1 Kagahn

Single-State Problem Formulation Critical Thinking


Knowledge Base

Problem Solving

Problem Solving is the Capacity and the Ability to EvaluateInformation and to Predict Future Outcomes. The Ability to Seek out Logical Solutions to Problems, Calmly and Systematically, without making things worse. Decision Making - Cause and Effect.

"There are no Problems, only Solutions"

Every Problem can be solved, you just have to learn how to solve it. There is a Process to Problem Solving, but you also need skills, knowledge and information in order to be a good problem solver. Problem Solving Skills are the most important skills to have. They are the most widely used skills in every human’s life. The majority of our lives are spent solving problems. Most problems are easy to solve and take very little time, while other problems could take hours, days, weeks, months and even years to solve. But if you don't start, you will never finish, and the problem will never go away.

Sort it Out is to make plans or arrangements to do what is necessary to deal with a problem, disagreement, or difficult situation successfully.

Sometimes you have to go several layers deep in order to find the true source of a problem. If you never stop the root cause of a problem, then you will never stop the problem. You may be able to manage the problem a little but you are just treating the
disease and not curing the disease. It's kind of like when you have weeds, you can pull the weeds out, but if you leave the roots, then the weeds will always grow back. You have to solve problems at their core. So you have to invest some of your time and energy in understanding the root-cause of a problem, because that will always save you the most time and energy in the long run. What if a problem is related to a particular behavior? Then you will have to modify or change the behavior, if not, then that problem will never get better and it will most likely get worse. Try not to jump to conclusions or be quick to blame. Do your research.

"Any problem worth solving will always be difficult to solve, it's not impossible, it's just a lot of work" 

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." - Albert Einstein

"It's always better to solve a problem when it's small then to wait for it to be big problem."

The Five W's and an H are questions whose answers are considered basic in information-gathering or problem-solving.

Problem Based Learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge.

Project Based Learning is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Students learn about a subject by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, challenge, or problem. It is a style of active learning and inquiry-based learning. PBL contrasts with paper-based, rote memorization, or teacher-led instruction that simply presents established facts or portrays a smooth path to knowledge by instead posing questions, problems or scenarios.

Using Experience in Learning and Problem Solving (PDF)
You don't have to be an expert to solve big problems: Tapiwa Chiwewe (video and text)

Learning Methods
Temp Workforce - Skill Sharing
Decision Making
Problem Solving Words
Problem Solving Tips
Communication Skills
Capstone Project

Problem Solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems. First gather as much information about the subject as you can. Then learn as much as you can about how this Information relates to each other and to the subject.

8 Disciplines of Problem Solving (wiki)

Plan: Plan for solving the problem and determine the prerequisites.

1:Use a Team: Establish a team of people with product/process knowledge.
2: Describe the Problem: Specify the problem by identifying in quantifiable terms the who, what, where, when, why, how, and how many (5W2H) for the problem.
3: Develop Interim Containment Plan: Define and implement containment actions to isolate the problem from any customer.
4: Determine, and Verify Root Causes and Escape Points: Identify all applicable causes that could explain why the problem has occurred. Also identify why the problem was not noticed at the time it occurred. All causes shall be verified or proved. One can use five whys or Ishikawa diagrams to map causes against the effect or problem identified.
5: Verify Permanent Corrections (PCs) for Problem will resolve problem for the customer: Using pre-production programs, quantitatively confirm that the selected correction will resolve the problem. (Verify that the correction will actually solve the problem.)
6: Define and Implement Corrective Actions: Define and Implement the best corrective actions.
7: Prevent System Problems: Modify the management systems, operation systems, practices, and procedures to prevent recurrence of this and all similar problems.
8: Congratulate Your Team: Recognize the collective efforts of the team. The team needs to be formally thanked by the organization.

Big 6 Methods 

Situated Cognition is a theory that posits that knowing is inseparable from doing by arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural and physical contexts.

How to Solve It. First, you have to understand the problem. "Understanding the problem is the first step in solving it." After understanding, then make a plan. Then carry out the plan. Then look back on your work and ask "How could it be better?"

After Action Review is a structured review or de-brief process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better by the participants and those responsible for the project or event.

Case-Based Reasoning is the process of solving new problems based on the solutions of similar past problems.

Improvisation is the process of devising a solution to a requirement by making-do, despite absence of resources that might be expected to produce a solution. Hacking

Affect Heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently. 

Heuristic is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, stereotyping, profiling, or common sense.

Metaheuristic is a higher-level procedure or heuristic designed to find, generate, or select a heuristic (partial search algorithm) that may provide a sufficiently good solution to an optimization problem, especially with incomplete or imperfect information or limited computation capacity. Metaheuristics sample a set of solutions which is too large to be completely sampled. Metaheuristics may make few assumptions about the optimization problem being solved, and so they may be usable for a variety of problems.

Panacea is a solution for all problems. Hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases; Improving Education is a Panacea

Recursion (computer science) in computer science is a method where the solution to a problem depends on solutions to smaller instances of the same problem (as opposed to iteration). The approach can be applied to many types of problems, and recursion is one of the central ideas of computer science.

