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Problem definition

Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Add a short description of the problem. Try to include the following:

  • What the problem is?
  • Where does it occur?
  • When does it happen and how often?
  • Who experiences it?
  • Why the problem matter?
  • What is it too much or too little of (or about to be)?

The problem statement will be very unclear in the start so revisit this sub section regularly. Re-examine the problem statement by asking:

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it stated objectively using only facts?
  • Is it framed properly?
  • Will all who read it understand it in the same way?
  • Can we restate the problem in a more useful way?

Watch out for

  • Beware not to be too broad or narrow.
  • Don't make assumptions.
  • Do not include solutions in the statement.
  • Do not include cause and effects.

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

This sub section is to provide a concise summary description of the problem that can used in communicating with others outside your problem solving team.

The problem statement is usually a one sentence claim that outlines the problem that this challenge addresses.

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What is a good and concise problem statement for the problem?

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The problem that occur within the Malaysians students are they intend to pursue in a reputable university. However, students are unable to pursue studies in reputable university due to their poor english skills. Therefore, there is a incompetence level of english command among the malaysian students.

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Write a paragraph describing the problem. Write as if the reader is not familiar with the problem.

Try to include as much as you can about the context, the current situation (phenomenon), critical elements and unique features in the description using just one paragraph.

  • May be formulated as a short story with some history.
  • Don't be too vague. It will keep you from identifying the problem.
  • Don't be too narrow since it may be too early to decide what to focus on.
  • Don't provide solutions.
  • Do not state the underlying cause at this point.
  • Write the text by focusing on the situation.

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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • Identify the negative aspects associated with the problem.
  • Ask different stakeholders what negative effects they see.
  • Include all possible negative effects by viewing the problem from different perspectives. (e.g. sectors, disciplines, domains etc)
  • View the problem from the angle of an artist, poor person, capitalist, woman, old person, psychologist, scientist, owner, religious person and all other roles you can up with.
  • What is not working as it should?
  • What's the imbalance? Look at different levels. Is there imbalance on the level of the self, person to person relation, in teams, in an organization, among constituents or at the level of eco-systems.

While you add these negative consequences make sure to check the underlying assumptions that you hold about the nature of those issues. The most effective and efficient way to surface these assumptions is to ask questions of yourself, key decision-makers, and other important stakeholders through structured interviews.

Watch out for

At this stage you do not need to analyse and establish cause and effect. Such analysis is reserved for later stages. The negative effects can be seen as hypotheses for us to prove later in the Koios problem solving process.

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

The list of negative effects is a summary of the bad things that make this problem a problem.

What are the negative aspects of the situation that speaks for change?

Before one starts to solve a problem one needs to make sure it is actually a problem. The list of negative effects can be seen as reasons for why we should try to solve the problem. If there are no real significant negative aspects of this "problem" then it is not a really a problem.

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What is so bad about the situation?

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Add new negative effect of situation

Why is it a problem? (These could be formulated as sub problems).

  • Are people suffering or dying as a result of the problem?
  • Are great potential for improvements hindered because of the problem?
  • Is the problem an obstacle towards achieving another big important goal?
  • Is it an unanswered question that may result in large innovations or other great benefits if answered?

The negative aspect should be framed objectively from the view-point of the public/society.

Try to describe all the negative impacts in detail. Add one content item for each theme of impact/effect.

Title

Details

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##Heading##
###Heading2###
**Bold**
_italic_
1. First list item
2. Next list item
* bullet item 1
* bullet item 2
[link text](http://url.com/ "tooltip")

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Author(s)
Title
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Date/year
Url address
Page number
For online sources that does not have page numbers. Use a paragraph number, or cite the heading and the number of paragraphs following it.

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(Anyone can take it)
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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • What are the different positive aspects of the problem?
  • Find positive aspects/effects by viewing the problem from different perspectives such as by group, sector, discipline, domain etc.

Watch out for

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

In this section you can add positive aspects of the situation. What are the positive things that the current system is supporting?

