Hey, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now… I’m running into so many young (and not young) people lacking problem solving skills (or maybe I’m getting old and grouchy). To me, this is one of the most important things I look for when I’m interviewing people, and it’s a critical skill that we could be teaching our youth to really help them stand apart when they’re looking for a job.
What do you all think about a merit badge to teach problem solving?
This merit badge is intended to introduce Scouts to the concepts of structured problem solving. It will also present several popular problem solving approaches and teach Scouts to define problems in terms of desired outcomes. These are critical thinking skills that will help Scouts personally and professionally throughout their lives.
- Define “problem”, “root cause”, “cause and effect”, “brainstorming” and “solution”.
- Describe the steps in the problem solving process.
– Define the problem
– Generate alternative solutions
– Evaluate and select a solution
– Implement and follow up on solution
- Identify a “problem” in your Troop, School, or Community and write a problem definition statement for it, then generate a list of at least three alternative solutions. Present the problem definition statement and alternative solution list to your Merit Badge Counselor.
- Define “structured problem solving” with your Merit Badge and learn about one structured problem solving tool.
- Visit with someone that uses problem solving in their daily job and do the following:
– . Discuss the work this person does and the problem-solving tools they use.
– b. Discuss with this person a current problem-solving project and their particular role in it.
– Ask to see the reports that this person writes concerning the project.
– Discuss with your counselor what you learned about engineering from this visit.
- Find out about three career opportunities that utilize problem solving. Pick one and research the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
For reference, here’s the American Society for Quality page about problem solving.