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Strategies for Creative Problem Solving (3e) : 9780133091663

Strategies for Creative Problem Solving (3e)

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Strategies for Creative Problem Solving, Third Edition, will help your students hone their creative skills and apply those skills to solve nearly any problem. Drawing on National Science Foundation-funded, advanced research that studied problem-solving techniques in all areas of modern industry, the book presents a comprehensive, systematic problem-solving framework. Through hands-on techniques and exercises drawing on realistic examples, students will learn how to approach an ill-defined problem, identify the real problem, generate and implement the best solution, evaluate what you learn, and build on that knowledge.

Table of contents

Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xix
About the Authors xxi


Chapter 1: Problem-Solving Strategies: Why Bother? 1
What's the Real Problem? 1
Correct Problem Definition/Wrong Solution 7
A Heuristic for Successful Problem Solving 8
Summary 11
Web-Site Material 11
References 13
Exercises 13
Further Reading 15


Chapter 2: The Characteristics, Attitudes, and Environment Necessary for Effective Problem Solving 17
Getting in the Right Frame of Mind 18
Having a Vision 22
Working Together in Teams 26
Responding to Criticism 30
Conflict Resolution 32
Summary 34
Web-Site Material 35
References 37
Exercises 37
Further Reading 40


Chapter 3: Skills Necessary for Effective Problem Solving 41
Critical Thinking 41
Summary 63
Web-Site Material 64
References 65
Exercises 65
Further Reading 73


Chapter 4: First Steps 75
The First Four Steps 76
Summary 90
Web-Site Material 90
Reference 91
Exercises 91


Chapter 5: Problem Definition 93
Defining the Real Problem: Four Techniques 93
Technique 1: Using the Duncker Diagram to Define the Real Problem 94
Technique 2: Using the Statement-Restatement Technique 98
Technique 3: Kepner-Tregoe Problem Analysis 103
Which Technique to Choose? 109
Determine Whether the Problem should be Solved 109
Brainstorm Potential Causes and Solution Alternatives 111
Summary 111
Web-Site Material 112
References 113
Exercises 113
Further Reading 125


Chapter 6: Breaking Down the Barriers to Generating Ideas 127
Recognizing Mental Blocks 129
Improving Your Creative Abilities 133
Risk Taking 135
Summary 141
Web-Site Material 142
References 142
Exercises 143
Further Reading 145


Chapter 7: Generating Solutions 147
Brainstorming 147
Free Association 148
Vertical Thinking 149
Lateral Thinking 154
Organizing Brainstorming Ideas: The Fishbone Diagram 157
Cautions 159
Brainwriting 159
Futuring 159
Cross-Fertilization 162
Analogy 165
Incubating Ideas 167
Triz 168
Use The Defect to Solve The Problem 177
Summary 179
Web-Site Material 179
References 180
Exercises 181
Further Reading 185


Chapter 8: Deciding the Course of Action 187
K.T. Situation Appraisal 188
K.T. Problem Analysis 194
K.T. Decision Analysis 194
Adverse Consequences of the Alternative Solutions 198
K.T. Potential Problem Analysis 208
Summary 214
Web-Site Material 215
References 215
Exercises 215
Further Reading 227


Chapter 9: Implementing the Solution 229
Approval 229
Carry Through 241
Follow Up 242
Goal Setting 244
Summary 244
Web-Site Material 245
References 246
Exercises 246
Further Reading 247


Chapter 10: Evaluation 249
General Guidelines 249
Ethical Evaluation 253
Safety Considerations 260
Summary 260
Web-Site Material 261
References 261
Exercises 261
Further Reading 270


Chapter 11: Troubleshooting 271
Some General Guidelines 271
Technical Troubleshooting Exercises 280
Interactive Computing Module on Troubleshooting 292
Troubleshooting Laboratory Equipment 294
Summary 295
Web-Site Material 295
References 295
Exercises 295
Further Reading 304


Chapter 12: Putting It All Together 305
Case Study 1: Generating Sustainable Power for an Agricultural Processing Plant in India 306
Case Study 2: Problems at the Bakery Cafe 316
Summary 329
Web-Site Material 330
Instructor's Solution Manual 330
References 330
Exercises 330


Index 333


Additional Material on the Web Site (www.engin.umich.edu/scps):
Power Point Slides of Lectures
Summary Notes
Interactive Computer Games
Material from the Second Edition Not Included in the Third Edition Printed Book
Examples and Exercises That Complement the Examples in the Printed Book
Appendix 1: McMaster's Five-Point Strategy
Appendix 2: Plotting Data

New to this edition

This new edition contains:

  • Expanded, revised and updated examples throughout, including new Fermi examples
  • New material on making the case for change
  • Tighter linkages between problem-solving techniques and real-world applications
  • More opportunities to strengthen and practice critical thinking


Features & benefits
  • More than 25 examples new to the third edition, based on recent, real-world events and topics
  • Expanded coverage of critical thinking and reasoning, including an introduction to structured critical reasoning
  • New discussion of managing complex change
  • Companion website as a valuable resource for students and instructors, containing Interactive Computer Modules, Summary Notes, a Professional Reference Shelf, and Additional Study Materials
Author biography

H. Scott Fogler is the Vennema Professor of Chemical Engineering and Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan, and a past president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He has chaired ASEE's Chemical Engineering Division and earned the Warren K. Lewis Award from AIChE for contributions to chemical engineering education and the 2010 Malcom E. Pruitt Award from the Council for Chemical Research. He is the author of the classic Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Fourth Edition (Prentice Hall, 2006), and Essentials of Chemical Reaction Engineering (Prentice Hall, 2011).


Steven E. LeBlanc is executive associate dean for academic affairs and professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toledo. He has served as the chairman of the ASEE Chemical Engineering Division and as a co-chair of the 2007 ASEE Chemical Engineering Summer School for Faculty.


Benjamin R. Rizzo is a chemical engineering graduate of the University of Michigan and currently is a production engineer for Shell Oil, working on Unconventional Reservoir Optimization.