Finite Element Method is a numerical technique for finding approximate solutions to boundary value problems for partial differential equations. It is also referred to as finite element analysis (FEA). FEM subdivides a large problem into smaller, simpler, parts, called finite elements.

Root Cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chain that leads to an outcome or effect of interest. Commonly, root cause is used to describe the depth in the causal chain where an intervention could reasonably be implemented to improve performance or prevent an undesirable outcome. Cause and Effect

Root Cause Analysis is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems. A factor is considered a root cause if removal thereof from the problem-fault-sequence prevents the final undesirable event from recurring; whereas a causal factor is one that affects an event's outcome, but is not a root cause. Though removing a causal factor can benefit an outcome, it does not prevent its recurrence with certainty. "The Root of the Problem"

Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving, often applied to repair failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem in order to solve it, and make the product or process operational again. Troubleshooting is needed to identify the symptoms. Determining the most likely cause is a process of elimination—eliminating potential causes of a problem. Finally, troubleshooting requires confirmation that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.

Trial and Error is a fundamental method of solving problems. It is characterized by repeated, varied attempts which are continued until success, or until the agent stops trying. 

Unit Testing is a software testing method by which individual units of source code, sets of one or more computer program modules together with associated control data, usage procedures, and operating procedures, are tested to determine whether they are fit for use.

Result is the final consequence of a sequence of actions or events expressed qualitatively or quantitatively. Possible results include advantage, disadvantage, gain, injury, loss, value and victory. There may be a range of possible outcomes associated with an event depending on the point of view, historical distance or relevance. Reaching no result can mean that actions are inefficient, ineffective, meaningless or flawed.

Evaluating is a systematic determination of a subject's merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. Information Literacy

Measurement is the assignment of a number to a characteristic of an object or event, which can be compared with other objects or events.

Risk Assessment

Demonstration Proof is a deductive argument for a mathematical statement. In the argument, other previously established statements, such as theorems, can be used. In principle, a proof can be traced back to self-evident or assumed statements, known as axioms, along with accepted rules of inference.

Evidence is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence.

Anecdotal Evidence is evidence from anecdotes. Where only one or a few anecdotes are presented, there is a larger chance that they may be unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases.

Coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other.

Operational Research is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Well-Posed Problem is when a solution exists, the solution is unique, and the solution's behavior changes continuously with the initial conditions.

Regularization (mathematics) is a process of introducing additional information in order to solve an ill-posed problem or to prevent overfitting.

Overfitting is to fit a "model" to a set of training data, so as to be able to make reliable predictions on general untrained data. In overfitting, a statistical model describes random error or noise instead of the underlying relationship. Overfitting occurs when a model is excessively complex, such as having too many parameters relative to the number of observations. A model that has been overfit has poor predictive performance, as it overreacts to minor fluctuations in the training data.

Analyzing - Analysis

Verification and Validation are independent procedures that are used together for checking that a product, service, or system meets requirements and specifications and that it fulfills its intended purpose. 

Inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.

Proactivity refers to anticipatory, change-oriented and self-initiated behavior in situations, particularly in the workplace. Proactive behavior involves acting in advance of a future situation, rather than just reacting. It means taking control and making things happen rather than just adjusting to a situation or waiting for something to happen. Proactive employees generally do not need to be asked to act, nor do they require detailed instructions.

Mind Maps
Creative Process

Parameter is any characteristic that can help in defining or classifying a particular system (meaning an event, project, object, or situation, etc). That is, a parameter is an element of a system that is useful, or critical, when evaluating the identity of a system; or, when evaluating the performance, status, condition, etc. of a system.

Spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary infinitely within a continuum.

Failure - Mistakes
Theoretical Definition
Accuracy and Precision

Alternatives is one of a number of choices and options from which to choose from.

Alternative Dispute Resolution includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement short of litigation. It is a collective term for the ways that parties can settle disputes, with (or without) the help of a third party.

Anomaly is a deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule.

Scientific Methods


Doubt characterizes a status in which the mind remains suspended between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and disbelief. Doubt involves uncertainty, distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt questions a notion of a perceived "reality", and may involve delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concerns for mistakes or faults or appropriateness. (compare paradox).

Dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable. One in this position has been traditionally described as "being on the horns of a dilemma", neither horn being comfortable. This is sometimes more colorfully described as "Finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma", referring to the sharp points of a bull's horns, equally uncomfortable (and dangerous).

Ad Hoc generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes (compare with a priori).


Methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge. Typically, it encompasses concepts such as paradigm, theoretical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative techniques.

Approach are the ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation. Procedure

Syllogism is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.

Construct in the philosophy of science is an ideal object, where the existence of the thing may be said to depend upon a subject's mind. This contrasts with a real object, where existence does not seem to depend on the existence of a mind.


Concept is a generalization or abstraction from experience or the result of a transformation of existing Ideas.

