To use a range of techniques that stimulate creative and divergent thinking which provides alternative and positive solutions to challenging problems posed.


A problem occurs when something is not behaving as it should, something is deviating from the norm or something goes wrong. At work, the types of problems we face depend largely on the organisations we are in and the jobs we do. 
Effective problem-solving skills enable employees to identify and understand problems, and use effective problem solving skills to resolve these e.g. analysis, logic, creativity, intuition (applied knowledge, skills and experience). Candidates who demonstrate self-direction and can problem solve, have a combination of these skills and will be comfortable with making decisions and confident enough to rise to challenges in the workplace.
Problem-solving is a universal job skill that applies to any position and every industry.  That is why employers want to hire people with problem-solving skills, especially for roles that require dealing with complex business challenges, tight deadlines, and changing variables.
This may be undertaken autonomously, or by identifying help from people around us who have the expertise. Using analytical thought processes and initiative is a sought-after quality and demonstrates that you are not solely relying on others to make progress.

Key behaviours associated with being a problem solver

  • Analysis
  • Intuition
  • Logical thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Investigation
  • Decision making
  • Reflection
  • Research
  • Self-direction
  • Ideas generation
  • Initiative
  • Persistence
  • Action learning
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Planning
  • Independence
  • Solution focused
  • Resilience and self-determination
  • Ethical considerations
  • Creative thinking - divergent/abstract/exploratory

Examples of Outcomes

Students should be able to: 

  • Develop original approaches in defining and solving problems, using a variety of tools and methodologies
  • Evaluate the methods and techniques for solving problems and assess the alternatives
  • Make recommendations regarding the problem and how it can be solved
  • Identify the specific concepts or principles associated with the problem
  • Work independently to solve problems, as well as in group settings
  • See that there may be a better way of doing things
  • Stay calm and not give up when things go wrong, and seek a way around a problem
  • Identify problems of different scales and what is needed to solve them 
  • Have the foresight to evaluate and review work in order to mitigate problems occurring
  • Make solution focused decision when faced with barriers and problems 
  • Explore alternative solutions through analytical practice and creative thinking 
  • Take calculated risks to avoid prescriptive solutions 

Curriculum Design Strategies

Include formative and summative assessments which develop creativity, self-direction, and use of initiative and analysis e.g. real life case studies, research activities, group projects, business challenges, and service or product audit. 
This attribute is linked to being ‘Resilient

Curriculum Delivery Strategies (examples)

  • Project or Dissertation – Provide opportunities for students to research and analyse a specific issue and then present recommendations
  • Live Briefs, Work Experience and Internships – Provide opportunities for students to work on employer-related projects, identify and solve issues in a particular role, and exposure to employer feedback
  • Organising Events – Provide opportunities for students to plan and implement an event, including scheduling, venue, marketing and logistics
  • Enterprise – Ask students to establish a new business idea based on an issue/problem they have identified in their chosen field
  • Modelling - Model a useful problem-solving method in order to encourage the students to find a solution to a work-related issue or problem in society
  • IAB Engagement – Use the skills and the expertise of the IAB to pose a business problem
  • Student Conference – Ask students to organise a conference with a particular subject focus
  • Case conference - multi disciplinary approach to find a solution to a problem (appropriate to discipline) 
  • Simulation – Encourage students to adopt different roles when working with peers in simulated experiences