The positive aspects can be seen as the arguments for keeping the status quo.

Even though most people view the situation as a problem, there are probably also positive effects of the situation. To get a full perspective we must consider both the positive and the negative sides.

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What are the positive aspects of the situation?

  • Preview Point of view in a positive manner · Preview
    Nations are aware of the importance of the English as a language, and the public votes and hopes for a better english level for the future pillars. The government have been upgrading the english ...
    References (0) · Comments (0) · Report · Changes · Task · Added by Shuren Tan 02.Sep.2015
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Add new positive effect of situation

What are the positive things about the situation?

  • The positive aspect should be framed objectively from the view-point of the general public.
Title

Details

Formatting options
##Heading##
###Heading2###
**Bold**
_italic_
1. First list item
2. Next list item
* bullet item 1
* bullet item 2
[link text](http://url.com/ "tooltip")

Add comment


help

Add reference


Author(s)
Title
Publisher/journal
Date/year
Url address
Page number
For online sources that does not have page numbers. Use a paragraph number, or cite the heading and the number of paragraphs following it.

Send message

To
Message

Add Task


(Anyone can take it)
Show version log

Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Decide on the scope based on the resources you think you can gather or already have at your disposal.

  • What is the problem area we want to focus on?
  • Where do we draw the line of inquiry?
  • Is the scope narrow enough so we can successfully deal with it?
  • Is it Ok with a bigger scope? Bigger scope = more time and resources.
Useful tips:
  • Different ways to draw the boundary of inquiry:
    • Set a deadline
    • Choose a geographical border (local community, city, state, regional or global)
    • Choose to target a part of the population, a sub system, a domain.
    • Choose a level/threshold. For example if your challenge is World Poverty you may decide to focus on all kinds of poverty (including relative poverty) or narrow it down to extreme poverty.
  • It might be a good idea to ask stakeholders where they would draw the line and what other stakeholders they think should be included or left out.
  • Select a scope/boundary, iterate through the problem and reflect on the associated meanings entailed by the boundary frame. Each boundary has different values, actions, and possible effects.

You might disagree with the scope that has the majority vote. Your position may be that you should go more wide or narrow in your inquiry and problem solving. In this case you can always try to being

Watch out for

Try to suggest a proper boundary/scope.

  • The scope should be sufficiently open to include the essential cause–effect relations that a single causality approach would exclude. A wider scope will enable you to incorporate the views of more people. Keep in mind that a wider scope means more time and resources. It also means more complexity which will lead to more challenging problem solving.
  • The scope should be sufficiently narrow to avoid generalisation and a loss of focus.

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

The scope defines the boundary of this challenge. It helps us to decide how ambitious we want to be. Higher ambitions mean more time and resources.

By defining the scope it also becomes easier for others to create other challenges that do not overlap with this.

By defining a scope we are able to limit the work into something that can be solved. This is important because you can't expect to analyse everything about the problem.

We can never understand everything about the world and we cannot solve all the world's problems at once.

We have to be realistic. It is going to take a lot of effort to solve a complex problem. This section helps to narrow down the challenge into a manageable project.

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What is the scope and boundry of this challenge?

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What is to be included or excluded from the analysis of the problem?

With a larger scope you may have too much work and things will become to complex to get anywhere. With a too narrow focus you may not solve the root causes and you may just be creating short term solutions that never solves the real problem at all.


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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Formulate the question such as "How might we..." or "In what ways might we..."

The focusing question should be one single question. At this stage you should aim to create a single coherent and simple focusing question. Breaking it down in several "research" questions are meant for later stages of the process.

In formulating this question you may ask yourself

  • What is our ultimate goal? (To formulate an ideal goal you may try to think of what the world would be like if the problem was nonexistent.)
  • What do we really want? Get the bigger picture, think holistically and synergistically.
  • Review the needs and wants of stakeholders if needed.

Watch out for

  • Do not use this section for your teams research questions. Instead formulate it from the perspective of the public.
  • Make sure not to limit the question by including unnecessary constraints.
  • Do not include solutions in the focusing question.

