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Problem Solving Through Programming in C

In this lesson, we are going to learn Problem Solving Through Programming in C. This is the first lesson while we start learning the C language.

So let’s start learning the C language.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Problem Solving Through Programming in C

Regardless of the area of the study, computer science is all about solving problems with computers. The problem that we want to solve can come from any real-world problem or perhaps even from the abstract world. We need to have a standard systematic approach to problem solving through programming in c.

computer programmers are problem solvers. In order to solve a problem on a computer, we must know how to represent the information describing the problem and determine the steps to transform the information from one representation into another.

In this chapter, we will learn problem-solving and steps in problem-solving, basic tools for designing solution as an algorithm, flowchart , pseudo code etc.

A computer is a very powerful and versatile machine capable of performing a multitude of different tasks, yet it has no intelligence or thinking power.

The Computer performs many tasks exactly in the same manner as it is told to do. This places responsibility on the user to instruct the computer in a correct and precise manner so that the machine is able to perform the required job in a proper way. A wrong or ambiguous instruction may sometimes prove dangerous.

The computer cannot solve the problem on its own, one has to provide step by step solutions of the problem to the computer. In fact, the task of problem-solving is not that of the computer.

It is the programmer who has to write down the solution to the problem in terms of simple operations which the computer can understand and execute.

Problem-solving is a sequential process of analyzing information related to a given situation and generating appropriate response options.

In order to solve a problem with the computer, one has to pass through certain stages or steps. They are as follows:

Steps to Solve a Problem With the Computer

problem solving through programming in c

Step 1: Understanding the Problem:

Here we try to understand the problem to be solved in totally. Before with the next stage or step, we should be absolutely sure about the objectives of the given problem.

Step 2: Analyzing the Problem:

After understanding thoroughly the problem to be solved, we look at different ways of solving the problem and evaluate each of these methods.

The idea here is to search for an appropriate solution to the problem under consideration. The end result of this stage is a broad overview of the sequence of operations that are to be carried out to solve the given problem.

Step 3: Developing the solution:

Here, the overview of the sequence of operations that was the result of the analysis stage is expanded to form a detailed step by step solution to the problem under consideration.

Step 4: Coding and Implementation:

The last stage of problem-solving is the conversion of the detailed sequence of operations into a language that the computer can understand. Here, each step is converted to its equivalent instruction or instructions in the computer language that has been chosen for the implantation.

The vehicle for the computer solution to a problem is a set of explicit and unambiguous instructions expressed in a programming language. This set of instruction is called a program with problem solving through programming in C .

A program may also be thought of as an algorithm expressed in a programming language. an algorithm, therefore, corresponds to a solution to a problem that is independent of any programming language .

To obtain the computer solution to a problem once we have the program we usually have to supply the program with input or data. The program then takes this input and manipulates it according to its instructions. Eventually produces an output which represents the computer solution to the problem.

The problem solving is a skill and there are no universal approaches one can take to solving problems. Basically one must explore possible avenues to a solution one by one until she/he comes across the right path to a solution.

In general, as one gains experience in solving problems, one develops one’s own techniques and strategies, though they are often intangible. Problem-solving skills are recognized as an integral component of computer programming.

Note: Practice C Programs for problem solving through programming in C.

Problem Solving Steps

Problem-solving is a creative process which defines systematization and mechanization. There are a number of steps that can be taken to raise the level of one’s performance in problem-solving.

A problem-solving technique follows certain steps in finding the solution to a problem. Let us look into the steps one by one:

1. Problem Definition Phase:

The success in solving any problem is possible only after the problem has been fully understood. That is, we cannot hope to solve a problem, which we do not understand. So, the problem understanding is the first step towards the solution of the problem.

In the problem definition phase, we must emphasize what must be done rather than how is it to be done. That is, we try to extract the precisely defined set of tasks from the problem statement.

Inexperienced problem solvers too often gallop ahead with the task of the problem – solving only to find that they are either solving the wrong problem or solving the wrong problem or solving just one particular problem.

2. Getting Started on a Problem:

There are many ways of solving a problem and there may be several solutions. So, it is difficult to recognize immediately which path could be more productive. Problem solving through programming in C.

Sometimes you do not have any idea where to begin solving a problem, even if the problem has been defined. Such block sometimes occurs because you are overly concerned with the details of the implementation even before you have completely understood or worked out a solution.

The best advice is not to get concerned with the details. Those can come later when the intricacies of the problem have been understood.

3. Use of Specific Examples:

To get started on a problem, we can make use of heuristics i.e the rule of thumb. This approach will allow us to start on the problem by picking a specific problem we wish to solve and try to work out the mechanism that will allow solving this particular problem.

It is usually much easier to work out the details of a solution to a specific problem because the relationship between the mechanism and the problem is more clearly defined.

This approach of focusing on a particular problem can give us the foothold we need for making a start on the solution to the general problem.

4. Similarities Among Problems:

One way to make a start is by considering a specific example. Another approach is to bring the experience to bear on the current problems. So, it is important to see if there are any similarities between the current problem and the past problems which we have solved.

The more experience one has the more tools and techniques one can bring to bear in tackling the given problem. But sometimes, it blocks us from discovering a desirable or better solution to the problem.

A skill that is important to try to develop in problem-solving is the ability to view a problem from a variety of angles.

One must be able to metaphorically turn a problem upside down, inside out, sideways, backwards, forwards and so on. Once one has developed this skill it should be possible to get started on any problem.

5. Working Backwards from the Solution:

In some cases, we can assume that we already have the solution to the problem and then try to work backwards to the starting point. Even a guess at the solution to the problem may be enough to give us a foothold to start on the problem.

We can systematize the investigations and avoid duplicate efforts by writing down the various steps taken and explorations made.

Another practice that helps to develop the problem-solving skills, once we have solved a problem, to consciously reflect back on the way we went about discovering the solution.

General Problem Solving Strategies:

problem solving through programming in c

There are a number of general and powerful computational strategies that are repeatedly used in various guises in computer science.

Often it is possible to phrase a problem in terms of one of these strategies and achieve considerable gains in computational efficiency.

1. Divide and Conquer:

The most widely known and used strategy, where the basic idea is to break down the original problem into two or more sub-problems, which is presumably easier or more efficient to solve.

The Splitting can be carried on further so that eventually we have many sub-problems, so small that further splitting is no necessary to solve them. We shall see many examples of this strategy and discuss the gain in efficiency due to its application.

2. Binary Doubling:

This is the reverse of the divide and conquers strategy i.e build-up the solution for a larger problem from solutions and smaller sub-problems.

3. Dynamic Programming:

Another general strategy for problem-solving which is useful when we can build-up the solution as a sequence of the intermediate steps. Problem Solving through programming in C.

The travelling salesman problem falls into this category. The idea here is that a good or optimal solution to a problem can be built-up from good or optimal solutions of the sub-problems.

4. General Search, Back Tracking and Branch-and-Bound:

All of these are variants of the basic dynamic programming strategy but are equally important.

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Problem Solving with Computer

By Bipin Tiwari

Problem Solving is a scientific technique to discover and implement the answer to a problem. The computer is the symbol manipulating device that follows the set of commands known as program.

Program is the set of instructions which is run by the computer to perform specific task. The task of developing program is called programming.

Problem Solving Technique:

Sometimes it is not sufficient just to cope with problems. We have to solve that problems. Most people are involving to solve the problem. These problem are occur while performing small task or making small decision. So, Here are the some basic steps to solve the problems

Step 1: Identify and Define Problem

Explain you problem clearly as possible as you can.

Step 2: Generate Possible Solutions

  • List out all the solution that you find. Don’t focus on the quality of the solution
  • Generate the maximum number of solution as you can without considering the quality of the solution

Step 3: Evaluate Alternatives

After generating the maximum solution, Remove the undesired solutions.

Step 4: Decide a Solution

After filtering all the solution, you have the best solution only. Then choose on of the best solution and make a decision to make it as a perfect solution.

Step 5: Implement a Solution:

After getting the best solution, Implement that solution to solve a problem.

Step 6: Evaluate the result

After implementing a best solution, Evaluate how much you solution solve the problem. If your solution will not solve the problem then you can again start with Step 2 .

