Definition specifically related to the work context
At work, the ability to solve problems is observed in people who are able to analyze a problem and solve it. These individuals deal with a complex and confusing situation by breaking it down into various elements. Problem-solving involves identifying important issues; reflecting on the sequence of causes for a problem; soliciting diverse points of view and evaluating them objectively, and lastly, considering solutions.
These workers use science, technology and mathematics to acquire and share knowledge. They are creative and innovative in seeking solutions. They test their solutions and make the best choice to remedy a situation, anticipate the impact of this choice, evaluate and confirm their solution’s effectiveness, and improve it. In addition, they must be able to articulate the problem and to explain how it was resolved.
In today’s workplace, technology is overwhelming and it increasingly replaces workers to fulfill cognitive tasks. However, it is not always useful in understanding and solving complex and multidimensional problems. These problems involve several dimensions, whether human, interpersonal, technical, scientific or mathematical. There will always be high demand for competent workers who can solve multidimensional problems, to compensate for the limits of technology. Analytical thinking cannot be codified. The ability to make sense of difficult situations and to envision effective solutions is and will remain linked to workers’ generic skills.
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