Categories
Uncategorized

Creative problem solving for managers

Assignment Title: Coursework 1 – Part 2 – The Project: Tackling a Complex Problem situation using SODA and Soft Systems Methodology
Description of the assignment: Details of the project – part 2 – are attached to this brief
Any specific instructions: Instructions on what students need to do are included in the attached.
Mark scheme: How the marks are allocated are shown in the attached brief. Submissions will be assessed against the HBS Grading Criteria (in your Programme Handbook), the requirements of the assignment and satisfaction of the relevant learning outcomes.
Student Support and Guidance
• For further help, contact your module leader in their drop-in hours or by email.
• Use the Grading Criteria in your Programme Handbook and mark scheme to help improve your work.
• Go to CASE workshops, use the CASE website and drop-in hours www.studynet.herts.ac.uk/go/CASE/
• Academic English for Business support is available through daily drop-ins from the CASE office. See the CASE workshop timetable on the CASE main website page for details.
• Make full use of Library search to identify relevant academic material and the ‘Subject Toolkit for Business’ which contains links to other Information Databases and the Information Management contact details. (http://www.studynet1.herts.ac.uk/ptl/common/LIS.nsf/lis/4DAF5390094771C2802575ED004212BF)
• Some tutors allow students to test their work using Turnitin. Guidance on submission to Turnitin via StudyNet can be found by using the following link. http://www.studynet1.herts.ac.uk/ptl/common/asu.nsf/resource+library/TURNITIN+FOR+STUDENTS+2016+USER+GUIDE.pdf/$FILE/TURNITIN+FOR+STUDENTS+2016+USER+GUIDE.pdf
Part 2.
Please see details of what to submit and how to submit below plus the minor changes to method made recently. All this is in in red type font. Any queries with these, email me.
The next step is the SODA workshop, where a group question and answer session takes place, and where the ideas and concepts provided on the issues would usually be mapped. These things are organized by the consultant and carried out with the team of stakeholders. Thus, we are adopting what Pidd calls the “SODA II” approach. (Pidd (2003).
The aim is to find out and represent clearly the stakeholders’ views on the problem, their different perspectives and all the links or logic between all the different ideas or concepts, and the key aspects of the problem situation – so the problems, causes, goals, and then possibly, the actions to take.
Step 1. A good initial step to take here, to start, is to create a rich picture of the problem situation. This helps as something to refer to when thinking of questions to ask, matters to address etc.
So, each group member should create a rough initial rich picture of the whole problem situation, but as the particular stakeholder, whose role they are playing, would see it. Use your profile and opinions from stage 1 for this. Put as much detail on it as you can. Be imaginative!
The group should bring your five rich picture parts together for the SODA II workshop meeting – just place them alongside each other and see them together, as one rich picture of the whole problem situation, with all these different viewpoints. Then use this in the workshop to help with ideas on questions, answers etc, as above.
Before handing these in for stage 2 – a common approach can be taken to their format, or design maybe – so together, whilst retaining the different perspectives, they look like one overall rich picture instead of five individua ones. Ask for advice on this. However, if, as a group you have not yet done this, a clear photo or scan of them all alongside each other is easier and equally acceptable and will not lose you any marks.
Step 2. You now carry out the group interview /group question and answer session. Don’t forget it is semi-structured. You don’t go in with a fixed set of questions. Instead you know the topic or problem, and you take in with you some ideas on the different aspects of the problem and its context you wish to explore, so just maybe one or two questions, that you may get to ask..
Normally you would let the developing map and the concepts on it, and thus the group’s answers tell you what to ask next. But see below for what is likely to be more practicable, in our case.
Definitely refer too, as above to your group’s whole rich picture for ideas on what to ask, where to explore, also. Don’t waste this aid or prompt you have developed.
So, using this process of question, answer, follow up question and so on, you will explore the overall group’s own views of the problem situation and draw up a causal map or group map to represent all the concepts, ideas and reasoning that “surface” – so that emerge from the different stakeholders’ perspectives and focuses.
You will also capture the logic of what they are saying here, as the causal map is a structured, linked-concept, cause-effect, logical model – a soft model – and if correct, is a very powerful device to act as the basis for the subsequent further exchange of ideas and deliberation by the group.
The emphasis in this first workshop is the nature and makeup of the problem situation – so the different problems, outcomes and causes of problems – rather than actions to take or solutions. But any suggested actions to reverse problematic parts of the current situation can certainly be added at this stage if they come up in answers.
Exactly how you do this is up to you – how you will “meet” as a group, how you will record the questions and answers, how you will start and then proceed. You will need to plan the first workshop carefully.
It is recommended you just concentrate on, and record, this group question and answer session rather than try to map concepts from answers too /at the same time. Then later on, from the typed out sets of questions and answers, draw the draft causal map or map parts, going through the answers, taking out concepts and building up the map.
You may have to go back and ask more questions.