Algorithm is the set of rules that define how particular problem can be solved in finite number of steps. Any good algorithm must have following characteristics

  • Input: Specify and require input
  • Output:  Solution of any problem
  • Definite:  Solution must be clearly defined
  • Finite: Steps must be finite
  • Correct:  Correct output must be generated

Advantages of Algorithms:

  • It is the way to sole a problem step-wise so it is easy to understand.
  • It uses definite procedure.
  • It is not dependent with any programming language.
  • Each step has it own meaning so it is easy to debug

Disadvantage of Algorithms:

  • It is time consuming
  • Difficult to show branching and looping statement
  • Large problems are difficult to implement

The solution of any problem in picture form is called flowchart. It is the one of the most important technique to depict an algorithm.

Advantage of Flowchart:

  • Easier to understand
  • Helps to understand logic of problem
  • Easy to draw flowchart in any software like MS-Word
  • Complex problem can be represent using less symbols
  • It is the way to documenting any problem
  • Helps in debugging process

Disadvantage of Flowchart:

  • For any change, Flowchart have to redrawn
  • Showing many looping and branching become complex
  • Modification of flowchart is time consuming

Symbol Used in Flowchart:

Example: Algorithm and Flowchart to check odd or even

Coding, Compiling and Execution

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  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • NOC:Problem Solving through Programming in C (Video) 
  • Co-ordinated by : IIT Kharagpur
  • Available from : 2017-12-21
  • Intro Video
  • Lecture 1 : Introduction
  • Lecture 2 : Idea of Algorithms
  • Lecture 3 : Flow Chart and Pseudocode
  • Lecture 4 : Introduction to Programming Language Concepts
  • Lecture 5 : Variables and Memory
  • Lecture 6 : Types of Software and Compilers
  • Lecture 7 : Introduction to C Programming Language
  • Lecture 8 : Variables and Variable Types in C
  • Lecture 9 : Introducing Functions
  • Lecture 10 : Address and Content of Variables and Types
  • Lecture 11 : Assignment Statement and Operators in C
  • Lecture 12 : Arithmetic Expressions and Relational Expressions
  • Lecture 13 : Logical Operators and Change in Control Flow
  • Lecture 14 : Use of Logical Operaotrs in Branching
  • Lecture 15 : Branching : IF - ELSE Statement
  • Lecture 16 : IF-ELSE Statement (Contd.)
  • Lecture 17 : Switch statement
  • Lecture 18 : Switch Statement (Contd.) and Introduction to Loops
  • Lecture 19 : Implementing Repetitions (Loops)
  • Lecture 20 : Implementation of Loops with for Statement (Contd.)
  • Lecture 21 : For Statement (Contd.)
  • Lecture 22 : Example of If-Else
  • Lecture 23 : Example of Loops
  • Lecture 24 : Example of Loops (Contd.)
  • Lecture 25: Example of Loops (Contd.), Use of FOR Loops
  • Lecture 26 : Introduction to Arrays
  • Lecture 27 : Arrays (Contd.)
  • Lecture 28 : Arrays (Contd.)
  • Lecture 29 : Program using Arrays
  • Lecture 30 : Array Problem
  • Lecture 31 : Linear Search
  • Lecture 32 : Character Array and Strings
  • Lecture 33 : String Operations
  • Lecture 34 : 2-D Array Operation
  • Lecture 35 : Introducing Functions
  • Lecture 36 : More on Functions
  • Lecture 37 : Function (Contd.)
  • Lecture 38 : Scanf and Printf Functions; Function Prototype
  • Lecture 39 : Parameter Passing in Function Revision
  • Lecture 40 : Parameter Passing in Function Revision (Contd.)
  • Lecture 41: Substitution of # include and Macro
  • Lecture 42: "search" as a function
  • Lecture 43: Binary Search
  • Lecture 44: Binary Search (Contd.)
  • Lecture 45: Sorting Methods
  • Lecture 46 : Bubble Sort (Contd.)
  • Lecture 47 : Use of Pointer in Function : Context Bubble Sort
  • Lecture 48 : Arrays at Strings
  • Lecture 49 : Data Representation
  • Lecture 50 : Bisection Method
  • Lecture 51 : Interpolation
  • Lecture 52 : Trapezoidal Rule and Runge-Kutta Method
  • Lecture 53 : Recursion
  • Lecture 54 : Recursion(Contd.)
  • Lecture 55 : Structure
  • Lecture 56 : Structure (Contd.)
  • Lecture 57 : Structure with typedef
  • Lecture 58 : Pointer
  • Lecture 59 : Pointer (Contd.)
  • Lecture 60 : Pointer in Structures
  • Lecture 61 : Dynamic Allocation and File
  • Week 2 - PMRF Live Session
  • Week 3 - PMRF Live Session
  • Watch on YouTube
  • Assignments
  • Download Videos
  • Transcripts
  • Handouts (3)

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Problem Solving and Programming In C Notes and Study Material PDF Free Download

Problem Solving and Programming in C Notes: C is one of the popular programming languages that are simple and flexible. It is a general-purpose programming language that is widely used in different kinds of applications. Operating Systems like Windows and many others are written in C language. Git, Python Interpreter, and Oracle Database are also written in C. This language is often called the base knowledge of programming. If you know this language, it becomes easier for you to learn any other programming language. This is a simple language which can provide faster execution. The demand for C developers is very high in the job market. This programming language can extend itself. It contains various kinds of functions that are part of the library. In this article, you will find complete details about problem-solving and programming of C language Lecture Notes .

Problem Solving And Programming In C Notes and Study Material PDF Free Download

Problem solving and programming in c reference books, problem solving and programming in c curriculum, list of problem solving and programming in c important questions.

  • FAQs on Problem Solving And Programming In C Notes

Introduction to Problem Solving And Programming In C

Ritchie first developed this language in 1972. It is a structured language that is widely used in the software development field. For every software developer, it is important to know the C language. This language can handle low-level activities and can be compiled easily. This language is primarily used in UNIX. This language is the successor of the B language. C language is used in databases, utilities, text editors, assemblers, operating systems, and language compilers. In C programming course, you will learn this programming language from scratch. You will find all the study materials of this widely used language from this article.

Anyone interested in making a career in software development should learn C programming. It is because this language is considered as the base language of every other programming language. If you plan to do a course on C programming, you can find the right study material through this article. We have made a list of some important study materials on C programming. You can check out computer programming terminologies once before starting C programming course.

It is a relatively small language, but it is very useful. You need to learn some simple things in C programming. This language was mainly discovered so that programmers can interact with the machines efficiently. To learn this language, you must read the right set of books. We have made a list of some important books on C language.

  • C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide.
  • C Programming Language.
  • The C Programming Language 2nd Edition.
  • C Programming: A Modern Approach.
  • Expert C Programming: Deep Secrets.
  • C: The Complete Reference.
  • Head First C: A Brain-Friendly Guide.
  • Computer Fundamentals and Programming in C.
  • Low-Level Programming by Igor Zhirkov
  • C in a Nutshell by Peter Prinz & Tony Crawford

Before starting the course on C programming, you must know the syllabus. It is crucial to understand the syllabus. The syllabus of C programming varies depending on the type of course and institution. However, the basic structure of the C programming’s syllabus remains the same. In this article, you will get to know about the necessary details taught in C programming.

