How To Improve Problem Solving Skills

The Rise Of Problem Solving Skills

Hi, it’s James Taylor here to speak on creativity, innovation and artificial intelligence. And today, I want to talk to you about the rise of problem-solving skills.


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Hi, it’s James Taylor, keynote speaker and founder of SuperCreativityU.

Problem-Solving Skills

It’s James Taylor here. I saw a stat the other day from the World Economic Forum, which showed that problem-solving skills, our ability to solve often complex problems, are becoming a higher valued skill. It’s like one of the top three job skills required now. 

Now, this is interesting, if you’re in the world of professional services, advisory consulting, what I do, for example, as a keynote speaker, as an advisor to lots of global organizations, is that often they’ll bring me in, not just to solve the problem, but to actually define the problem for them. 

Defining The Problem

Often when we have discovery calls with clients and ask them so what is the problem that you’re trying to solve? Why are you trying to bring me in? And they’ll give me various different things? Well, we think we have a problem here, there’s a problem here. And I see part of my job is also to help them really define what the problem is

So before we set about trying to solve the problem, we need Firstly, to actually define it, what is the real problem, because sometimes what you find working with clients is as you go a little bit deeper with them, the problem that they thought was a problem is not the real problem. 

And this is something that humans are uniquely skilled, doing. Some friends of mine that work in the world of analytics, and they see, you know, analytics, technologies, algorithms are fantastic at diagnosing something that there’s a problem there as well. What they’re less good at is asking, being able to ask a series of questions about well, going a few steps back, what do we need to be doing? Is there a larger challenge here? Is there a bigger thing here, they can show you how to improve the margins, what we call incremental innovation, but they often won’t do those big, massive changes as big innovations that could really define a field or define an industry? 

Ask a series of questions to dive deeper into that problem

So when you think when you bring in someone doesn’t matter whether it’s a keynote speaker, like me, or you bring in a consultant or advisor, then something you should be watching for is if they immediately go into trying to immediately solve the problem, or if they pause, and they ask you a series of questions to dive deeper into that problem or something, you can often someone that’s more experienced and doing because they will try and get a pause you a little bit, and try and ask a series of questions to go a little bit deeper into the problem to peel back some of those layers to really find what those that real problem is. 

So this is the fact this is like problem-solving skills layer over with creative thinking skills and creative skills. They’re very, very complimentary in that field. So creativity is often about asking questions. So when clients come to me and say, James, we want to bring you in, because one of our problems right now is we need to train to improve, collaborate, we need to improve innovation, let’s say in our organization, we need to get people more innovative. Okay, fine. Okay. So what will be the problem-solving part? And we have ways I can show to help improve innovation in an organization. But when I layer over the creative thinking skills and ask you a series of questions and being curious about it, sometimes we’ll strip that back. And we’ll find actually, there’s something behind this. And there’s something behind this that is actually maybe a culture issue, we need to really change the culture of the organization in terms of everyone feeling empowered to come up with creative ideas, or sometimes actually, it could be a collaboration issue. There are lots of individual silos doing really smart stuff, and interesting things, but they’re not joined up together as well. 

So think about that just now in your own organization. is the thing that you’re trying to do. Is it immediately trying to solve the problem? Or do you need to take a little bit of a step back, get creative, get curious, maybe bring someone like myself, and ask better questions in order to find out what is the real problem and then once you know the real problem, you can solve that usually pretty quickly? My name is James Taylor. Thanks for watching. I love to get your comments on the section below.

-How To Improve Problem Solving Skills

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