Closed Concept is a concept where all the necessary and sufficient conditions required to include something within the concept can be listed. For example, the concept of a triangle is closed because a three-sided polygon, and only a three-sided polygon, is a triangle. All the conditions required to call something a triangle can be, and are, listed.

Concept Analysis is a principled way of deriving a concept hierarchy or formal ontology from a collection of objects and their properties. Each concept in the hierarchy represents the set of objects sharing the same values for a certain set of properties; and each sub-concept in the hierarchy contains a subset of the objects in the concepts above it.

Conceptual Framework is an analytical tool with several variations and contexts. It is used to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas. Strong conceptual frameworks capture something real and do this in a way that is easy to remember and apply

Expectancy Theory proposes an individual will behave or act in a certain way because they are motivated to select a specific behavior over other behaviors due to what they expect the result of that selected behavior will be. In essence, the motivation of the behavior selection is determined by the desirability of the outcome. However, at the core of the theory is the cognitive process of how an individual processes the different motivational elements. This is done before making the ultimate choice. The outcome is not the sole determining factor in making the decision of how to behave.

Paradox is a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to a self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion. Some logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking.

Paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field. Systematic arrangement of all the inflected forms of a word. The generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time.

Scenarios - Variables

Dichotomy is a partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets). In other words, this couple of parts must be jointly exhaustive: everything must belong to one part or the other, and mutually exclusive: nothing can belong simultaneously to both parts.

Dialectic is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.

Pragmatism is the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value. The attribute of accepting the facts of life and favoring practicality and literal truth. Philosophy

Reduction Complexity is an algorithm for transforming one problem into another problem. A reduction from one problem to another may be used to show that the second problem is at least as difficult as the first.

Determinism is the philosophical doctrine that all events transpire in virtue of some necessity and are therefore inevitable. Traditionally, the view relies on strict notions of causality, and most philosophical arguments in its favor have attempted at clear definitions of cause and effect as a basis for the belief that determinism is true.

Critical Thinking is clear, rational thinking involving critique. Making clear, reasoned judgments. Ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged. Intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. "Critical Thinking is Critical".

Critical thinking can be taught

Analytical Skill is the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions that are sensible given the available information. Such skills include demonstration of the ability to apply logical thinking to breaking complex problems into their component parts.

Critical Theory is reflective assessments and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities.

Critical Thinking - Critical Thinking

Creative Thinking (creativity)
Thinking Styles (thought)


Meticulous is being in precise accordance with details. Marked by extreme care in treatment of details.

Understanding Information - Formulating

Making Comparisons

Strategist is a person with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of a strategy. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources).

Levels of Complexity

Synchronization is the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The familiar conductor of an orchestra serves to keep the orchestra in time. Systems operating with all their parts in synchrony are said to be synchronous or in sync; those which are not are asynchronous.

Hypothesis Testing is a hypothesis that is testable on the basis of observing a process that is modeled via a set of random variables. A statistical hypothesis test is a method of statistical inference. Commonly, two statistical data sets are compared, or a data set obtained by sampling is compared against a synthetic data set from an idealized model. A hypothesis is proposed for the statistical relationship between the two data sets, and this is compared as an alternative to an idealized null hypothesis that proposes no relationship between two data sets.

Factoid a false statement presented as a fact. Lie

Axiom is a statement (in mathematics often shown in symbolic form) that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. Thus, the axiom can be used as the premise or starting point for further reasoning or arguments, usually in logic or in mathematics.

Pattern Recognition
Analyzing Information

Calibration is the process of finding a relationship between two quantities that are unknown (when the measurable quantities are not given a particular value for the amount considered or found a standard for the quantity). When one of quantity is known, which is made or set with one device, another measurement is made as similar way as possible with the first device using a second device. The measurable quantities may differ in two devices which are equivalent. The device with the known or assigned correctness is called the standard. The second device is the unit under test, test instrument, or any of several other names for the device being calibrated.

Conjecture is a conclusion or proposition based on incomplete information, for which no proof has been found.

Means-Ends Analysis is a strategy to control search in problem-solving. Given a current state and a goal state, an action is chosen which will reduce the difference between the two. The action is performed on the current state to produce a new state, and the process is recursively applied to this new state and the goal state. Note that, in order for MEA to be effective, the goal-seeking system must have a means of associating to any kind of detectable difference those actions that are relevant to reducing that difference. It must also have means for detecting the progress it is making (the changes in the differences between the actual and the desired state), as some attempted sequences of actions may fail and, hence, some alternate sequences may be tried. When knowledge is available concerning the importance of differences, the most important difference is selected first to further improve the average performance of MEA over other brute-force search strategies. However, even without the ordering of differences according to importance, MEA improves over other search heuristics (again in the average case) by focusing the problem solving on the actual differences between the current state and that of the goal.

Meaning - Reasoning - Analogy

Catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. An example would be: To apply for a job, you need to have a few years of experience. But in order to gain experience, you need to get a job first.