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

The focusing question can be seen as the purpose of this challenge space. It describes what it is that we would like to see changed regarding the social problem at hand.

To formulate a focusing question you may try to take the problem statement and turn it into a question.

The focusing question helps us to communicate the ultimate goal.

The focusing question helps us decide what to focus on (when researching the social challenge).

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What would be a good focusing question?

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How can Malaysian students increase their chance of getting enrolled in to reputable universities?

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Add new focusing question

The focusing question is written as a question. For example: How can we reduce / increase / remove ...


Max allowed length: 300
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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • Choose your medium
    • Draw an illustration on paper, or
    • Use drawing software, or
    • Create a collage by puting together several images that you will scan or take a digital photo of.
  • The rich picture should contain the main topics and the main people, organizations and activities/programmes. Identify stakeholders, insitutions, organizations, groups, artifacts, conditions, physical resources, phenomena, stocks (things that are accumulated and can increase or decrease)
  • Use nodes to represent the key concepts you found above. Label each element in the drawing using nouns.
  • Nodes may contain other nodes (to indicate break-out of a document or an organizational/product/process structure.
  • Use arrows to depict linkages, relationships or flow between nodes. What is being tranferred, exchanged etc. Add a label on the arrow.
  • Depict structure, e.g. organisation boundaries, geographical considerations, people and institutions. For example using dashed lines or circles.
  • Depict processes - activities, information or material flows.
  • Depict the climate - what are people feeling and thinking? Are people outraged or is there a sense of apathy?
  • Depict human concerns, conflicts, views.
  • Depict the environment such as external interested parties and various factors affecting the situation.
Other tips
  • For clarity, avoid crossover of arrows.
  • To maintain reasonable size for presentation purposes, the ratio of nodes to links should be approximately 1.5.
  • Main flow of reading is from top left to bottom right.
  • Color may be used to draw attention to subfamilies of concepts and transformations.
Examples of icons to use
  • Procedure (as a script roll)
  • Organization (as a building)
  • Person (as match stick man)
  • Mechanical system (as two gears)
  • Conflict (as two crossed swords)
Example Rich pictures

Watch out for

  • Don't make the picture too complicated or it will fail to work as a communication tool. Include what is most important.

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

This section should give a visual summary to the problem.

Rich pictures are used to provide a model for thinking about the system and to help gain an appreciation of the problem situation.

It also works as a useful artifact for discussing the problem in groups such as with different stakeholders.

Suggested reading

Provide a visual summary. Why is it such a big problem and what are the issues?

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Add new in a nutshell

Provide a summary text and image. Make it memorable. This section is intended for communicating the problem to others. Try to give an overview of the most important issues.


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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

  • What is the paradox or absurdity?
  • You might for example use the following statement: 'Despite ... we are still ...?'

Watch out for

Don't get too specific.

This text is only intended to show that the problem is "complicated".

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

All complex problems have paradoxes.

This sub section brings attention to things that confound us about the problem.

This text is intended to show that the problem is complicated and not easy to solve.

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What are some of the paradoxes?

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All complex problems have paradoxes.

  • What is the paradox?
  • Use the template: 'Despite ... we are still ...?'

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Suggested tasks/questions for this sub section

Gather terms, keywords and phrases that are often used when talking about this problem.

Add a content item for each word that people may not completely understand or agree to the meaning of.

Watch out for

Advanced topics

Further reading for intermediate problem solvers:

Definition of terms is a mini dictionary. It is here to make sure everyone knows what exactly the different concepts mean.

This section can be seen as a vocabulary for the problem. As with most things in the world, many things have many names and different meanings in different contexts to different people.

This definition of terms helps to clarify what this problem solving team mean with words that otherwise could be ambiguous and cause communication problems.

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What are some important definition of terms for this problem?

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Add new term

Add a definition of some term.

  • Make is short en consice definition.
  • Add a reference to Wikipedia or some other source.

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