Each person in the group (in the role of consultant or process facilitator) takes it in turn to ask the other group members (in their stakeholder roles) questions and follow up questions. The questions each person asks must logically follow the answers already received or questions asked, and so not duplicate earlier questions or answers.
Guidance on the number of questions to ask, answers to gather and concepts and links:
The aim in this workshop will be, as consultant, each person to ask three questions to the group (of stakeholders – including yourself), possibly getting two answers (from two stakeholders) on average per question, and then two concepts from each answer. I would keep questions short and answers short. With five people this should give a first map of 60 concepts.
For Part 2, the full set of typed-out questions asked, and answers given needs to be submitted, with the person (real name) asking each question, as consultant, identified and the stakeholder answering identified (stakeholder role).
Step 3. a) I would like each person to create a rough version of a part causal map on paper, so a map of those concepts that come from the answers to the questions that person has asked. This is thus just a part of the whole causal map. You will need to hand this in.
b) Each of you should then use the PowerPoint template I will provide and do a neat version of your part causal map. You will need to hand this in too.
Step 4. Then, as a group, combine the part causal maps into one full causal map – of the whole situation. This should be possible to do if you have the part-maps on PowerPoint slides, as above, as you can take one part-map and copy it in one go onto another part map’s slide.
I would also like you, as a group, then to create a neat, tidy final version of the full causal map using the PowerPoint template slide provided in the Assignments Unit.
Step 5. Next step is to see where there are distinct areas on the map, linked areas but clusters of concepts that relate to a particular sub-topic or goal or sub-goal or particular problem or sub-problem, broad set of causes etc. Identify these, give each a name and draw their boundaries on a second copy of the whole causal map. Please hand this in as a second slide in the PowerPoint file also.
Part 2 of the project is due in 7.00pm Sunday 6th December or Monday 7.00pm 7th December – so before your first scheduled tutorial session the following week. It should be handed in via the electronic submission facility as two files by one member of the group on behalf of the group.
Part 2 submission consists of:
i a) the rough rich pictures drawn by each group member – individual;
1b) the neat version of your individual rich picture;
ii) the final version of the full rich picture for the whole problem situation – group; as above this consists of the individual rich pictures put alongside each other and can be either in a common format or design style or not – this is up to the group and does not affect marks;
iii) the full set of questions and answers for workshop 1 – with real name of person asking each question and stakeholder role of person answering stated – individual;
iv) the rough causal map parts and the neat map parts done by each group member – individual;
v) the neat version of the full causal map – group;
vi) the neat causal map with boundaries drawn around topics / problem areas – giving a descriptive name to each area – group;
—————————————————————————————————————
How to put together the documents to hand in as your submission:
As a group, please create a Word file to contain everything to hand in for part 2, except for a) the complete neat version of the causal map which should be in a separate PowerPoint file and b) the second copy of the neat causal map but with the boundaries of the different areas clearly identified and named suitably – which should also be in this PowerPoint file as the second slide.
One person submits the Word document and the PowerPoint file on behalf of the group.
Please put your full names on the front page of the Word document, and on the first slide of the PowerPoint file, with the module name and code and the heading Part 2 of the coursework. In the Word document, please give me a contents page as page 2 with the order of all the items included.
The order of items in the Word file and form it takes should be as follows:
i a) the rough rich pictures drawn by each group member – individual;
each person, please take a photo or scan of this and include in the Word document – clearly label with your real name and the stakeholder whose view this represents;
1b) the neat version of your individual rich picture;
each person, please include in the Word document – full size as a full Word page, and again, clearly label with your real name and the stakeholder whose view this represents;
ii) the final version of the full rich picture for the whole problem situation – group;
as above this consists of the individual rich pictures put alongside each other and can be either in a common format or design style or not – this is up to the group; please include as a Word page or as a full page size photo on the page; please label this with problem situation being tackled;
iii) the full set of questions and answers from the team meeting – with real name of person asking each question and stakeholder role of person answering stated – individual;
please have this just as one list in the order the questions have been asked and answers given – (unless I have suggested for some groups rearranging these and you have done!)
iv) the rough causal map parts and the neat map parts done by each group member – individual;
(individual) rough causal part map: please take a photo of each of these and include as a full-size image on a Word page; please label it with real person’s name, as the consultant -– so who has drawn this part of the map;
(individual) neat causal map part: please copy this on to a Word page – if done in PowerPoint just lift the whole part map off and copy over intact to the Word file; again, please label it with real person’s name, as the consultant – so who has drawn this part of the map;
The PowerPoint file:
v) the neat version of the full causal map – group;
please submit separately as a Powerpoint file; one person submits this for the group; please label it on the first slide with all the group’s names and state the problem situation being tackled by the group.
vi) the neat causal map with boundaries drawn around topics / problem areas – giving a descriptive name to each area – group;
please submit this as the second slide in the Powerpoint file; one person submits this for the group; please label it with all the group’s names and state the problem situation being tackled by the group.
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *