Problem Finding, Problem Solving

A precursor to the experiential course is Problem Finding, Problem Solving, a new course developed by Sara Beckman that teaches students several different modes of thinking in order to find, frame and solve difficult problems that are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

It serves as the backbone for the Experiential Learning course by:

  • Introducing an innovation framework
  • Creating a common vocabulary
  • Demonstrating a rigorous application of team concepts in innovation

Course Description

Both in the course of a business education and upon completing the MBA, students will increasingly face what have been called “wicked problems.” From managing climate change to alleviating global poverty to simply determining how and when Apple competes with Google, these problems, characterized by considerable volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, defy simple explanation and resolution.

Dealing with these problems requires innovative leadership and a new ways of thinking about business issues. This class focuses on helping students learn about and practice some of the processes and tools—drawn from the fields of critical thinking, design thinking, systems thinking and creative problem solving—that will help them grapple with the “wicked problems” they encounter at Haas and beyond. Specifically, “Problem Finding, Problem Solving ” will talk about ways of collecting information to characterize a problem, framing and re-framing that problem, coming up with a range of solutions and then gathering feedback to assess those solutions. The course will apply those processes and tools to designing and redesigning in some real settings.

Sara Beckman

Problem Finding, Problem Solving

Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman

“This class is aimed at teaching a process whereby students identify and frame problems and come up with alternative solutions. We employ creative problem solving, systems thinking, and critical thinking that are necessary to be an innovative leader.”

Video Room Video: Sara Beckman discusses “Problem Finding, Problem Solving

Read a Q&A with Sara Beckman

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