101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving.Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley &
Sons, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Pfeiffer, an Imprint of Wiley. http://www.pfeiffer.com
- For each participant: one sheet each of three different colors of sticking dots
(^1 ⁄ 2 ” diameter) and one pad of 4 x 6 Post-it®Notes
- Mental Breakdown Handout
- Ideas in a Box 
- Parts Is Parts 
- Parts Purge 
- 666 
- Instruct participants in small groups to write a problem challenge in question
form on the flip chart.
- Have them break down the challenge by listing every part of the problem.
- Tell them to turn each problem into a new challenge question.
- Ask them to select three of the new questions and generate ideas to resolve them.
- After about 20 minutes, have the participants in each group examine the ideas to
see if they might suggest any solutions to the original challenge.
- Tell them to write down any ideas on Post-it®Notes (one idea per note) and place
them on flip charts for evaluation.
The list of potential subproblems for most challenges is almost endless. Although it may
seem obvious to subdivide a larger problem this way, the obvious often can be over-
looked. This is especially true when problem solvers become overwhelmed by the enor-
mity of the task facing them.
Ask participants the following types of questions:
- For what types of problems is this approach most likely to be effective? (for example,
complex, difficult-to-understand ones) Why is this?
- When is this approach likely to be ineffective? (for example, when little time is avail-
able) Why is this?
- Why is it important to generate a relatively large number of subproblems?
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