C Programming Language Syllabus

Fundamentals of C Language

About C tutorial

Important points about C

Applications of C

C Language and English Language

Features of C

C, C++ and Java

Overview of C Language

History of C

First Program in C Hello World

Basic Structure of C Programming

Tokens in C

Keywords in C

Identifiers in C

Format Specifiers

Format Specifiers Examples

Data Types in C Language

Introduction to Data Types in C

int Data Type in C

float Data Type in C

double Data Type in C

char Data Type in C

Variable in C Language

Variable Introduction in C

Variable Declaration and Initialization

Variable types and Scope in C

Local Variable in C

static Variable in C

Global variables in C

Storage Class in C

Constant in C Language

Constants in C

Operators and Enums in C Language

Introduction to Operator

Arithmetic Operators in C

Relational Operators in C

Bit-wise Operators in C

Logical Operators in C

Assignment Operators in C

Conditional Operator in C

size of() Operator in C

Operator Precedence

Decision Making of C Language

Decision Making in C Introduction

if Statement

if-else Statement

Nested if Statement

if- else if Ladder

switch case

Loop control in C Language

Loop Introduction in C

while loop in C

do-while Loop In C

for Loop in C

Control Flow in C Programming

break Statement in C

continue Statement in C

goto statement in C

Array in C Language

Single Dimensional Array

Multi-Dimensional Array in C

String in C Language

Introduction to String

Function in C Language

Function in C

Function Calling in C

return type in Function

Call by Value in C

User Define Function

Predefined Functions

String functions in C

All String Functions

strcat() function

strncat() function

strcpy() function

strncpy() function

strlen() function

strcmp() function

strcmpi() function

strchr() function

strrchr() function

strstr() function

strrstr() function

strdup() function

strlwr() function

strupr() function

strrev() function

strset() function

strnset() function

strtok() function

Recursion in c

Introduction to Recursion

Direct and Indirect Recursion

Pointer in C Language

Pointer in C

types of pointer

NULL pointer

Dangling Pointer

Void/Generic Pointers

Wild Pointer

Near, Far and Huge Pointer

Pointer Expressions and Arithmetic

Pointer and Array

Strings as pointers

Pointer to Function

Call by Reference in C

Structure in C Language

Structure in C

Nested Structure in C

The array of Structures in C

Pointer to Structure

Structure to Function in C

typedef in C

typedef vs #define in C

Union in C Language

File Input/Output

Introduction to File

File Operation in c

Dynamic Memory Allocation

Introduction to DMA

calloc() and free() function

realloc() and free() function

C Pre-processor

Introduction about Pre-processor

  • What is the difference between ++i and i++?
  • Give a brief note on the volatile keyword.
  • What are the basic data types related to C?
  • Explain syntax errors.
  • How can you create a decrement and increment statement in C?
  • Explain dangling pointer in C.
  • What is called the prototype function in C?
  • What is a header file? Explain its usage in C programming.
  • Explain pointer on a pointer in C language.
  • How can you save data in a stack data structure type?

FAQs on Problem Solving and Programming in C Notes

Question 1. What is called the C language?

Answer: C is one of the popular programming languages that are simple and flexible. It is a general-purpose programming language that is widely used in different kinds of applications.

Question 2. What kind of software is written in the C language?

Answer: Operating Systems like Windows and many others are written in C language. Git, Python Interpreter, and Oracle Database are also written in C.

Question 3. When was C language developed?

Ritchie first developed the C language in 1972. It is a structured language that is widely used in the software development field.

Question 4. Is it tough to learn the C language?

Answer: It is not that difficult to learn the C language. C language is often called the base language in programming. After learning the C language, it becomes easier to learn other programming languages like C++, Java, C# etc.

The information provided above regarding the syllabus and study materials for C programming will help in your study. If you have any other questions regarding C programming study materials, please let us know in the comment section.

35 problem-solving techniques and methods for solving complex problems

Problem solving workshop

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All teams and organizations encounter challenges as they grow. There are problems that might occur for teams when it comes to miscommunication or resolving business-critical issues . You may face challenges around growth , design , user engagement, and even team culture and happiness. In short, problem-solving techniques should be part of every team’s skillset.

Problem-solving methods are primarily designed to help a group or team through a process of first identifying problems and challenges , ideating possible solutions , and then evaluating the most suitable .

Finding effective solutions to complex problems isn’t easy, but by using the right process and techniques, you can help your team be more efficient in the process.

So how do you develop strategies that are engaging, and empower your team to solve problems effectively?

In this blog post, we share a series of problem-solving tools you can use in your next workshop or team meeting. You’ll also find some tips for facilitating the process and how to enable others to solve complex problems.

Let’s get started! 

How do you identify problems?

How do you identify the right solution.

  • Tips for more effective problem-solving

Complete problem-solving methods

  • Problem-solving techniques to identify and analyze problems
  • Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions

Problem-solving warm-up activities

Closing activities for a problem-solving process.

Before you can move towards finding the right solution for a given problem, you first need to identify and define the problem you wish to solve. 

Here, you want to clearly articulate what the problem is and allow your group to do the same. Remember that everyone in a group is likely to have differing perspectives and alignment is necessary in order to help the group move forward. 

Identifying a problem accurately also requires that all members of a group are able to contribute their views in an open and safe manner. It can be scary for people to stand up and contribute, especially if the problems or challenges are emotive or personal in nature. Be sure to try and create a psychologically safe space for these kinds of discussions.

Remember that problem analysis and further discussion are also important. Not taking the time to fully analyze and discuss a challenge can result in the development of solutions that are not fit for purpose or do not address the underlying issue.

Successfully identifying and then analyzing a problem means facilitating a group through activities designed to help them clearly and honestly articulate their thoughts and produce usable insight.

With this data, you might then produce a problem statement that clearly describes the problem you wish to be addressed and also state the goal of any process you undertake to tackle this issue.  

Finding solutions is the end goal of any process. Complex organizational challenges can only be solved with an appropriate solution but discovering them requires using the right problem-solving tool.

After you’ve explored a problem and discussed ideas, you need to help a team discuss and choose the right solution. Consensus tools and methods such as those below help a group explore possible solutions before then voting for the best. They’re a great way to tap into the collective intelligence of the group for great results!

Remember that the process is often iterative. Great problem solvers often roadtest a viable solution in a measured way to see what works too. While you might not get the right solution on your first try, the methods below help teams land on the most likely to succeed solution while also holding space for improvement.

Every effective problem solving process begins with an agenda . A well-structured workshop is one of the best methods for successfully guiding a group from exploring a problem to implementing a solution.

In SessionLab, it’s easy to go from an idea to a complete agenda . Start by dragging and dropping your core problem solving activities into place . Add timings, breaks and necessary materials before sharing your agenda with your colleagues.

The resulting agenda will be your guide to an effective and productive problem solving session that will also help you stay organized on the day!

problem solving techniques using c notes

Tips for more effective problem solving

Problem-solving activities are only one part of the puzzle. While a great method can help unlock your team’s ability to solve problems, without a thoughtful approach and strong facilitation the solutions may not be fit for purpose.

Let’s take a look at some problem-solving tips you can apply to any process to help it be a success!

Clearly define the problem

Jumping straight to solutions can be tempting, though without first clearly articulating a problem, the solution might not be the right one. Many of the problem-solving activities below include sections where the problem is explored and clearly defined before moving on.

This is a vital part of the problem-solving process and taking the time to fully define an issue can save time and effort later. A clear definition helps identify irrelevant information and it also ensures that your team sets off on the right track.

Don’t jump to conclusions

It’s easy for groups to exhibit cognitive bias or have preconceived ideas about both problems and potential solutions. Be sure to back up any problem statements or potential solutions with facts, research, and adequate forethought.

The best techniques ask participants to be methodical and challenge preconceived notions. Make sure you give the group enough time and space to collect relevant information and consider the problem in a new way. By approaching the process with a clear, rational mindset, you’ll often find that better solutions are more forthcoming.  

Try different approaches  

Problems come in all shapes and sizes and so too should the methods you use to solve them. If you find that one approach isn’t yielding results and your team isn’t finding different solutions, try mixing it up. You’ll be surprised at how using a new creative activity can unblock your team and generate great solutions.

Don’t take it personally 

Depending on the nature of your team or organizational problems, it’s easy for conversations to get heated. While it’s good for participants to be engaged in the discussions, ensure that emotions don’t run too high and that blame isn’t thrown around while finding solutions.

You’re all in it together, and even if your team or area is seeing problems, that isn’t necessarily a disparagement of you personally. Using facilitation skills to manage group dynamics is one effective method of helping conversations be more constructive.

Get the right people in the room

Your problem-solving method is often only as effective as the group using it. Getting the right people on the job and managing the number of people present is important too!

If the group is too small, you may not get enough different perspectives to effectively solve a problem. If the group is too large, you can go round and round during the ideation stages.

Creating the right group makeup is also important in ensuring you have the necessary expertise and skillset to both identify and follow up on potential solutions. Carefully consider who to include at each stage to help ensure your problem-solving method is followed and positioned for success.

Document everything

The best solutions can take refinement, iteration, and reflection to come out. Get into a habit of documenting your process in order to keep all the learnings from the session and to allow ideas to mature and develop. Many of the methods below involve the creation of documents or shared resources. Be sure to keep and share these so everyone can benefit from the work done!

