

Fig 1. Creativity Problem Solving Precepts

Mindmap 7 From the OU MBA Module 'Creativity, Innovation & Change' (B822)

Discussed in Jonathan Vernon's Blog 'My Mind Bursts'

The term was coined in the late 1960s by someone born in 1919, (Ackoff) it isn't contemporary street speak, or even in Norman Mailer's words 'Beatnik'; rather, in this manifestation of the word it is the opposite of 'tame'.

(Ackoff might be 'messy problems' while I mean Rittell here)

Put it this way, a tame problem can be contained and tamed, like a lion in a cage.

  • Chess is a tame problem. Science problems are tame too.
  • But in the social sciences most issues are complex, hard to fix, shifting, and a lot of bother as they appear impossible to resolve and whatever you try impacts on the problem.

Like trying to catch water in a sieve?

  • It is vital for me to understand that a problem is 'wicked' before I try to tackle the thing with a creative problem solving technique. Not meaning to be flippant, but I don't figure out a chess move by finger painting - though a mind-map or brainstorming might help?
  • Or not?
  • I am hopeless at chess because it doesn't respond to my intuitive approach to everything.

Is the problem 'messy'?

  • Probably, if it requires finger painting, even Flipcharts and PostIt Notes.

Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber

Rittel and Webber's (1973) formulation of wicked problems specifies ten characteristics, perhaps best considered in the context of social policy planning.

According to Ritchey (2007) the ten characteristics are:

  • There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem (defining wicked problems is itself a wicked problem).
  • Wicked problems have no stopping rule.
  • Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse.
  • There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.
  • Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial and error, every attempt counts significantly.
  • Wicked problems do not have an enumerable (or an exhaustively describable) set of potential solutions, nor is there a well-described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan.
  • Every wicked problem is essentially unique.
  • Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem.
  • The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The choice of explanation determines the nature of the problem's resolution.
  • The planner has no right to be wrong (planners are liable for the consequences of the actions they generate).
  1. The solution depends on how the problem is framed and vice-versa (i.e. the problem definition depends on the solution)
  2. Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.
  3. The constraints that the problem is subject to and the resources needed to solve it change over time.
  4. The problem is never solved definitively

ABOVE FROM WIKIPEDIA 9FEB12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem

Messes and social messes

Russell L. Ackoff wrote about complex problems as messes: "Every problem interacts with other problems and is therefore part of a set of interrelated problems, a system of problems…. I choose to call such a system a mess." [19]

Extending Ackoff, Robert Horn says that "a Social Mess is a set of interrelated problems and other messes. Complexity—systems of systems—is among the factors that makes Social Messes so resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution."

According to Horn, the defining characteristics of a social mess are:

Ackoff, Russell, "Systems, Messes, and Interactive Planning" Portions of Chapters I and 2 of Redesigning the Future. New York/London: Wiley, 1974.

  1. No unique “correct” view of the problem;
  2. Different views of the problem and contradictory solutions;
  3. Most problems are connected to other problems;
  4. Data are often uncertain or missing;
  5. Multiple value conflicts;
  6. Ideological and cultural constraints;
  7. Political constraints;
  8. Economic constraints;
  9. Often a-logical or illogical or multi-valued thinking;
  10. Numerous possible intervention points;
  11. Consequences difficult to imagine;
  12. Considerable uncertainty, ambiguity;
  13. Great resistance to change; and,
  14. Problem solver(s) out of contact with the problems and potential solutions.

 

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B822 TMA2

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Just because I'm enthusiastic about using Creative Problem Solving techniques to tackle a 'wicked' or 'messy' problem doesn't mean that others are about to play ball.
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Creative Problem Solving : Role Storming

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Aug 2012, 21:39

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Griggs (1985) idea generation as someone else.

Easier to be silly in character (see Superheroes)

1) start with conventional brainstorming to sift ideas.

2) individual or joint role play to develop it further.

Our subgroup we busy having a go with finger paints while our fellow participants went off with balloons and masks. One of this number then spent much of the afternoon, even after the session, with two balloons stuffed up the front of his jumper. (We're an all male group).

The night before someone had played another participant's wife in a 'Human Sculpture'. You get used to the idea of this, yet another person had been 'The Army, or MOD' while yet another had been an 'ego' as distinct from the person.

This is the point of role play. Feels very Ibsenesque. Or Brecht. Theatre of the absurd.

REFERENCE

Griggs, R.E. (1985) 'A Storm of Ideas', reported in Training, 22, 66 (November)

Based on: VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Nostrand. Technique 4.48, p. 163

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