Now that we've examined the role that assumptions play in our decision making process, let's take a look more specifically at the two types of problem solving techniques that you are likely to use as engineers and as engineering leaders. As we examine these two types of problem solving, we're going to want to answer these three questions. Are the outcomes predictable? Do we have sufficient information to solve the problem? And, do the means and ends have a connection? If the answer to these three questions is yes, then we're on the pathway to analytical problem solving. Here, the methods that you're probably most familiar with, because you use this technique every day, is to define the problem, generate solutions, evaluate those alternatives, and implement follow up on the solution. As you look at this particular process, there are some pitfalls. Frequently, it's difficult to define the problems sufficiently well. Many faults in solving problems lie in not defining the problem correctly from the very start. Frequently as we generate solutions, we don't generate sufficient ones or we get hung up on selecting the first available solution. So, we can create problems for ourselves by not generating enough and sufficiently quality solutions. We may have difficultly evaluating the solutions that we do come up with. There may be disagreement among team members about what criteria should be used and that will be based on their experiences and values as well. There could be difficulty in implementing solutions in this particular type of problems solving. That becomes especially true in circumstances where change will happen. Change always creates tension and can create problems in implementing effective solutions. If this technique looks familiar, it ought to from your early days in junior high school or perhaps earlier, you've probably become familiar with the scientific method. It is a well organized process for generating solutions to scientific problems. The analytical problem solving process is another way of restating the scientific method. As we return to the problem assessment, if the answer to those questions is no, we are on a different pathway. We may find ourselves looking at creative problem solving approaches where again, we have to have good problem definition from the start and we have to examine ways of generating many different solutions to the problem. You're going to find that we will emphasize voluminous solutions as opposed to well-defined narrower solutions to problems. But just like the analytical problem solving process, the creative problem solving process is subject to some pitfalls of its own. Here, we refer to the constancy, commitment, compression, and complacency blocks that you may come across in solving problems creatively. We will examine each of these in detail a little bit later on in this lesson. As we look at creative problem solving, what are the steps that we follow? Or when do we actually use it? It's going to be used when we want to create something new, something that's out of the realm of what we already know. It's going to be used when there's no best answer, no optimum answer and we may need a range of answers to solve our problems. As we implement creative problem solving, there are some well defined stages that we'll go through. There's a preparation phase in which we collect information that we are going to need to solve the problem. To think about and to define the problem as best we can at this stage. Recognizing that perhaps, later on in problem solving process, we may have to restate the problem. There's an incubation period. I have found in my own experience in trying to solve problem creatively, that I require some soak time. That is time where I can reflect on the problem statement and the options that are available as we go about solving the problem. That's extremely important and I think as you go about solving problems creatively, you may need to build in some time for incubation. There's always that moment in the creative solving process where the lightbulb goes on, where there's inspiration and insight that you gain into solving the problem. And this is called the illumination stage. Once you've experienced that light going on and the illumination process, you'll move to the verification stage. This is analogous to the implementation phase of the analytical problem solving process. Here, you'll want to assess the potential solutions, make sure that the insights that you've gain through illumination are applied to select the best solution for your particular problem.