Bring a facilitator 

Facilitation is all about making group processes easier. With a subject as potentially emotive and important as problem-solving, having an impartial third party in the form of a facilitator can make all the difference in finding great solutions and keeping the process moving. Consider bringing a facilitator to your problem-solving session to get better results and generate meaningful solutions!

Develop your problem-solving skills

It takes time and practice to be an effective problem solver. While some roles or participants might more naturally gravitate towards problem-solving, it can take development and planning to help everyone create better solutions.

You might develop a training program, run a problem-solving workshop or simply ask your team to practice using the techniques below. Check out our post on problem-solving skills to see how you and your group can develop the right mental process and be more resilient to issues too!

Design a great agenda

Workshops are a great format for solving problems. With the right approach, you can focus a group and help them find the solutions to their own problems. But designing a process can be time-consuming and finding the right activities can be difficult.

Check out our workshop planning guide to level-up your agenda design and start running more effective workshops. Need inspiration? Check out templates designed by expert facilitators to help you kickstart your process!

In this section, we’ll look at in-depth problem-solving methods that provide a complete end-to-end process for developing effective solutions. These will help guide your team from the discovery and definition of a problem through to delivering the right solution.

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing method or problem-solving model, these processes are a great place to start. They’ll ask your team to challenge preconceived ideas and adopt a mindset for solving problems more effectively.

  • Six Thinking Hats
  • Lightning Decision Jam
  • Problem Definition Process
  • Discovery & Action Dialogue
Design Sprint 2.0
  • Open Space Technology

1. Six Thinking Hats

Individual approaches to solving a problem can be very different based on what team or role an individual holds. It can be easy for existing biases or perspectives to find their way into the mix, or for internal politics to direct a conversation.

Six Thinking Hats is a classic method for identifying the problems that need to be solved and enables your team to consider them from different angles, whether that is by focusing on facts and data, creative solutions, or by considering why a particular solution might not work.

Like all problem-solving frameworks, Six Thinking Hats is effective at helping teams remove roadblocks from a conversation or discussion and come to terms with all the aspects necessary to solve complex problems.

2. Lightning Decision Jam

Featured courtesy of Jonathan Courtney of AJ&Smart Berlin, Lightning Decision Jam is one of those strategies that should be in every facilitation toolbox. Exploring problems and finding solutions is often creative in nature, though as with any creative process, there is the potential to lose focus and get lost.

Unstructured discussions might get you there in the end, but it’s much more effective to use a method that creates a clear process and team focus.

In Lightning Decision Jam, participants are invited to begin by writing challenges, concerns, or mistakes on post-its without discussing them before then being invited by the moderator to present them to the group.

From there, the team vote on which problems to solve and are guided through steps that will allow them to reframe those problems, create solutions and then decide what to execute on. 

By deciding the problems that need to be solved as a team before moving on, this group process is great for ensuring the whole team is aligned and can take ownership over the next stages. 

Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ)   #action   #decision making   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #innovation   #design   #remote-friendly   The problem with anything that requires creative thinking is that it’s easy to get lost—lose focus and fall into the trap of having useless, open-ended, unstructured discussions. Here’s the most effective solution I’ve found: Replace all open, unstructured discussion with a clear process. What to use this exercise for: Anything which requires a group of people to make decisions, solve problems or discuss challenges. It’s always good to frame an LDJ session with a broad topic, here are some examples: The conversion flow of our checkout Our internal design process How we organise events Keeping up with our competition Improving sales flow

3. Problem Definition Process

While problems can be complex, the problem-solving methods you use to identify and solve those problems can often be simple in design. 

By taking the time to truly identify and define a problem before asking the group to reframe the challenge as an opportunity, this method is a great way to enable change.

Begin by identifying a focus question and exploring the ways in which it manifests before splitting into five teams who will each consider the problem using a different method: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion or wishful. Teams develop a problem objective and create ideas in line with their method before then feeding them back to the group.

This method is great for enabling in-depth discussions while also creating space for finding creative solutions too!

Problem Definition   #problem solving   #idea generation   #creativity   #online   #remote-friendly   A problem solving technique to define a problem, challenge or opportunity and to generate ideas.

4. The 5 Whys 

Sometimes, a group needs to go further with their strategies and analyze the root cause at the heart of organizational issues. An RCA or root cause analysis is the process of identifying what is at the heart of business problems or recurring challenges. 

The 5 Whys is a simple and effective method of helping a group go find the root cause of any problem or challenge and conduct analysis that will deliver results. 

By beginning with the creation of a problem statement and going through five stages to refine it, The 5 Whys provides everything you need to truly discover the cause of an issue.

The 5 Whys   #hyperisland   #innovation   This simple and powerful method is useful for getting to the core of a problem or challenge. As the title suggests, the group defines a problems, then asks the question “why” five times, often using the resulting explanation as a starting point for creative problem solving.

5. World Cafe

World Cafe is a simple but powerful facilitation technique to help bigger groups to focus their energy and attention on solving complex problems.

World Cafe enables this approach by creating a relaxed atmosphere where participants are able to self-organize and explore topics relevant and important to them which are themed around a central problem-solving purpose. Create the right atmosphere by modeling your space after a cafe and after guiding the group through the method, let them take the lead!

Making problem-solving a part of your organization’s culture in the long term can be a difficult undertaking. More approachable formats like World Cafe can be especially effective in bringing people unfamiliar with workshops into the fold. 

World Cafe   #hyperisland   #innovation   #issue analysis   World Café is a simple yet powerful method, originated by Juanita Brown, for enabling meaningful conversations driven completely by participants and the topics that are relevant and important to them. Facilitators create a cafe-style space and provide simple guidelines. Participants then self-organize and explore a set of relevant topics or questions for conversation.

6. Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)

One of the best approaches is to create a safe space for a group to share and discover practices and behaviors that can help them find their own solutions.

With DAD, you can help a group choose which problems they wish to solve and which approaches they will take to do so. It’s great at helping remove resistance to change and can help get buy-in at every level too!

This process of enabling frontline ownership is great in ensuring follow-through and is one of the methods you will want in your toolbox as a facilitator.

Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)   #idea generation   #liberating structures   #action   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   DADs make it easy for a group or community to discover practices and behaviors that enable some individuals (without access to special resources and facing the same constraints) to find better solutions than their peers to common problems. These are called positive deviant (PD) behaviors and practices. DADs make it possible for people in the group, unit, or community to discover by themselves these PD practices. DADs also create favorable conditions for stimulating participants’ creativity in spaces where they can feel safe to invent new and more effective practices. Resistance to change evaporates as participants are unleashed to choose freely which practices they will adopt or try and which problems they will tackle. DADs make it possible to achieve frontline ownership of solutions.

7. Design Sprint 2.0

Want to see how a team can solve big problems and move forward with prototyping and testing solutions in a few days? The Design Sprint 2.0 template from Jake Knapp, author of Sprint, is a complete agenda for a with proven results.

Developing the right agenda can involve difficult but necessary planning. Ensuring all the correct steps are followed can also be stressful or time-consuming depending on your level of experience.

Use this complete 4-day workshop template if you are finding there is no obvious solution to your challenge and want to focus your team around a specific problem that might require a shortcut to launching a minimum viable product or waiting for the organization-wide implementation of a solution.

8. Open space technology

Open space technology- developed by Harrison Owen – creates a space where large groups are invited to take ownership of their problem solving and lead individual sessions. Open space technology is a great format when you have a great deal of expertise and insight in the room and want to allow for different takes and approaches on a particular theme or problem you need to be solved.

Start by bringing your participants together to align around a central theme and focus their efforts. Explain the ground rules to help guide the problem-solving process and then invite members to identify any issue connecting to the central theme that they are interested in and are prepared to take responsibility for.

Once participants have decided on their approach to the core theme, they write their issue on a piece of paper, announce it to the group, pick a session time and place, and post the paper on the wall. As the wall fills up with sessions, the group is then invited to join the sessions that interest them the most and which they can contribute to, then you’re ready to begin!

Everyone joins the problem-solving group they’ve signed up to, record the discussion and if appropriate, findings can then be shared with the rest of the group afterward.

