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The Future Problem Solving Process

The Future Problem Solving model serves as the foundation to dynamic, creative thinking process and includes the following six steps:
Step 1: Identify Challenges
  • Generate issues, concerns, and problems, applying background knowledge to the Future Scene
  • Consider major issues and categories of problems in order to think of more challenges
  • Select the sixteen best challenges
  • Write the sixteen best challenges clearly and concisely, showing cause and effect and tying directly to the Future Scene
Step 2: Select an Underlying Problem
  • Consider the major issues in the sixteen challenges
  • Select the issues, one that will have a major impact on the Future Scene, for the focus of the underlying problem
  • Be forward-looking and proactive, not regressive and reactive, in developing the underlying problem
  • Write the underlying problem in correct format, beginning with the Future Scene conditions that are the basis for the idea
  • Indicate a desired action to be taken, a purpose for the desired action, and parameters tying the problem to the Future Scene
Step 3: Produce Solution Ideas
  • Generate multiple solutions to the underlying problem
  • Think futuristically and consider the use of technological advantages
  • Select the sixteen best solution ideas
  • Check each solution for its relevance to the underlying problem
  • Write the sixteen solutions clearly
  • Elaborate by telling who will implement the solutions, what action will be taken, and how or why the action will be taken
Step 4: Generate and Select Criteria
  • Generate possible criteria that could be used to evaluate the solutions
  • Consider the underlying problem and the Future Scene in developing criteria
  • Select five important criteria
  • Write criteria in question format, with a superlative and in the desired direction
Step 5: Apply Criteria
  • Select the eight most promising solutions to include in the grind
  • Rank the solutions based on each of the criteria separately
  • Identify the best solution as the one with the highest number of total points
Step 6: Develop an Action Plan
  • Plan how the best solution can be implemented
  • Describe the actions and steps of the plan
  • Make clear how the plan will address the Underlying Problem's Key Verb Phrase and Purpose.
Future Problem Solving teaches students how to think, not what to think.
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