Checklist for problem solving

The VirtualSalt problem solving checklist:

  1. Take time to examine and explore the problem thoroughly before setting out in search of a solution. Often, to understand the problem is to solve it.
  2. Breaking the problem into smaller parts will often make solving it much easier. Solve each part separately.
  3. The resources for problem solving are immense and ubiquitous.
  4. You can always do something.
  5. A problem is not a punishment; it is an opportunity to increase the happiness of the world, an opportunity to show how powerful you really are.
  6. The formulation of a problem determines the range of choices: the questions you ask determine the answers you receive.
  7. Be careful not to look for a solution until you understand the problem, and be careful not to select a solution until you have a whole range of choices.
  8. The initial statement of a problem often reflects a preconceived solution.
  9. A wide range of choices (ideas, possible solutions) allows you to choose the best from among many. A choice of one is not a choice.
  10. People work to implement their own ideas and solutions much more energetically than they work to implement others' ideas and solutions.
  11. Remember the critical importance of acceptance in solving problems. A solution that is technologically brilliant but sociologically stupid is not a good solution.
  12. When the goal state is clear but the present state is ambiguous, try working backwards.
  13. Procrastinators finish last.
  14. Denying a problem perpetuates it.
  15. Solve the problem that really exists, not just the symptoms of a problem, not the problem you already have a solution for, not the problem you wish existed, and not the problem someone else thinks exists.
  16. A maker follows a plan; a creator produces a plan.
  17. Creativity is the construction of somethings new out of somethings old, through effort and imagination.