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72 Examples of Problem Solving

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Problem solving is the process of overcoming issues, mistakes, errors, failures and risks to move forward. This includes approaches such as troubleshooting, analysis, experimenting, rational thought, intuition and creativity designed to find solutions. The following are examples of problem solving followed by a list of problem solving techniques.
A business unit builds new revenue after losing a major customer.
A carpenter fixes a flaw in a wall without having to tear it down and reconstruct it.
A hotel manager handles a customer complaint to the customer's satisfaction.
A hotel that manages to feed guests after a disaster disrupts transportation and supplies.
A manager finds a way to deliver a project after three resources are sick for an extended period of time in the last month of the project.
A manager who handles criticism directed at their team from executives.
A manager who is able to push a team to improve their work.
A parent convinces their child to do their homework.
A pilot lands an aircraft in a strong crosswind.
A restaurant manager finds a supply of ingredients when a shipment is late.
A sailor navigates through high wind and waves.
A software develop identifies and fixes a bug that was crashing a system.
A traveler finds a way home when they miss their flight.
A user figures out how to turn off a software feature was interfering with their productivity.
Adapting a product to changing customer needs.
Adapting to cost increases by finding substitutes.
Adapting to price competition to recover lost revenue.
Adapting to shortages and late shipments.
Adapting to technological change that threatens your business model.
Addressing a safety issue on a construction site.
An athlete who comes back from an injury.
Building support for an idea.
Catching up to a competitor who launches an innovative product.
Changing a business process to handle new products.
Clearing issues to move a project forward.
Closing a sales deal after a customer appears to disengage in favor of a competitor.
Convincing a secretive and isolated team in your company to cooperate.
Convincing a talented employee not to quit.
Correcting a mistake at work.
Delivering a project on time that was running late.
Designing an approval process to reduce invalid expenses.
Developing a new product to recover from declining sales.
Diversifying a business to reduce risk to revenue.
Finding and addressing the cause of product defects on a production line.
Finding friends and social things to do in a new city and job.
Fixing low quality data that was causing billing errors.
Gaining approval for a project budget after an initial rejection.
Handling bad publicity.
Handling harsh criticism of your work in a positive way.
Identifying and correcting an inaccuracy in your accounting.
Increasing the performance of a team.
Increasing the productivity of a team member who has been slacking.
Keeping a business going when a system goes down.
Looking through research data to find value in a failed experiment.
Managing a high workload of homework and studying.
Managing commitments to a manager who tries to assign you impossible missions and low value work.
Managing the low performance of a team member.
Overcoming a disadvantage such as poverty.
Overcoming a fear of public speaking.
Overcoming communication issues such as unstated assumptions.
Overcoming setbacks such as a researcher who finds an experiment doesn't produce promising results.
Passing an exam after missing many lectures.
Patching a cybersecurity vulnerability.
Paying off a burdensome debt.
Prioritizing to deliver high value work when overloaded with requests.
Recovering in your academic year after being out sick for a few weeks.
Recovering your grades in a class you're failing.
Reducing absenteeism on your team.
Reducing software licensing costs.
Reducing spending to save money for retirement.
Refinancing a small business to remain liquid.
Reinventing a design when a client rejects your initial proposals.
Replacing a partner who is underperforming.
Replacing an unreliable technology or machine.
Resolving a mechanical problem with a machine.
Resolving a technical problem that causes a service outage.
Resolving an issue with an upset neighbor.
Resolving inconsistencies in the requirements of different stakeholders.
Reversing an incorrect charge on your customer's account.
Simplifying the design of software that is needlessly complex and expensive to maintain.
Troubleshooting network issues to restore internet connectivity.
Working to improve the negative culture of a team.


Problem solving is the process of identifying a problem, determining its root cause and developing and testing solutions. This is can be an extremely complex pursuit surrounded in uncertainty, constraints and risk.
Next read: Problem Solving Techniques

Problem Solving

This is the complete list of articles we have written about problem solving.
A/B Testing
Abductive Reasoning
Analysis Paralysis
Accidental Complexity
Big Picture
Cause And Effect
Backward Induction
Critical Thinking
Design Thinking
First Principles
Five Whys
Challenging Assumptions
Formal Logic
Collective Intelligence
Four Causes
Common Sense
Game Theory
Conceptual Framework
Counterfactual Thinking
Deductive Reasoning
Essential Complexity
Known Unknowns
Excluded Middle
Failure Of Imagination
Magical Thinking
Feedback Loop
Pareto Analysis
Peer Review
Problem Statements
Qualitative Analysis
Fuzzy Logic
Real Problems
Root Cause
Inductive Reasoning
Sanity Check
Informal Logic
Systems Thinking
Thought Experiment
Working Backwards
Working Hypothesis
Path Of Least Resistance
Preserving Ambiguity
Problem Statement
Propositional Logic
Reverse Brainstorming
Root Cause Analysis
Test And Learn
More Than One Way
Unintended Consequences
More ...
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