Odds is the likelihood that the event will take place. Odds against reflect the likelihood that a particular event will not take place.

Scientific Examination (research)
Sometimes the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one (Occam's Razor)
Puzzles - Brain Games
Ingenuity - Innovation


Decision Making is the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Every decision-making process produces a final choice that may or may not prompt action. Decision-making is the process of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision-maker.

This is the best decision we can make at this time based on our current level of knowledge and information.

Avoid fear-based decisions or escape-based decisions, focus on target-based decisions. Evidence

Everyone can make better decisions, and everyone has the ability to make good decisions, but not everyone is aware of what good decisions they can make or what good choices are available. This is why informing the public, and educating every student to the highest degree is absolutely necessary. This is life or death decision. And I choose life, like most people do.

People realize the problems in the world but they don't know how to solve these problems. You must put the process of problem solving in motion. You need to find short term and long term solutions. We need to go beyond just treating social diseases, we need to cure these diseases once and for all. Decision Tree

Analysis Paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, while on the way to a better solution.

Recognition Primed Decision is a model of how people make quick, effective decisions when faced with complex situations. In this model, the decision maker is assumed to generate a possible course of action, compare it to the constraints imposed by the situation, and select the first course of action that is not rejected.

Consensus Decision-Making is a group decision-making process in which group members develop, and agree to support, a decision in the best interest of the whole. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favourite" of each individual. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment.

Democracy - Consensus Decision Making - Working Together

Consensus is a group decision-making process in which group members develop, and agree to support, a decision in the best interest of the whole. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favourite" of each individual. Diplomatic

Scientific Consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, replication (reproducible results by others), and peer review. These lead to a situation in which those within the discipline can often recognize such a consensus where it exists, but communicating to outsiders that consensus has been reached can be difficult, because the 'normal' debates through which science progresses may seem to outsiders as contestation. On occasion, scientific institutes issue position statements intended to communicate a summary of the science from the "inside" to the "outside" of the scientific community. In cases where there is little controversy regarding the subject under study, establishing what the consensus is can be quite straightforward.

Peer Review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility.

Group Decision-Making is a situation faced when individuals collectively make a choice from the alternatives before them. The decision is then no longer attributable to any single individual who is a member of the group. This is because all the individuals and social group processes such as social influence contribute to the outcome. The decisions made by groups are often different from those made by individuals. Group polarization is one clear example: groups tend to make decisions that are more extreme than those of its individual members, in the direction of the individual inclinations. Truth

Group Cognition is a social, largely linguistic phenomenon whereby a group of people produce a sequence of utterances that performs a cognitive act. That is, if a similar sequence was uttered or thought by an individual it would be considered an act of cognition or thinking. The group can be a small group, such as 3-5 people talking together or working together online. The group can also be a larger collective, such as a classroom of students or a global community contributing asynchronously to an extended discourse on a problem or topic or to a knowledge repository like Wikipedia. The theory of group cognition is a postcognitivism philosophy, which considers a larger unit of analysis than an individual mind as a producer of cognitive activities such as creative problem solving.

Group Polarization refers to the tendency for a group to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclination of its members. These more extreme decisions are towards greater risk if individuals' initial tendencies are to be risky and towards greater caution if individuals' initial tendencies are to be cautious. The phenomenon also holds that a group's attitude toward a situation may change in the sense that the individuals' initial attitudes have strengthened and intensified after group discussion, a phenomenon known as attitude polarization.

Shared Decision-Making (SDM) is an approach in which clinicians and patients communicate together using the best available evidence when faced with the task of making decisions. Patients are supported to deliberate about the possible attributes and consequences of options, to arrive at informed preferences in making a determination about the best course of action which respects patient autonomy, as well as ethical and legal norms.

Decision Support System is a computer-based information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management, operations, and planning levels of an organization (usually mid and higher management) and help people make decisions about problems that may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance—i.e. Unstructured and Semi-Structured decision problems. Decision support systems can be either fully computerized, human-powered or a combination of both. Knowledge Management

Decision Making Software is used to help individuals and organizations with their decision-making processes, typically resulting in ranking, sorting or choosing from among alternatives.

Decision Matrix is a list of values in rows and columns that allows an analyst to systematically identify, analyze, and rate the performance of relationships between sets of values and information. Elements of a decision matrix show decisions based on certain decision criteria. The matrix is useful for looking at large masses of decision factors and assessing each factor’s relative significance. Decision matrix is used to describe a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) problem. Visualizing

Computational Thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. Computational thinking is thinking in terms of abstractions, invariably multiple layers of abstraction at once. Computational thinking is about the automation of these abstractions. The automaton could be an algorithm, a Turing machine, a tangible device, a software system—or the human brain

Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out. Computational Thinking is an iterative process based on three stages: 1) Problem Formulation (abstraction), 2) Solution Expression (automation), and 3) Solution Execution & Evaluation (analyses) captured by the figure to the right.