Open Space Technology   #action plan   #idea generation   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #large group   #online   #remote-friendly   Open Space is a methodology for large groups to create their agenda discerning important topics for discussion, suitable for conferences, community gatherings and whole system facilitation

Techniques to identify and analyze problems

Using a problem-solving method to help a team identify and analyze a problem can be a quick and effective addition to any workshop or meeting.

While further actions are always necessary, you can generate momentum and alignment easily, and these activities are a great place to get started.

We’ve put together this list of techniques to help you and your team with problem identification, analysis, and discussion that sets the foundation for developing effective solutions.

Let’s take a look!

  • The Creativity Dice
  • Fishbone Analysis
  • Problem Tree
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Agreement-Certainty Matrix
  • The Journalistic Six
  • LEGO Challenge
  • What, So What, Now What?
  • Journalists

Individual and group perspectives are incredibly important, but what happens if people are set in their minds and need a change of perspective in order to approach a problem more effectively?

Flip It is a method we love because it is both simple to understand and run, and allows groups to understand how their perspectives and biases are formed. 

Participants in Flip It are first invited to consider concerns, issues, or problems from a perspective of fear and write them on a flip chart. Then, the group is asked to consider those same issues from a perspective of hope and flip their understanding.  

No problem and solution is free from existing bias and by changing perspectives with Flip It, you can then develop a problem solving model quickly and effectively.

Flip It!   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Often, a change in a problem or situation comes simply from a change in our perspectives. Flip It! is a quick game designed to show players that perspectives are made, not born.

10. The Creativity Dice

One of the most useful problem solving skills you can teach your team is of approaching challenges with creativity, flexibility, and openness. Games like The Creativity Dice allow teams to overcome the potential hurdle of too much linear thinking and approach the process with a sense of fun and speed. 

In The Creativity Dice, participants are organized around a topic and roll a dice to determine what they will work on for a period of 3 minutes at a time. They might roll a 3 and work on investigating factual information on the chosen topic. They might roll a 1 and work on identifying the specific goals, standards, or criteria for the session.

Encouraging rapid work and iteration while asking participants to be flexible are great skills to cultivate. Having a stage for idea incubation in this game is also important. Moments of pause can help ensure the ideas that are put forward are the most suitable. 

The Creativity Dice   #creativity   #problem solving   #thiagi   #issue analysis   Too much linear thinking is hazardous to creative problem solving. To be creative, you should approach the problem (or the opportunity) from different points of view. You should leave a thought hanging in mid-air and move to another. This skipping around prevents premature closure and lets your brain incubate one line of thought while you consciously pursue another.

11. Fishbone Analysis

Organizational or team challenges are rarely simple, and it’s important to remember that one problem can be an indication of something that goes deeper and may require further consideration to be solved.

Fishbone Analysis helps groups to dig deeper and understand the origins of a problem. It’s a great example of a root cause analysis method that is simple for everyone on a team to get their head around. 

Participants in this activity are asked to annotate a diagram of a fish, first adding the problem or issue to be worked on at the head of a fish before then brainstorming the root causes of the problem and adding them as bones on the fish. 

Using abstractions such as a diagram of a fish can really help a team break out of their regular thinking and develop a creative approach.

Fishbone Analysis   #problem solving   ##root cause analysis   #decision making   #online facilitation   A process to help identify and understand the origins of problems, issues or observations.

12. Problem Tree 

Encouraging visual thinking can be an essential part of many strategies. By simply reframing and clarifying problems, a group can move towards developing a problem solving model that works for them. 

In Problem Tree, groups are asked to first brainstorm a list of problems – these can be design problems, team problems or larger business problems – and then organize them into a hierarchy. The hierarchy could be from most important to least important or abstract to practical, though the key thing with problem solving games that involve this aspect is that your group has some way of managing and sorting all the issues that are raised.

Once you have a list of problems that need to be solved and have organized them accordingly, you’re then well-positioned for the next problem solving steps.

Problem tree   #define intentions   #create   #design   #issue analysis   A problem tree is a tool to clarify the hierarchy of problems addressed by the team within a design project; it represents high level problems or related sublevel problems.

13. SWOT Analysis

Chances are you’ve heard of the SWOT Analysis before. This problem-solving method focuses on identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is a tried and tested method for both individuals and teams.

Start by creating a desired end state or outcome and bare this in mind – any process solving model is made more effective by knowing what you are moving towards. Create a quadrant made up of the four categories of a SWOT analysis and ask participants to generate ideas based on each of those quadrants.

Once you have those ideas assembled in their quadrants, cluster them together based on their affinity with other ideas. These clusters are then used to facilitate group conversations and move things forward. 

SWOT analysis   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   #meeting facilitation   The SWOT Analysis is a long-standing technique of looking at what we have, with respect to the desired end state, as well as what we could improve on. It gives us an opportunity to gauge approaching opportunities and dangers, and assess the seriousness of the conditions that affect our future. When we understand those conditions, we can influence what comes next.

14. Agreement-Certainty Matrix

Not every problem-solving approach is right for every challenge, and deciding on the right method for the challenge at hand is a key part of being an effective team.

The Agreement Certainty matrix helps teams align on the nature of the challenges facing them. By sorting problems from simple to chaotic, your team can understand what methods are suitable for each problem and what they can do to ensure effective results. 

If you are already using Liberating Structures techniques as part of your problem-solving strategy, the Agreement-Certainty Matrix can be an invaluable addition to your process. We’ve found it particularly if you are having issues with recurring problems in your organization and want to go deeper in understanding the root cause. 

Agreement-Certainty Matrix   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #problem solving   You can help individuals or groups avoid the frequent mistake of trying to solve a problem with methods that are not adapted to the nature of their challenge. The combination of two questions makes it possible to easily sort challenges into four categories: simple, complicated, complex , and chaotic .  A problem is simple when it can be solved reliably with practices that are easy to duplicate.  It is complicated when experts are required to devise a sophisticated solution that will yield the desired results predictably.  A problem is complex when there are several valid ways to proceed but outcomes are not predictable in detail.  Chaotic is when the context is too turbulent to identify a path forward.  A loose analogy may be used to describe these differences: simple is like following a recipe, complicated like sending a rocket to the moon, complex like raising a child, and chaotic is like the game “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”  The Liberating Structures Matching Matrix in Chapter 5 can be used as the first step to clarify the nature of a challenge and avoid the mismatches between problems and solutions that are frequently at the root of chronic, recurring problems.

Organizing and charting a team’s progress can be important in ensuring its success. SQUID (Sequential Question and Insight Diagram) is a great model that allows a team to effectively switch between giving questions and answers and develop the skills they need to stay on track throughout the process. 

Begin with two different colored sticky notes – one for questions and one for answers – and with your central topic (the head of the squid) on the board. Ask the group to first come up with a series of questions connected to their best guess of how to approach the topic. Ask the group to come up with answers to those questions, fix them to the board and connect them with a line. After some discussion, go back to question mode by responding to the generated answers or other points on the board.

It’s rewarding to see a diagram grow throughout the exercise, and a completed SQUID can provide a visual resource for future effort and as an example for other teams.

SQUID   #gamestorming   #project planning   #issue analysis   #problem solving   When exploring an information space, it’s important for a group to know where they are at any given time. By using SQUID, a group charts out the territory as they go and can navigate accordingly. SQUID stands for Sequential Question and Insight Diagram.

16. Speed Boat

To continue with our nautical theme, Speed Boat is a short and sweet activity that can help a team quickly identify what employees, clients or service users might have a problem with and analyze what might be standing in the way of achieving a solution.

Methods that allow for a group to make observations, have insights and obtain those eureka moments quickly are invaluable when trying to solve complex problems.

In Speed Boat, the approach is to first consider what anchors and challenges might be holding an organization (or boat) back. Bonus points if you are able to identify any sharks in the water and develop ideas that can also deal with competitors!   

Speed Boat   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Speedboat is a short and sweet way to identify what your employees or clients don’t like about your product/service or what’s standing in the way of a desired goal.

17. The Journalistic Six

Some of the most effective ways of solving problems is by encouraging teams to be more inclusive and diverse in their thinking.

Based on the six key questions journalism students are taught to answer in articles and news stories, The Journalistic Six helps create teams to see the whole picture. By using who, what, when, where, why, and how to facilitate the conversation and encourage creative thinking, your team can make sure that the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the are covered exhaustively and thoughtfully. Reporter’s notebook and dictaphone optional.

