How you can find the best answers to the world’s biggest, toughest problems!

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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During a third of a century in the worldwide creativity movement, I’ve seen that by far the main obstacle to solving problems is people’s belief that they can’t solve them. Once, however, people are actually gotten started, with any one of a hundred different effective methods for solving problems, just about everyone really rocks.

Sometimes, in facilitating a group on a problem which people “know” is unsolvable, I will quickly generate an apparently highly workable answer, put it on the table, and make this the challenge: don’t think of this as the answer, just that here is one answer and it is YOUR job here today to come up with a better one. That simple demonstration — that answers on this problem ARE possible — saves hours or days of time and effort and usually the group DOES come up with a better answer!

Quickly generate an apparently highly workable answer — if you work much with the problem-solving methods found on this website, you also will find that you can come up with effective answers on the spot to almost anything, within easy moments. But that’s another issue than the one I’m addressing here.

The issue here is your challenge. I have picked out a variety of problems, mostly major world problems, which people all this time have treated as being unsolvable. With each, I’ve generated a sample answer toward a solution.

For the fun of it, your challenge, in each of these problem instances, is to come up with a better answer, a new answer different from mine, and also different from any opinion you may have had on that matter before. And then please let us know your answer.

And if you can do that, come up with your own surprising, new and better answer, what could the experts and leaders achieve who are responsible for the problem now in the first place? That, in turn, is my hope in publishing this special section on world problem-solving — that, sooner or later, our leaders will catch wind of the creative problem-solving methods which you can use here, some of which methods have existed for a half century or longer(!), and finally make good use of them.

Here is the plan:

  1. This discussion here, giving you an idea of what’s to be done and how to do it.
  2. The list of a few problem-solving methods described below. Each clicks through into a different set of easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Using any of these recommended problems will let you generate answers whose sheer ingenuity and workability will surprise you.
  3. The list below of a brief selection of major and world problems. Click through to any of these and you will find my starter-answer there with the challenge to come up with a better answer.
  4. Please apply one of the recommended methods to one of the cited problems, and come up with a better answer than the starter-answer suggested. Given these methods, that’s not as big a challenge for you as you might think.

Overcome a second obstacle to effective problem-solving

How do we get past our expectations of what the answer OUGHT to be, on into the fresh perceptions needed for getting at the actual best answer? Our experts are BURDENED with expectations, and are not using effective methods. YOU have dozens of super-effective methods available on this website right now, free, including those few recommended for your use below. Most of these are well-engineered specifically to get you past your expectations and into such fresh perceptions. So armed, you are many times more likely to come up with effective answers to the great problems than are our responsible leaders and their experts, who thus far have been devoid of such methods.

You can, moreover, glance at our proposed answer to such a problem, and use that as a reassurance that fresh thinking, fresh perceiving, fresh good answers ARE possible to come up with. Let that reassurance then help you to come up with your own, possibly better, answers.

Most of these major problems being problems of general concern, affecting many people, many of us have opinions as to what ought to be done. Some of those opinions may well be right — but people have been shouting at each other what ought to be done, for all these years, decades or even centuries. That path is not productive. What’s productive is to set aside what we think “ought” to be done and cast around, with the help of such methods as are suggested below, for fresh and better answers, answers wherein we surprise ourselves.

I am not wedded to my “answers” here, however pleased I am with some of them. What matters is that the problem gets solved, not whose answer is implemented. Large numbers of human beings will benefit accordingly.

A few of my answers I am pleased enough with to have written further articles about, detailing more of what I think can be done in regard to that problem. However, so much the better to challenge you to come up with an even better answer. I think some of you really will — and have great fun and satisfaction doing so!

And, once you have seen how readily you can come up with your own ingenious answers to “unsolvable” world problems, you will have a much freer hand to tackle the problems in your own life and work — and to solve them.

Here, then, are a few of the most-recommended problem-solving methods set forth for you here in this website, followed by a breakout of some problems well worthy of being solved.

  • Freenoting and/or Windtunnel, depending on whether you want to work with a notepad or with a live partner and/or audio recorder.
  • DEAM and Evoked Sidebands, which subsumes it, methods discovered in 2006 and the easiest, most accessible insight-generating methods to come along in years. Works well with just notepad, even better with a live partner along with your notepad.
  • Classical Image Streaming used in problem-solving mode. Just ask your question, then follow the instructions provided to find yourself looking at and understanding the image coming from or through your own mind in reflexive effective answer to that question. An entire curriculum on Image Streaming is provided in this website.
  • High Thinktank method is a very fast way to get such answers, and is built around the most powerful known way to interpret imagery, “Inductive Inference.”
  • Crab Apple and the Problem-Solving Woodswalk are ways to use the imagery provided by your external environment to discover answer to your questions. Instructions for both of these methods are in Winsights No. 56, “Working with Metaphor”.
  • The Gravel Gulch method is our simplified, easy-to-use version of the Osborn-Parnes sequential CPS method.

Your action requested is to select one of the problems listed below with its initial suggested answer. Study the problem and proposed answer for no more than 5 minutes. Then select one of the above-cited, specific problem-solving methods. Use that method to come up with another, different, surprising, possibly better, answer to that same problem.

Here, then, are the selected problems of general concern which are well worth solving. With each problem is offered a preliminary answer, as a demonstration and an assurance that answers on such a matter can be found. Now go create a better answer!

Problem-Topics and a Proposed Possible Solution to Each

As you can see, MANY effective answers can be found for these “unsolvable” major and world problems. Better answers than ours probably can be found for every problem we’ve cited, and YOU can find them. Our answers are there only to get you started.

What matters is not whose answer finally gets picked up and used, but that a great problem gets solved and human lives greatly improve. Your actions on these questions may be what determines whether this can happen.

Unbeknownst to your conscious mind, part of YOUR mind and brain has absorbed enough information, from many sources, to come up with other answers as good as these or even better. Use one or another of the specific step-by-step problem-solving methods available to you, here or from elsewhere, to address the problem(s) in YOUR area, and let us know what you find.

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