Collaborative Problem-solving Techniques

Dr Roseanna Cross| School Manager – School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine | University of Bristol

Jill Walsh | School Manager – School of Arts | University of Bristol

Our session was going to be about problem-solving techniques – sharing what we have tried out and our thoughts on how they worked. In recent months, we set up an action learning set with our School Manager peers at the University, had individually tried out coaching and being part of a peer mentoring circle. We also organised a ‘problem-solving afternoon’ with colleagues from both our teams, where we tried out an action learning set and reverse mind mapping (which was ironically cut short by the larger problem of the coronavirus pandemic). This involved engaging colleagues from different levels illustrating how collaborative problem-solving techniques might be applied by anyone within their organisational setting. Feedback so far from both these activities has been very positive. In particular, it was very striking how the teams found it very empowering to use a coaching approach, and so it would be brilliant to be able to embed that in the way we work as teams over the next year.

We had intended to summarise the outcomes of all these approaches with the delegates who attended our conference session and then try out the action learning set and reverse mind-mapping approach at the end, so that delegates could take home some ideas to use in their workplaces. As we now have a longer period of time, we will continue to run the action learning set with our peers, adding a new angle of using online technologies to facilitate rather than face-to-face! We will also continue to try out different coaching approaches with our teams – a technique which becomes ever more important as teams grapple with working remotely.

In the meantime, if you have any examples of how you have tried out different problem-solving techniques, particularly in the current climate, then please get in touch as we would love to try out new ideas and could incorporate that into our session plan in 2021.

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