Decision Theory is the study of the reasoning underlying an agent's choices. Decision theory can be broken into two branches: normative decision theory, which gives advice on how to make the best decisions, given a set of uncertain beliefs and a set of values; and descriptive decision theory, which analyzes how existing, possibly irrational agents actually make decisions. Game Theory.

Bayesian Decision Theory refers to a decision theory which is informed by Bayesian probability. It is a statistical system that tries to quantify the tradeoff between various decisions, making use of probabilities and costs. An agent operating under such a decision theory uses the concepts of Bayesian statistics to estimate the expected value of its actions, and update its expectations based on new information. These agents can and are usually referred to as estimators. From the perspective of Bayesian decision theory, any kind of probability distribution - such as the distribution for tomorrow's weather - represents a prior distribution. That is, it represents how we expect today the weather is going to be tomorrow. This contrasts with frequentist inference, the classical probability interpretation, where conclusions about an experiment are drawn from a set of repetitions of such experience, each producing statistically independent results. For a frequentist, a probability function would be a simple distribution function with no special meaning. Suppose we intend to meet a friend tomorrow, and expect an 0.5 chance of raining. If we are choosing between various options for the meeting, with the pleasantness of some of the options (such as going to the park) being affected by the possibility of rain, we can assign values to the different options with or with rain. We can then pick the option whose expected value is the highest, given the probability of rain. One definition of rationality, used both on Less Wrong and in economics and psychology, is behavior which obeys the rules of Bayesian decision theory. Due to computational constraints, this is impossible to do perfectly, but naturally evolved brains do seem to mirror these probabilistic methods when they adapt to an uncertain environment. Such models and distributions may be reconfigured according to feedback from the environment.

Reflective Decision Theory is a term occasionally used to refer to a decision theory that would allow an agent to take actions in a way that does not trigger regret. This regret is conceptualized, according to the Causal Decision Theory, as a Reflective inconsistency, a divergence between the agent who took the action and the same agent reflecting upon it after.

Rational Choice Theory is a framework for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behavior. The basic premise of rational choice theory is that aggregate social behavior results from the behavior of individual actors, each of whom is making their individual decisions. The theory therefore focuses on the determinants of the individual choices (methodological individualism). Machine Learning

Decision Tree Learning uses a decision tree as a predictive model which maps observations about an item (represented in the branches) to conclusions about the item's target value (represented in the leaves). It is one of the predictive modelling approaches used in statistics, data mining and machine learning. Tree models where the target variable can take a finite set of values are called classification trees; in these tree structures, leaves represent class labels and branches represent conjunctions of features that lead to those class labels. Decision trees where the target variable can take continuous values (typically real numbers) are called regression trees. Decision Tree (KM)

Decision Tree is a decision support tool that uses a tree-like graph or model of decisions and their possible consequences, including chance event outcomes, resource costs, and utility. It is one way to display an algorithm. Decision trees are commonly used in operations research, specifically in decision analysis, to help identify a strategy most likely to reach a goal, but are also a popular tool in machine learning.

Menu Interfaces - Reasoning - Feedback - Knowledge Management

Info-Gap Decision Theory is a non-probabilistic decision theory that seeks to optimize robustness to failure – or opportuneness for windfall – under severe uncertainty, in particular applying sensitivity analysis of the stability radius type to perturbations in the value of a given estimate of the parameter of interest. It has some connections with Wald's maximin model; some authors distinguish them, others consider them instances of the same principle.

Opportunity Cost is the Value of the best alternative forgone where, given limited resources, a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives. Assuming the best choice is made, it is the "cost" incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would have been had by taking the second best available choice.

Development Process

Probability Interpretations Does probability measure the real, physical tendency of something to occur or is it a measure of how strongly one believes it will occur, or does it draw on both these elements? In answering such questions, mathematicians interpret the probability values of probability theory. Odds

Operational Research is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Decision Making and Problem Solving
Problem Solving Techniques

Decentralization is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority.

Praxeology is the deductive study of human action based on the notion that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to reflexive behavior like sneezing and inanimate behavior. According to its theorists, with the action axiom as the starting point, it is possible to draw conclusions about human behavior that are both objective and universal. For example, the notion that humans engage in acts of choice implies that they have preferences, and this must be true for anyone who exhibits intentional behavior.

Nonlinear System is a system in which the output is not directly proportional to the input. Nonlinear problems are of interest to engineers, physicists and mathematicians and many other scientists because most systems are inherently nonlinear in nature. Nonlinear systems may appear chaotic, unpredictable or counterintuitive, contrasting with the much simpler linear systems.

Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle."


Operations Research is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Hick's Law the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically. The Hick–Hyman law assesses cognitive information capacity in choice reaction experiments. The amount of time taken to process a certain amount of bits in the Hick–Hyman law is known as the rate of gain of information.

Case-by-Case is used to describe decisions that are made separately, each according to the facts of the particular situation.