The Journalistic Six – Who What When Where Why How   #idea generation   #issue analysis   #problem solving   #online   #creative thinking   #remote-friendly   A questioning method for generating, explaining, investigating ideas.

18. LEGO Challenge

Now for an activity that is a little out of the (toy) box. LEGO Serious Play is a facilitation methodology that can be used to improve creative thinking and problem-solving skills. 

The LEGO Challenge includes giving each member of the team an assignment that is hidden from the rest of the group while they create a structure without speaking.

What the LEGO challenge brings to the table is a fun working example of working with stakeholders who might not be on the same page to solve problems. Also, it’s LEGO! Who doesn’t love LEGO! 

LEGO Challenge   #hyperisland   #team   A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of LEGO, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the collaborative process more challenging. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, cooperation, patience and problem solving strategy.

19. What, So What, Now What?

If not carefully managed, the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the problem-solving process can actually create more problems and misunderstandings.

The What, So What, Now What? problem-solving activity is designed to help collect insights and move forward while also eliminating the possibility of disagreement when it comes to identifying, clarifying, and analyzing organizational or work problems. 

Facilitation is all about bringing groups together so that might work on a shared goal and the best problem-solving strategies ensure that teams are aligned in purpose, if not initially in opinion or insight.

Throughout the three steps of this game, you give everyone on a team to reflect on a problem by asking what happened, why it is important, and what actions should then be taken. 

This can be a great activity for bringing our individual perceptions about a problem or challenge and contextualizing it in a larger group setting. This is one of the most important problem-solving skills you can bring to your organization.

W³ – What, So What, Now What?   #issue analysis   #innovation   #liberating structures   You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What . The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

20. Journalists  

Problem analysis can be one of the most important and decisive stages of all problem-solving tools. Sometimes, a team can become bogged down in the details and are unable to move forward.

Journalists is an activity that can avoid a group from getting stuck in the problem identification or problem analysis stages of the process.

In Journalists, the group is invited to draft the front page of a fictional newspaper and figure out what stories deserve to be on the cover and what headlines those stories will have. By reframing how your problems and challenges are approached, you can help a team move productively through the process and be better prepared for the steps to follow.

Journalists   #vision   #big picture   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   This is an exercise to use when the group gets stuck in details and struggles to see the big picture. Also good for defining a vision.

Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions 

The success of any problem-solving process can be measured by the solutions it produces. After you’ve defined the issue, explored existing ideas, and ideated, it’s time to narrow down to the correct solution.

Use these problem-solving techniques when you want to help your team find consensus, compare possible solutions, and move towards taking action on a particular problem.

  • Improved Solutions
  • Four-Step Sketch
  • 15% Solutions
  • How-Now-Wow matrix
  • Impact Effort Matrix

21. Mindspin  

Brainstorming is part of the bread and butter of the problem-solving process and all problem-solving strategies benefit from getting ideas out and challenging a team to generate solutions quickly. 

With Mindspin, participants are encouraged not only to generate ideas but to do so under time constraints and by slamming down cards and passing them on. By doing multiple rounds, your team can begin with a free generation of possible solutions before moving on to developing those solutions and encouraging further ideation. 

This is one of our favorite problem-solving activities and can be great for keeping the energy up throughout the workshop. Remember the importance of helping people become engaged in the process – energizing problem-solving techniques like Mindspin can help ensure your team stays engaged and happy, even when the problems they’re coming together to solve are complex. 

MindSpin   #teampedia   #idea generation   #problem solving   #action   A fast and loud method to enhance brainstorming within a team. Since this activity has more than round ideas that are repetitive can be ruled out leaving more creative and innovative answers to the challenge.

22. Improved Solutions

After a team has successfully identified a problem and come up with a few solutions, it can be tempting to call the work of the problem-solving process complete. That said, the first solution is not necessarily the best, and by including a further review and reflection activity into your problem-solving model, you can ensure your group reaches the best possible result. 

One of a number of problem-solving games from Thiagi Group, Improved Solutions helps you go the extra mile and develop suggested solutions with close consideration and peer review. By supporting the discussion of several problems at once and by shifting team roles throughout, this problem-solving technique is a dynamic way of finding the best solution. 

Improved Solutions   #creativity   #thiagi   #problem solving   #action   #team   You can improve any solution by objectively reviewing its strengths and weaknesses and making suitable adjustments. In this creativity framegame, you improve the solutions to several problems. To maintain objective detachment, you deal with a different problem during each of six rounds and assume different roles (problem owner, consultant, basher, booster, enhancer, and evaluator) during each round. At the conclusion of the activity, each player ends up with two solutions to her problem.

23. Four Step Sketch

Creative thinking and visual ideation does not need to be confined to the opening stages of your problem-solving strategies. Exercises that include sketching and prototyping on paper can be effective at the solution finding and development stage of the process, and can be great for keeping a team engaged. 

By going from simple notes to a crazy 8s round that involves rapidly sketching 8 variations on their ideas before then producing a final solution sketch, the group is able to iterate quickly and visually. Problem-solving techniques like Four-Step Sketch are great if you have a group of different thinkers and want to change things up from a more textual or discussion-based approach.

Four-Step Sketch   #design sprint   #innovation   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   The four-step sketch is an exercise that helps people to create well-formed concepts through a structured process that includes: Review key information Start design work on paper,  Consider multiple variations , Create a detailed solution . This exercise is preceded by a set of other activities allowing the group to clarify the challenge they want to solve. See how the Four Step Sketch exercise fits into a Design Sprint

24. 15% Solutions

Some problems are simpler than others and with the right problem-solving activities, you can empower people to take immediate actions that can help create organizational change. 

Part of the liberating structures toolkit, 15% solutions is a problem-solving technique that focuses on finding and implementing solutions quickly. A process of iterating and making small changes quickly can help generate momentum and an appetite for solving complex problems.

Problem-solving strategies can live and die on whether people are onboard. Getting some quick wins is a great way of getting people behind the process.   

It can be extremely empowering for a team to realize that problem-solving techniques can be deployed quickly and easily and delineate between things they can positively impact and those things they cannot change. 

15% Solutions   #action   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can reveal the actions, however small, that everyone can do immediately. At a minimum, these will create momentum, and that may make a BIG difference.  15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change.  With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

25. How-Now-Wow Matrix

The problem-solving process is often creative, as complex problems usually require a change of thinking and creative response in order to find the best solutions. While it’s common for the first stages to encourage creative thinking, groups can often gravitate to familiar solutions when it comes to the end of the process. 

When selecting solutions, you don’t want to lose your creative energy! The How-Now-Wow Matrix from Gamestorming is a great problem-solving activity that enables a group to stay creative and think out of the box when it comes to selecting the right solution for a given problem.

Problem-solving techniques that encourage creative thinking and the ideation and selection of new solutions can be the most effective in organisational change. Give the How-Now-Wow Matrix a go, and not just for how pleasant it is to say out loud. 

How-Now-Wow Matrix   #gamestorming   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   When people want to develop new ideas, they most often think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent phase. However, when it comes to convergence, people often end up picking ideas that are most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’. The How-Now-Wow matrix is an idea selection tool that breaks the creadox by forcing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.

26. Impact and Effort Matrix

All problem-solving techniques hope to not only find solutions to a given problem or challenge but to find the best solution. When it comes to finding a solution, groups are invited to put on their decision-making hats and really think about how a proposed idea would work in practice. 

The Impact and Effort Matrix is one of the problem-solving techniques that fall into this camp, empowering participants to first generate ideas and then categorize them into a 2×2 matrix based on impact and effort.

Activities that invite critical thinking while remaining simple are invaluable. Use the Impact and Effort Matrix to move from ideation and towards evaluating potential solutions before then committing to them. 

Impact and Effort Matrix   #gamestorming   #decision making   #action   #remote-friendly   In this decision-making exercise, possible actions are mapped based on two factors: effort required to implement and potential impact. Categorizing ideas along these lines is a useful technique in decision making, as it obliges contributors to balance and evaluate suggested actions before committing to them.

27. Dotmocracy

If you’ve followed each of the problem-solving steps with your group successfully, you should move towards the end of your process with heaps of possible solutions developed with a specific problem in mind. But how do you help a group go from ideation to putting a solution into action? 

