Structured Thinking and Problem Solving

Home/ Structured Thinking and Problem Solving
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSBP2MB2262

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Nidhi Kaicker

Email of course coordinator:nidhi[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The objective of the course is to expose the participants to various kinds of problem solving situations, and the structured problem solving process.

Course Outcomes:

  1. At the end of the course, the participants will be able to:
  2. To understand and apply the creativeproblem solving process to different types of business problems
  3. Appreciate the role of creativity and critical thinking in framing problems, idea generation, evaluating alternative and implementing solutions
  4. To think through ill-defined, unstructured business situations and bring clarity of thought in dealing with the underlying complexity
  5. Working in teams and aligning individual and team goals towards a common objective
  6. Communicating findings and conclusions clearly

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1: Introduction to Problem Solving

Nature of problems: simple vs complex, structured vs unstructured; common methodologies for problem solving; structured problem solving process; thinking for problem solving: logical, associative, empathic, bisociative, metaphoric, dialectical; convergent vs divergent thinking; design thinking; creative problem solving

Unit 2: Understanding the Problem

Situation, complication and key question; defining the problem – issue tree, ishikawa; barriers to understanding; layers of the problem; structuring the problem - deconstruction

Unit 3: Solving the Problem

Idea generation – SCAMPER; evaluation of alternatives; solution finding; implementation and plan of action

Unit 4: Presenting the Solutions

Pyramid principle; presentation; document writing

Assessment Details with weights

Nature of Assessment


Personal Learning paper


Analysis of Cases


Simulation – Group Project



Reading List:

  • Khandwalla, P. (2004). Lifelong creativity: An unending quest, Tata McGraw Hill Publishing: New Delhi.
  • Proctor, T. (2004). Creative Problem Solving for Managers, Routledge.
  • Treffinger, D., Isaksen, S. and Stead-dorval, K. B. (2005). Creative Problem Solving: An Introduction, Prufrock Press.
  • Vangundy, A.B. (1997). Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, Van Nostrand Reinhold.


  • A set of readings and cases are provided to the participants in form of a course manual as the commencement of the session.