The steps in Collaborating Minds problem solving

Problem solving approach Sept 25As the moment of launching the structured problem-solving component of the Cminds beta nears, we want to share more about the logic of the problem-solving approach and how Cminds members will proceed through it. We hope the explanation will give members confidence their efforts will lead to results, even though how everything unfolds won’t be particularly visible at the start. Outputs of one phase become the inputs members can use in the other phases in a multi-phase process. We hope that all members will participate in the numbered phases marked below, and that some will participate in last two phases as well.

Problem solving begins with understanding the problem from the problem owners’ perspective. We’ll use a set of questions that attempt to ask the problem owner all the questions “you always wished you had asked at the beginning.” Of course, members can improve that set of questions over the life of the beta test by suggesting what questions they’d like to see us add.

Phases 1 and 2 are mostly individual in nature. Each member has the time on their own to understand the problem, and then generate ideas independently in response. We offer a few prompts to help you.

Phases 3, 4, and 5 introduce you to other member-generated responses. Each of these social phases is structured a little differently. For example, you’ll be asked for particular reactions — such as how to make a strong idea even stronger, and how to address weaknesses of an idea. You can also add new ideas that are stimulated by what you see. We don’t expect every member to have time to review every idea or thought presented by other members, so we divide up the review. You are always free, though, to look at and respond to as many ideas and thoughts as you want.

The final phases (in blue), narrow down the full array of ideas to those that facts and logic support. Tools within the Cminds platform will support the ample discussion required to reach conclusions.

Members will do much of their work online and asynchronously (at your own schedule during a period of about 2 weeks per phase). Periodically however, we will open other channels, described in a previous companion post, that permit some members to meet together via conference call or videoconference to discuss the work. The whole group will see and have a chance to respond to these deliberations before any decisions are made.

We imagine members might spend up to an hour on the most time intensive phases of a problem. To give people adequate opportunity to fit in a visit to the site to do their work, each phase will extend over a two week period. We’ll see over time if we can shrink that time frame and move more quickly from beginning to end.



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