Dotmocracy – or Dot Voting -is a tried and tested method of helping a team in the problem-solving process make decisions and put actions in place with a degree of oversight and consensus. 

One of the problem-solving techniques that should be in every facilitator’s toolbox, Dot Voting is fast and effective and can help identify the most popular and best solutions and help bring a group to a decision effectively. 

Dotmocracy   #action   #decision making   #group prioritization   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Dotmocracy is a simple method for group prioritization or decision-making. It is not an activity on its own, but a method to use in processes where prioritization or decision-making is the aim. The method supports a group to quickly see which options are most popular or relevant. The options or ideas are written on post-its and stuck up on a wall for the whole group to see. Each person votes for the options they think are the strongest, and that information is used to inform a decision.

All facilitators know that warm-ups and icebreakers are useful for any workshop or group process. Problem-solving workshops are no different.

Use these problem-solving techniques to warm up a group and prepare them for the rest of the process. Activating your group by tapping into some of the top problem-solving skills can be one of the best ways to see great outcomes from your session.

  • Check-in/Check-out
  • Doodling Together
  • Show and Tell
  • Constellations
  • Draw a Tree

28. Check-in / Check-out

Solid processes are planned from beginning to end, and the best facilitators know that setting the tone and establishing a safe, open environment can be integral to a successful problem-solving process.

Check-in / Check-out is a great way to begin and/or bookend a problem-solving workshop. Checking in to a session emphasizes that everyone will be seen, heard, and expected to contribute. 

If you are running a series of meetings, setting a consistent pattern of checking in and checking out can really help your team get into a groove. We recommend this opening-closing activity for small to medium-sized groups though it can work with large groups if they’re disciplined!

Check-in / Check-out   #team   #opening   #closing   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

29. Doodling Together  

Thinking creatively and not being afraid to make suggestions are important problem-solving skills for any group or team, and warming up by encouraging these behaviors is a great way to start. 

Doodling Together is one of our favorite creative ice breaker games – it’s quick, effective, and fun and can make all following problem-solving steps easier by encouraging a group to collaborate visually. By passing cards and adding additional items as they go, the workshop group gets into a groove of co-creation and idea development that is crucial to finding solutions to problems. 

Doodling Together   #collaboration   #creativity   #teamwork   #fun   #team   #visual methods   #energiser   #icebreaker   #remote-friendly   Create wild, weird and often funny postcards together & establish a group’s creative confidence.

30. Show and Tell

You might remember some version of Show and Tell from being a kid in school and it’s a great problem-solving activity to kick off a session.

Asking participants to prepare a little something before a workshop by bringing an object for show and tell can help them warm up before the session has even begun! Games that include a physical object can also help encourage early engagement before moving onto more big-picture thinking.

By asking your participants to tell stories about why they chose to bring a particular item to the group, you can help teams see things from new perspectives and see both differences and similarities in the way they approach a topic. Great groundwork for approaching a problem-solving process as a team! 

Show and Tell   #gamestorming   #action   #opening   #meeting facilitation   Show and Tell taps into the power of metaphors to reveal players’ underlying assumptions and associations around a topic The aim of the game is to get a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives on anything—a new project, an organizational restructuring, a shift in the company’s vision or team dynamic.

31. Constellations

Who doesn’t love stars? Constellations is a great warm-up activity for any workshop as it gets people up off their feet, energized, and ready to engage in new ways with established topics. It’s also great for showing existing beliefs, biases, and patterns that can come into play as part of your session.

Using warm-up games that help build trust and connection while also allowing for non-verbal responses can be great for easing people into the problem-solving process and encouraging engagement from everyone in the group. Constellations is great in large spaces that allow for movement and is definitely a practical exercise to allow the group to see patterns that are otherwise invisible. 

Constellations   #trust   #connection   #opening   #coaching   #patterns   #system   Individuals express their response to a statement or idea by standing closer or further from a central object. Used with teams to reveal system, hidden patterns, perspectives.

32. Draw a Tree

Problem-solving games that help raise group awareness through a central, unifying metaphor can be effective ways to warm-up a group in any problem-solving model.

Draw a Tree is a simple warm-up activity you can use in any group and which can provide a quick jolt of energy. Start by asking your participants to draw a tree in just 45 seconds – they can choose whether it will be abstract or realistic. 

Once the timer is up, ask the group how many people included the roots of the tree and use this as a means to discuss how we can ignore important parts of any system simply because they are not visible.

All problem-solving strategies are made more effective by thinking of problems critically and by exposing things that may not normally come to light. Warm-up games like Draw a Tree are great in that they quickly demonstrate some key problem-solving skills in an accessible and effective way.

Draw a Tree   #thiagi   #opening   #perspectives   #remote-friendly   With this game you can raise awarness about being more mindful, and aware of the environment we live in.

Each step of the problem-solving workshop benefits from an intelligent deployment of activities, games, and techniques. Bringing your session to an effective close helps ensure that solutions are followed through on and that you also celebrate what has been achieved.

Here are some problem-solving activities you can use to effectively close a workshop or meeting and ensure the great work you’ve done can continue afterward.

  • One Breath Feedback
  • Who What When Matrix
  • Response Cards

How do I conclude a problem-solving process?

All good things must come to an end. With the bulk of the work done, it can be tempting to conclude your workshop swiftly and without a moment to debrief and align. This can be problematic in that it doesn’t allow your team to fully process the results or reflect on the process.

At the end of an effective session, your team will have gone through a process that, while productive, can be exhausting. It’s important to give your group a moment to take a breath, ensure that they are clear on future actions, and provide short feedback before leaving the space. 

The primary purpose of any problem-solving method is to generate solutions and then implement them. Be sure to take the opportunity to ensure everyone is aligned and ready to effectively implement the solutions you produced in the workshop.

Remember that every process can be improved and by giving a short moment to collect feedback in the session, you can further refine your problem-solving methods and see further success in the future too.

33. One Breath Feedback

Maintaining attention and focus during the closing stages of a problem-solving workshop can be tricky and so being concise when giving feedback can be important. It’s easy to incur “death by feedback” should some team members go on for too long sharing their perspectives in a quick feedback round. 

One Breath Feedback is a great closing activity for workshops. You give everyone an opportunity to provide feedback on what they’ve done but only in the space of a single breath. This keeps feedback short and to the point and means that everyone is encouraged to provide the most important piece of feedback to them. 

One breath feedback   #closing   #feedback   #action   This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

34. Who What When Matrix 

Matrices feature as part of many effective problem-solving strategies and with good reason. They are easily recognizable, simple to use, and generate results.

The Who What When Matrix is a great tool to use when closing your problem-solving session by attributing a who, what and when to the actions and solutions you have decided upon. The resulting matrix is a simple, easy-to-follow way of ensuring your team can move forward. 

Great solutions can’t be enacted without action and ownership. Your problem-solving process should include a stage for allocating tasks to individuals or teams and creating a realistic timeframe for those solutions to be implemented or checked out. Use this method to keep the solution implementation process clear and simple for all involved. 

Who/What/When Matrix   #gamestorming   #action   #project planning   With Who/What/When matrix, you can connect people with clear actions they have defined and have committed to.

35. Response cards

Group discussion can comprise the bulk of most problem-solving activities and by the end of the process, you might find that your team is talked out! 

Providing a means for your team to give feedback with short written notes can ensure everyone is head and can contribute without the need to stand up and talk. Depending on the needs of the group, giving an alternative can help ensure everyone can contribute to your problem-solving model in the way that makes the most sense for them.

Response Cards is a great way to close a workshop if you are looking for a gentle warm-down and want to get some swift discussion around some of the feedback that is raised. 

Response Cards   #debriefing   #closing   #structured sharing   #questions and answers   #thiagi   #action   It can be hard to involve everyone during a closing of a session. Some might stay in the background or get unheard because of louder participants. However, with the use of Response Cards, everyone will be involved in providing feedback or clarify questions at the end of a session.

Save time and effort discovering the right solutions

A structured problem solving process is a surefire way of solving tough problems, discovering creative solutions and driving organizational change. But how can you design for successful outcomes?

