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Following our examples above, if you feel hungry then your goal is to eat.A barrier to this may be that you have no food available - so you take a trip to the supermarket and buy some food, removing the barrier and thus solving the problem.
Problem solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems.
A lot of the work in problem solving involves understanding what the underlying issues of the problem really are - not the symptoms.
This stage may not be necessary for very simple problems but is essential for problems of a more complex nature.
During this stage you will generate a range of possible courses of action, but with little attempt to evaluate them at this stage.
Following on from problem identification, structuring the problem is all about gaining more information about the problem and increasing understanding.
This phase is all about fact finding and analysis, building a more comprehensive picture of both the goal(s) and the barrier(s).
If you are hungry then your goal is probably to eat something.
If you are the head of an organisation (CEO), then your main goal may be to maximise profits and this main goal may need to be split into numerous sub-goals in order to fulfil the ultimate aim of increasing profits.
This stage involves: detecting and recognising that there is a problem; identifying the nature of the problem; defining the problem.
The first phase of problem solving may sound obvious but often requires more thought and analysis.