Ad hoc is for one specific case, or improvised for one specific purpose. Analyze

Two Types of Problem-Solving Models (PDF)  Tuition
PS Expertise
College Student’s Guide to Computers in Education - Chapter 3: Expertise and Problem Solving
Problem Solving
Scientific Method
Dan Ariely Decisions

Artificial Intelligence

Making a Comprehensive Plan of Action - Predictions

Prediction is a measurement or a belief about something that may happen in the future. A statement about an uncertain event. It is often, but not always, based upon experience or knowledge. Consistent - Meaning

Probability - Scenarios - Real-Time Computing
Precognition - Risk Assessment (actions needed)
Development - Far Future Planning

Forecasting is the process of making predictions of the Future based on past and present data and analysis of trends.

Predict is to regard something as probable or likely. probable occurrence. reasoning about the future. Tell in advance.
Predictable is capable of being foretold in advance. Indicate by signs or evidence.
Definiteness is the quality of being predictable with great confidence.
Anticipate is to act in advance and prepare yourself for some event in order to deal with it ahead of time. To make a prediction about something and to tell in advance and realize something beforehand and regard that something as probable or likely to happen.

Predictive Analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events

Predictive Modeling uses statistics to predict outcomes. Most often the event one wants to predict is in the future, but predictive modelling can be applied to any type of unknown event, regardless of when it occurred. For example, predictive models are often used to detect crimes and identify suspects, after the crime has taken place.

"If we could not predict the future, life could not exist. Every cell in our body has a way to predict the future through the feedback that it receives from its environment. It's not the reward that keeps us moving forward, it's knowing that a reward is just a signal, and that the actual prize is still waiting for us, and hopefully we can eventually figure out what that prize is."

Anticipation (artificial intelligence) is the concept of an agent making decisions based on predictions, expectations, or beliefs about the future. It is widely considered that anticipation is a vital component of complex natural cognitive systems. As a branch of AI, anticipatory systems is a specialization still echoing the debates from the 1980s about the necessity for AI for an internal model.

Prediction Interval is an estimate of an interval in which future observations will fall, with a certain probability, given what has already been observed. Prediction intervals are often used in regression analysis.

Conditional Probability is a measure of the probability of an event given that (by assumption, presumption, assertion or evidence) another event has occurred.

Prediction System (PDF)

Theory of Change is a specific type of methodology for planning, participation, and evaluation that is used in the philanthropy, not-for-profit and government sectors to promote social change. Theory of Change defines long-term goals and then maps backward to identify necessary preconditions.

Continuous Planning refers to the process of planning in a world under continual change. Traditionally, as new world information is encountered, a planner adapts to it through the refinement of the plans that are under construction.

Preparedness refers to a very concrete research based set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. These actions can include both physical preparations (such as emergency supplies depots, adapting buildings to survive earthquakes and so on) and trainings for emergency action. Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. There are different types of preparedness, such as public health preparedness and local emergency preparedness or snow preparedness (i.e.: Snow Preparedness Teams - SPT), but probably the most developed type is "Disaster Preparedness", defined by the UN as involving "forecasting and taking precautionary measures prior to an imminent threat when advance warnings are possible". This includes not only natural disasters, but all kinds of severe damage caused in a relatively short period, including warfare. Preparedness is a major phase of emergency management, and is particularly valued in areas of competition such as sport and military science.

Contingency Plan is a plan devised for an outcome other than in the usual (expected) plan.

Intelligence Assessment is the development of forecasts of behavior or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organisation, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership in order to inform decision making.

Vulnerability Assessment is the process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing (or ranking) the vulnerabilities in a system.

Black Swan Event is an occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and is extremely difficult to predict; describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild.

Hindsight is understanding the nature of an event after it has happened.

Staging Area is a location where organisms, people, vehicles, equipment or material are assembled before use.

Early Warning System is a major element of disaster risk reduction. It prevents loss of life and reduces the economic and material impact of disasters. To be effective, early warning systems need to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate alerts, and warnings and ensure there is constant state of preparedness. A complete and effective early warning system supports four main functions: risk analysis, monitoring and warning; dissemination and communication; and a response capability.

Planning or forethought, is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills. There are even a couple of tests to measure someone’s capability of planning well. As such, planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior.

Event Management is the application of project management to the creation and development of large scale events such as festivals, conferences, ceremonies, formal parties, concerts, or conventions. It involves studying the brand, identifying it's target audience, devising the event concept, and coordinating the technical aspects before actually launching the event. The process of planning and coordinating the event is usually referred to as event planning and which can include budgeting, scheduling, site selection, acquiring necessary permits, coordinating transportation and parking, arranging for speakers or entertainers, arranging decor, event security, catering, coordinating with third party vendors, and emergency plans. The events industry now includes events of all sizes from the Olympics down to business breakfast meetings. Many industries, charitable organizations, and interest groups hold events in order to market themselves, build business relationships, raise money, or celebrate achievement.

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the "art of the general", which included several subsets of skills including "tactics", siegecraft, logistics etc..

Strategic Planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.

Strategy Dynamics concerns the ‘content’ of strategy – initiatives, choices, policies and decisions adopted in an attempt to improve performance, and the results that arise from these managerial behaviors.

