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# Tag: CIDNI problems | Powerful Problem Solving

“All models are wrong but some are useful.” – George Box As an engineer, I was trained to model the world: take a complex system—say, an oil-well drillstring extending several kilometers underground—make assumptions on what matters (e.g., contact with the…

‘Nothing avails but perfection’ may be spelt shorter: ‘Paralysis.’ — Winston Churchill Up until recently, my job entailed updating the faculty policy of a research-intensive university. How do you change the rules that regulate the life of some 500 tenured…

Many of us first interact with problems in a primary-school mathematics class. If your experience is anything like mine, it might have gone like this: “Édouard has a swimming pool. One pump can fill the pool in two hours; the…

I’ve heard that the Swedes make fun of the Norwegians by attributing them silly stories. The French, on the other hand, make fun of the Belgians. Here is one of these fictitious histoires belges: “To demonstrate their frustration with the European Union,…

We all say we are open to change but in reality, well, it depends.When solving CIDNI problems in organizations, you are challenging the status quo, and this has implications for people who stand to lose something. They might lose tangible…

When solving CIDNI problems, constraints are those factors that reduce your solution space, such as the money, time, expertise, etc. at your disposal. Too many constraints will reduce your solution space so much that you might not find a satisfactory…

Do you consistently beat Hercule Poirot at identifying the murderer in Agatha Christie’s novels? It might be that the legendary detective just isn’t quite in your league. Or it might be that you come with a head start. The difference…

Decision making is a critical part of the problem-solving process. But it is also only that: a part. The process has several others; don’t overlook some at the expense of others. (This post is a summary of a guest article I did…

“Assume you’re a scientist and you have a flea with six legs”, the joke goes, “that does what you ask him to do. “So, ask him to jump, and he jumps. Next, cut off two of his legs and ask…