With SessionLab, it’s easy to design engaging workshops that deliver results. Drag, drop and reorder blocks  to build your agenda. When you make changes or update your agenda, your session  timing   adjusts automatically , saving you time on manual adjustments.

Collaborating with stakeholders or clients? Share your agenda with a single click and collaborate in real-time. No more sending documents back and forth over email.

Explore  how to use SessionLab  to design effective problem solving workshops or  watch this five minute video  to see the planner in action!

problem solving techniques using c notes

Over to you

The problem-solving process can often be as complicated and multifaceted as the problems they are set-up to solve. With the right problem-solving techniques and a mix of creative exercises designed to guide discussion and generate purposeful ideas, we hope we’ve given you the tools to find the best solutions as simply and easily as possible.

Is there a problem-solving technique that you are missing here? Do you have a favorite activity or method you use when facilitating? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you! 

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MyCSTutorial- The path to Success in Exam


Introduction to Problem Solving – Notes

Introduction to problem solving.

  • Steps for problem solving ( analysing the problem, developing an algorithm, coding, testing and debugging).
  • flow chart and
  • pseudo code,



Computers is machine that not only use to develop the software. It is also used for solving various day-to-day problems.

Computers cannot solve a problem by themselves. It solve the problem on basic of the step-by-step instructions given by us.

Thus, the success of a computer in solving a problem depends on how correctly and precisely we –

  • Identifying (define) the problem
  • Designing & developing an algorithm and
  • Implementing the algorithm (solution) do develop a program using any programming language.

Thus problem solving is an essential skill that a computer science student should know.

Steps for Problem Solving-

1. Analysing the problem

Analysing the problems means understand a problem clearly before we begin to find the solution for it. Analysing a problem helps to figure out what are the inputs that our program should accept and the outputs that it should produce.

2. Developing an Algorithm

It is essential to device a solution before writing a program code for a given problem. The solution is represented in natural language and is called an algorithm.

Algorithm: A set of exact steps which when followed, solve the problem or accomplish the required task.

Coding is the process of converting the algorithm into the program which can be understood by the computer to generate the desired solution.

You can use any high level programming languages for writing a program.

4. Testing and Debugging

The program created should be tested on various parameters.

  • The program should meet the requirements of the user.
  • It must respond within the expected time.
  • It should generate correct output for all possible inputs.
  • In the presence of syntactical errors, no output will be obtained.
  • In case the output generated is incorrect, then the program should be checked for logical errors, if any.

Software Testing methods are

  • unit or component testing,
  • integration testing,
  • system testing, and
  • acceptance testing

Debugging – The errors or defects found in the testing phases are debugged or rectified and the program is again tested. This continues till all the errors are removed from the program.

Algorithm is a set of sequence which followed to solve a problem.

Algorithm for an activity ‘riding a bicycle’: 1) remove the bicycle from the stand, 2) sit on the seat of the bicycle, 3) start peddling, 4) use breaks whenever needed and 5) stop on reaching the destination.

Algorithm for Computing GCD of two numbers:

Step 1: Find the numbers (divisors) which can divide the given numbers.

Step 2: Then find the largest common number from these two lists.

A finite sequence of steps required to get the desired output is called an algorithm. Algorithm has a definite beginning and a definite end, and consists of a finite number of steps.

Characteristics of a good algorithm

  • Precision — the steps are precisely stated or defined.
  • Uniqueness — results of each step are uniquely defined and only depend on the input and the result of the preceding steps.
  • Finiteness — the algorithm always stops after a finite number of steps.
  • Input — the algorithm receives some input.
  • Output — the algorithm produces some output.

While writing an algorithm, it is required to clearly identify the following:

  • The input to be taken from the user.
  • Processing or computation to be performed to get the desired result.
  • The output desired by the user.

Representation of Algorithms

There are two common methods of representing an algorithm —

Flowchart — Visual Representation of Algorithms

A flowchart is a visual representation of an algorithm. A flowchart is a diagram made up of boxes, diamonds and other shapes, connected by arrows. Each shape represents a step of the solution process and the arrow represents the order or link among the steps. There are standardised symbols to draw flowcharts.

Start/End – Also called “Terminator” symbol. It indicates where the flow starts and ends.

Process – Also called “Action Symbol,” it represents a process, action, or a single step. Decision – A decision or branching point, usually a yes/no or true/ false question is asked, and based on the answer, the path gets split into two branches.

Input / Output – Also called data symbol, this parallelogram shape is used to input or output data.

Arrow – Connector to show order of flow between shapes.

Question: Write an algorithm to find the square of a number. Algorithm to find square of a number. Step 1: Input a number and store it to num Step 2: Compute num * num and store it in square Step 3: Print square

The algorithm to find square of a number can be represented pictorially using flowchart

problem solving techniques using c notes

A pseudocode (pronounced Soo-doh-kohd) is another way of representing an algorithm. It is considered as a non-formal language that helps programmers to write algorithm. It is a detailed description of instructions that a computer must follow in a particular order.

  • It is intended for human reading and cannot be executed directly by the computer.
  • No specific standard for writing a pseudocode exists.
  • The word “pseudo” means “not real,” so “pseudocode” means “not real code”.

Keywords are used in pseudocode:

Question : Write an algorithm to calculate area and perimeter of a rectangle, using both pseudocode and flowchart.

Pseudocode for calculating area and perimeter of a rectangle.

INPUT length INPUT breadth COMPUTE Area = length * breadth PRINT Area COMPUTE Perim = 2 * (length + breadth) PRINT Perim The flowchart for this algorithm

problem solving techniques using c notes

Benefits of Pseudocode

  • A pseudocode of a program helps in representing the basic functionality of the intended program.
  • By writing the code first in a human readable language, the programmer safeguards against leaving out any important step.
  • For non-programmers, actual programs are difficult to read and understand, but pseudocode helps them to review the steps to confirm that the proposed implementation is going to achieve the desire output.

Flow of Control :

The flow of control depicts the flow of process as represented in the flow chart. The process can flow in

In a sequence steps of algorithms (i.e. statements) are executed one after the other.

In a selection, steps of algorithm is depend upon the conditions i.e. any one of the alternatives statement is selected based on the outcome of a condition.

Conditionals are used to check possibilities. The program checks one or more conditions and perform operations (sequence of actions) depending on true or false value of the condition.

Conditionals are written in the algorithm as follows: If is true then steps to be taken when the condition is true/fulfilled otherwise steps to be taken when the condition is false/not fulfilled

Question : Write an algorithm to check whether a number is odd or even. • Input: Any number • Process: Check whether the number is even or not • Output: Message “Even” or “Odd” Pseudocode of the algorithm can be written as follows: PRINT “Enter the Number” INPUT number IF number MOD 2 == 0 THEN PRINT “Number is Even” ELSE PRINT “Number is Odd”

The flowchart representation of the algorithm


Repetitions are used, when we want to do something repeatedly, for a given number of times.

Question : Write pseudocode and draw flowchart to accept numbers till the user enters 0 and then find their average. Pseudocode is as follows:

Step 1: Set count = 0, sum = 0 Step 2: Input num Step 3: While num is not equal to 0, repeat Steps 4 to 6 Step 4: sum = sum + num Step 5: count = count + 1 Step 6: Input num Step 7: Compute average = sum/count Step 8: Print average The flowchart representation is


Once an algorithm is finalised, it should be coded in a high-level programming language as selected by the programmer. The ordered set of instructions are written in that programming language by following its syntax.

The syntax is the set of rules or grammar that governs the formulation of the statements in the language, such as spelling, order of words, punctuation, etc.

Source Code: A program written in a high-level language is called source code.

We need to translate the source code into machine language using a compiler or an interpreter so that it can be understood by the computer.

Decomposition is a process to ‘decompose’ or break down a complex problem into smaller subproblems. It is helpful when we have to solve any big or complex problem.

  • Breaking down a complex problem into sub problems also means that each subproblem can be examined in detail.
  • Each subproblem can be solved independently and by different persons (or teams).
  • Having different teams working on different sub-problems can also be advantageous because specific sub-problems can be assigned to teams who are experts in solving such problems.

Once the individual sub-problems are solved, it is necessary to test them for their correctness and integrate them to get the complete solution.

Computer Science Answer Key Term 2 Board Examination

  • Input Output in Python

problem solving techniques using c notes

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