Strategic Planning Models - Failure to prepare means that you're preparing to fail.

Rational Planning Model is a model of the planning process involving a number of rational actions or steps....Definition of the problems and/or goals; Identification of alternative plans/policies; Evaluation of alternative plans/policies; Implementation of plans/policies; Monitoring of effects of plans/policies.

Interactive Planning focuses on creating the future by designing a desirable present. Interactive planning is unlike other types of planning, such as reactive planning, inactive planning, and preactive planning. Interactive planning has three unique characteristics: Interactive planning works backwards from where an organization wants to be now to where it is now. Interactive planning is continuous; it does not start and stop. Interactive planning lets the organization’s stakeholders to be involved in the planning process. Interactive Planning has six phases, divided into two parts: Idealization and Realization.

Automated Planning and Scheduling is a branch of artificial intelligence that concerns the realization of strategies or action sequences, typically for execution by intelligent agents, autonomous robots and unmanned vehicles. Unlike classical control and classification problems, the solutions are complex and must be discovered and optimized in multidimensional space. Planning is also related to decision theory.

Researchers add a splash of Human Intuition to Planning Algorithms Incorporating strategies from skilled human planners improves automatic planners’ performance.

Oracle is someone who perceives the future intuitively or through some inexplicable perceptive powers.

Prospective Hindsight is a managerial strategy in which a manager imagines that a project or organization has failed, and then works backward to determine what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization. The technique breaks possible group thinking by facilitating a positive discussion on threats, increasing the likelihood the main threats are identified. Management can then analyze the magnitude and likelihood of each threat, and take preventative actions to protect the project or organization from suffering an untimely "death". (A pre-mortem, also known as a premortem).

Worst-case execution time is the maximum length of time the task could take to execute on a specific hardware platform.

Best, worst and average case what the resource usage is on average.

What's the worst case scenario?

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Cause and Effect

Unintended Consequences are outcomes that are not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action.

Mistakes - Ignorance
Reasoning - Choice
Statistics - Time Management
Goals - Assessment Tools

Emergency Preparedness

Concept Driven Strategy is a process for formulating strategy that draws on the explanation of how humans inquire provided by linguistic pragmatic philosophy. This argues that thinking starts by selecting (explicitly or implicitly) a set of concepts (frames, patterns, lens, principles, etc.) gained from our past experiences. These are used to reflect on whatever happens, or is done, in the future.

Strategic Management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by a company's top management on behalf of owners, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organization competes

Rationality (reasoning)

Strategic Thinking is a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving success in a game or other endeavor. As a cognitive activity, it produces thought.

Systems Thinking is the cognitive process of studying and understanding systems of every kind. For others, the focus is on social organizations in particular.

Deliberate is something that is carefully thought out in advance. Unhurried and with care and dignity. Think about carefully; weigh. Discuss the pros and cons of an issue.

Calculate is to predict in advance. Judge to be probable.

Consider is to think about carefully. Regard or treat with consideration, respect, and esteem. Information that should be kept in mind when making a decision. Kind and considerate regard for others.

Measure is to evaluate or estimate the nature, quality, ability, extent, or significance of. How much there is or how many there are of something that you can quantify.

Debate is a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal. Discuss the pros and cons of an issue. The formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote).

Survival Tips - City Planning

"If you fail to plan, then you're planning to fail."

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a plan." 

Things To Do List

There's only so much planning that you can do. You can't plan for everything because something's are difficult to plan for. The best thing that you can do is to learn from your mistakes, and also share what you've learned so that others can avoid making the same mistakes that you did. There is always going to be some level of risk, but you have to make a decision. Just don't let the fear of risk stop you. And don't forget to balance your time between planning and doing. If you spend all your time planning, then you may end up planning to do nothing.

Think Aloud Protocol is a protocol used to gather data in usability testing in product design and development, in psychology and a range of social sciences (e.g., reading, writing, translation research, decision making, and process tracing).

Ordination Methods

Standardization is the process of implementing and developing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organizations and governments Standardization can help to maximize compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. It can also facilitate commoditization of formerly custom processes. In social sciences, including economics, the idea of standardization is close to the solution for a coordination problem, a situation in which all parties can realize mutual gains, but only by making mutually consistent decisions. This view includes the case of "spontaneous standardization processes", to produce de facto standards.

Positive Feed Back Loop
Feedback (public)

"Bringing hindsight to the present moment."

Collaboration Techniques - Collaboration Tools - Outsourcing - Brainstorming

Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize mutual goals.

Collaboration Software Tools is an application software designed to help people involved in a common task to achieve their goals. One of the earliest definitions of collaborative software is 'intentional group processes plus software to support them'.

List of Collaborative Software (wiki)
Wiki Web Collaboration Tools

Project Management Collaboration Tools (software)

Collaborative Innovation Network is a social construct used to describe innovative teams. A cyberteam of self-motivated people with a collective vision, enabled by the Web to collaborate in achieving a common goal by sharing ideas, information, and work.

