COOPERATIVE & CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
OBJECTIVES OF THE EXERCISE –
The following are the main objectives of this exercise:
1. To help participants in understanding the difference between positions versus interests -- inquiring and listening.
2. To help participants in developing an insight in the various process of problem solving.
3. To help participants in understanding the importance of effective two-way communication for conflict resolution.
4. To help participants in bringing out different ways/solutions of a problem to find a creative solution.
This exercise helps in bringing out different perspectives, ideas to solve a problem and to understand the importance of communication skills to come out wit clear idea to solve the problem with the group. Usually, we argue for our positions and don’t talk about our interests. But in this exercise person is motivated to find out the solution considering the interests of his group as well of other group.
MATERIAL REQUIRED –
(i) Printed material (case study)
GROUP SIZE – 10 to 16
TIME REQUIRED –
45 minutes for the whole exercise.
10 min. for briefing exercise, 5 min. for instructions, 15 min. for negotiation, 15 min. for debriefing the exercise.
CONDUCTING THE EXERCISE –
1. The trainer forms the two groups of 5 to 8 members.
2. S/he gives each group the name of two scientists that are Dr. Jones and Dr. Roland, distributes the different situations sheets to both groups and ask participants to read the instructions.
3. Confidential instructions (5 minutes) - [Hand out the “confidential instructions” – “Dr. Jones” to half of the participants and “Dr. Roland” to the other half.] These confidential instructions will give you more information for your role. [Give everyone 5 minutes to read.]
4. Then s/he asks the group to set their objective and collectively find out the ways.
5. After the group has discussed their ideas and reasons the trainer makes the pair of two taking one participant from both the teams. Here trainer can observe the participants,
(i) who is giving more ideas,
(ii) who is more logical,
(iii) who is dominating,
(iv) what are the priorities
6. Now both the representatives negotiate for their interests. During this conversation they are given a certain time period after which they have to come out with a solution.
7. Trainer asks both the partners to come and tell about their solution. So all the pairs come with their solutions.
PROCESSING THE EXERCISE –
• Did any group not come to an agreement? What were the problems?
The reasons can be –
1. Participants did not have any solution.
2. They had problem in negotiating.
• Did any of the groups reach agreement? What were they? There will be a rich mixture of experiences for the debriefing.) Some of the pairs may not have reached a solution. The remaining negotiated solutions fall into several different categories: -Compromises in which they divide the oranges (usually 1/2 and 1/2, but sometimes 2/3 and 1/3). It tells that the group members just focused on their needs and getting the maximum number of oranges. -For pairs that discover that Dr. Roland wants only rinds and Dr. Jones wants only juice, they “expand the pie” and, in effect, get 6000 oranges. This pair has really found how to maximize the benefits for both the groups while having the limited amount of oranges.
• For those who discovered the juice/rind secret: How did you find out?
• Those of you who found that Dr. Roland needs the rind and Dr. Jones needs the juice, you were able to move beyond the position of “I need all of the oranges” to the interest, “I need the rinds/ juice of all of the oranges.”
The most effective solution is the most creative solution of the problem. It consists a lot of thinking beyond the compromise, and it will be beneficial for both the parties.
Problem solving process –
(a) Deciding priorities – It is the first step for getting the right solution. The group must focus on the main priorities.
(b) Analyzing the problem at several levels – In this case problems of both the groups can be seen with different perspectives and how they can effect them and people of their region.
(c) Generating alternatives – Participants give their views and suggestions to solve the problem, participation of all the participants increases the chances to get a creative solution that is rational also.
(d) Discussing the consequences of all the alternatives – In this exercise participants can discuss about the result if they don’t get the required amount of oranges. They can discuss about the future problems arising after that.
(e) Developing the criteria for discussion – After giving enough time to thinking and deciding the most important factors set the criteria for which they will negotiate.
(f) Reviewing – After making the decision for the negotiation checking, correcting the criteria.
(g) Negotiation – By both the group representatives to clarify their needs and logic behind it. Clear communication will lead to a better and beneficial ways for both.
Some variations can be done which are following –
1. Three or more groups can be made by giving a third situation so that group negotiation can be seen.
2. Observers can be used for the teams.
3. Conditions can be changed. For example – some inter departmental or intra team conflict of an organization can be taken.
Background (10 minutes): Read the following case
Dr. Jones and Dr. Roland, two biological research scientists representing rival pharmaceutical companies, each seek to acquire the entire crop of Ugli Oranges that was grown in the world this year.
Dr. Jones is interested in the Ugli Oranges because of a recent outbreak of Rudosen, a disease contracted by pregnant women that causes serious brain, eye, and ear damage to unborn children unless the pregnant mothers are inoculated early in their pregnancies. The Ugli Orange can be made into a synthetic chemical serum by Dr. Jones’ company to prevent the spread of Rudosen.
Dr. Roland is interested in the Ugli Oranges because of a recent leak of nerve gas from old chemical warfare bombs stored in bomb chambers on a small Pacific island. Thousands of people will die or suffer serious brain damage if the gas gets out of the bomb chambers and spreads to the coast. The Ugli Orange can be made into a synthetic chemical gas by Dr. Roland’s company to neutralize the nerve gas.
Mr. Cardoza, a farmer in South America, owns most or all of the Ugli Oranges grown in the world this year.
• You represent Dr. Jones (left side of room) and Dr. Roland (right side). After reading the instructions, you will have an opportunity to speak with each other to see if you can develop a joint proposal before going to South America to try to purchase the Ugli Oranges from Mr. Cardoza.
Confidential instructions (5 minutes):
Negotiations (15 minutes):
Pair up each “Dr. Jones” with each “Dr. Roland.” Ask them to find a private space for their discussion and to return in 10 minutes for debriefing.
* Stop the simulation after 10 minutes.
Debriefing Ugli Oranges (15 minutes)
Recently in HR Forums
Gallup's 12 traits of Employee Engagement & Effective Leadership Index