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Critical Thinking - 7 Step Problem Solving

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Essay title: Critical Thinking - 7 Step Problem Solving

7-Step Problem Solving

There are many different ways of solving problems or coming to conclusions. There are also many ways to do research and learn lessons from the research that one finds. Some ways are better than others as far as the depth of thinking that is involved, but if the same result is met with many different ways, it doesn’t matter which one is used. One particular method or model that is used throughout the company that I work for is called the seven-step problem solving method. It is the model that has been widely used and known to have good quality outcomes at Intel Corporation. I suppose the reason that it used by virtually all of the employees that work there is because it covers just about every aspect of solving a particular problem or issue. It has also been used before a problem has occurred to prevent further problems. “The trick is to figure out what information you are lacking and then gather and analyze that information.” (www.unf.edu) The seven-step problem solving method is a solid approach to critical thinking and solution to issues and problems.

Step 1.

Define the Problem.

What is the problem and how did it manifest itself. This is the first step that must be completed to move on. It defines what is wrong and how it happened and can be examined thoroughly to see if it has happened before and if there are any fixes that might already be in place.

Step 2.

The Current Situation.

This is an important step because you must know what the problem caused and where the current situation can go. It is important to keep one’s self in that current situation to avoid having a domino effect of future problems. It also gives the person researching the problem a “crime scene” if you will. A lot of information can be found examining the effects of the problem that occurred.

Step 3.

Cause Analysis.

This is where the investigation begins. Most of the time, if the cause is unknown a lot of brainstorming will occur in this step. Based on the information given, the brainstorming output is reduced to what causes have the greatest impact on the problem at hand. The data and group intelligence is used to prioritize the suspected causes based on “most likely” and “easy to check”. The goal of this step is to determine the root cause.

Step 4.

Evaluate and Implement Solution.

Ultimately, the goal of this step is to determine possible solutions to the root causes mentioned in step 3, and put them into place.

Step 5.

Validate Results.

When we monitor the results, we determine to what extent the solution has eliminated the root causes and make sure that the root causes are eliminated. This step also makes sure that there are minimal side effects and that significant improvement was made. This is the step in which one should know if they need further problem solving or not.

Step 6.

Standardization.

This step is used after the final solution has been implemented and proven to work. If there were a manual that instructs one how to do something, this would be a correction point added to that manual. The goal of this step is to make sure that the solution is communicated so that this type of occurrence or problem does not reoccur again.

Step 7.

Follow-up, Future Plans, Key Learning’s.

This is called the reflection step. Basically, this point is used to reflect on key learning’s and possible outcomes that could have happened. It is also used to make sure that similar problems are forecasted and plans are put into place to prevent further occurrences. “Reevaluating your decisions allows you to make adjustments and to see if your desired outcomes are being achieved.” (www.careerservices.rutgers.edu) This wraps up the seven-step problem solving method.

At Intel I had a problem with one of the

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