Improve your Team Problem Solving

When you do group problem solving with your team, try this tip to make your time more effective…

When groups get together to brainstorm, they actually come up with fewer ideas than the individuals in that group would have come up with on their own. That’s why it’s important to think about group problem solving in two phases:

Divergence and Convergence

Divergence happens when the group considers as many different potential solutions as possible. For example, “How many different uses can you find for a brick?

Convergence happens when a large number of ideas are whittled down to a smaller set. For the best results, have people work alone when generating ideas. Then collect those ideas and send them around to the group.

Allow the divergence to continue as group members individually build on the ideas of their colleagues. Give the resulting ideas to everyone and let the group get together to pick the best ones. This way everyone can offer solutions without being unduly influenced by others’ ideas.

Adapted from “The Problem-Solving Process That Prevents Groupthink,” by Art Markman

This daily tip comes from HBR:

What tips have helped you to improve your problem solving team processes? 

Terry Morgan

Hi! I’m Terry, married to Steve and mother of four adult children. I have worked with Cru for almost 40 years, 20 of those years in Latin America. I am passionate about helping people find grace, hope, and growth by walking closely with Jesus. As part of that passion, I coach and train ministry leaders worldwide and create resources to help others grow. You will often find me in our patio garden, processing life with Jesus, with a cup of strong, black coffee in hand.

2 thoughts on “Improve your Team Problem Solving”

  1. The Six Thinking Hats (or modes)
    The White Hat calls for information known or needed.
    The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition.
    The Black Hat is judgment — the devil\’s advocate or why something may not work.
    The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism.
    The Green Hat focuses on creativity: the possibilities, alternatives and new ideas.
    The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process.
    These are very interesting, Paul! Have you read the book or are you a certified trainer? Would you like to write a post for us and further explain these six hats? 🙂

  2. This is really simple and helpful. Thanks!
    One method I\’ve found really helpful for the moving on into greater divergence and then clearer convergence is de Bono\’s Six Thinking Hats – it gets people into the same place in the process more cohesively than other methods I have used. Have a look:

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