Creative and Participative Problem Solving

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by: René Victor Valqui Vidal

In many professions the point of departure is a mess or a problematic situation. A mess is usually defined as a confused, dirty, or offensive condition, or as a disordered situation resulting from misunderstanding, blundering, or misconception. A mess is usually composed of a complex mix of problems. Along these lines we could define a professional as a problem solver within a specific field. Managers, system scientists, computer scientists, operational researchers, system workers, designers, architects, engineers, innovators, medical doctors, lawyers, sociologists, social workers, action researchers, educators, innovators, artists, etc., are primarily dealing with messes in their professional praxes.

Most of these disciplines have developed concepts, approaches, methods and tools to deal with complex problems but there are usually presented in very specific terms related to their specific context. I am quite certain that much of these knowledge and experience have a more general applicability to other fields and that there is a lot to gain by discussing problem solving in more general terms. In other words, this book can be considered as an essay to create a new discipline: The art and science of problem solving.

In this new field rational, critical and creative approaches as well as their interplay, will be emphasised when dealing with problematic situations. Moreover, knowledge and experience coming from both theory (the professionals or experts) and practice (the users or clients), will be central in this field enhancing participation and dialogue. The final validity of our problem solving approaches will be their usability, what works in the real world is valid.

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