Internet Forum is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible. Forums have a specific set of jargon associated with them; example: a single conversation is called a "thread", or topic. A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum's topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish. Depending on the forum's settings, users can be anonymous or have to register with the forum and then subsequently log in in order to post messages. On most forums, users do not have to log in to read existing messages.

Chat Room is primarily used to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. The term can thus mean any technology ranging from real-time online chat and online interaction with strangers (e.g., online forums) to fully immersive graphical social environments. The primary use of a chat room is to share information via text with a group of other users. Generally speaking, the ability to converse with multiple people in the same conversation differentiates chat rooms from instant messaging programs, which are more typically designed for one-to-one communication. The users in a particular chat room are generally connected via a shared internet or other similar connection, and chat rooms exist catering for a wide range of subjects. New technology has enabled the use of file sharing and webcam to be included in some programs. This would be considered a chat room.

Synchronous Conferencing is the formal term used in computing, in particular in computer-mediated communication, collaboration and learning, to describe technologies informally known as online chat. It is sometimes extended to include audio/video conferencing or instant messaging systems that provide a text-based multi-user chat function. The word synchronous is used to qualify the conferencing as real-time, as distinct from a system such as e-mail, where messages are left and answered later.

Collaborative Working Environment supports people, such as e-professionals, in their individual and cooperative work. Research in CWE involves focusing on organizational, technical, and social issues.

Diplomacy - Debating - Public Speaking - Meetings - Consensus

Integrated Collaboration Environment is an environment in which a virtual team does its work. Such environments allow companies to realize a number of competitive advantages by using their existing computers and network infrastructure for group and personal collaboration. These fully featured environments combine the best features of web-based conferencing and collaboration, desktop videoconferencing, and instant message into a single easy-to-use, intuitive environment. Recent developments have allowed companies include streaming in real-time and archived modes into their ICE.

Peer Review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field.

Collaborative Editing is the practice of groups producing works together through individual contributions. Effective choices in group awareness, participation, and coordination are critical to successful collaborative writing outcomes.

Vibby identify certain parts of the video, emphasize, share, and discuss them online or offline.

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning is a pedagogical approach wherein learning takes place via social interaction using a computer or through the Internet. This kind of learning is characterized by the sharing and construction of knowledge among participants using technology as their primary means of communication or as a common resource. CSCL can be implemented in online and classroom learning environments and can take place synchronously or asynchronously.

Competitive Programming

Open Office is the generic term used in architectural and interior design for any floor plan which makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms such as private offices.

Fika Culture is a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning "to have coffee"

CERF - Collaborative Framework facilitates productivity and decision making for both scientists and project managers.

Document-Centric Collaboration is a new approach to working together on projects online which puts the document and its contents at the centre of the process.

Web Conferencing may be used as an umbrella term for various types of online collaborative services including web seminars ("webinars"), webcasts, and peer-level web meetings. It may also be used in a more narrow sense to refer only to the peer-level web meeting context, in an attempt to disambiguate it from the other types of collaborative sessions. (Bull Session).

Cloud Computing is a type of Internet-based computing

Critical thinking is the process of rationally analyzing and attempting to solve a problem accurately and efficiently without relying on assumptions or guesses. For students, critical thinking is an important part of the research and learning processes. Business leaders rely on critical thinking to help them solve day-to-day problems, along with major organizational issues, at minimal cost and as quickly as possible.

Assess and Restate the Problem

One of the central strategies to critical thinking and problem solving is developing as complete an understanding as possible of the problem. This means restating the problem in a number of different ways to learn about its dimensions, related problems, and where to look for information about the problem and possible solutions. Assessing a problem using critical thinking may reveal that it's not a problem at all, or that it's impossible to solve given present circumstances, which allows a business leader to focus on reducing its harmful effects instead of searching for a complete solution.

Encourage Creativity

While critical thinking focuses on facts and evidence to solve problems, this doesn't mean that it excludes creative thought and imagination. Instead, critical thinking relies on problem solvers to consider diverse sets of possible solutions before making decisions and acting on them. A creative problem-solving strategy may require collaborating with others to get new input or hear ideas that you wouldn't think of alone. It may also require you to be patient while your ideas develop and evolve.

Question Assumptions

Questioning assumptions is an important strategy to employ at each step of the critical thinking process. Just because solutions were effective in the past doesn't mean they'll be among the best possible solutions now. Use your own research instead of relying on information from unreliable sources. Use multiple data points or case studies to verify the accuracy and completeness of the information you collect. Even if questioning an assumption doesn't cause you to reject it, it may still bring you closer to a complete understanding of the best solutions by allowing you to examine the problem from another point of view.

Follow Up

The critical-thinking process shouldn't end once you select a solution to your problem and implement it. Instead, thorough problem solving extends the critical thinking process to include a strategic followup that allows you to evaluate the outcome. You can compare this to your predicted consequences of implementing your solution, using the information to identify weaknesses in your critical-thinking process or search for even better solutions.

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