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Learning Systematic Problem Solving: Case Studies

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Teams and Active Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.816.1 - 8.816.12



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Raviv

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2330

Learning Systematic Problem Solving: Case Studies*

Daniel Raviv Department of Electrical Engineering Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431 E-mail: 561 297 2773 Abstract This paper describes several case studies where students generated innovative solutions using a systematic problem solving methodology. The approach is based on The Eight- Dimensional Methodology for Innovative Thinking that stimulates innovation by effectively using both sides of the brain. It is a unified approach that builds on comprehensive problem solving knowledge from industry, business, marketing, math, science, engineering, technology, and daily life. The different dimensions, namely Uniqueness, Dimensionality, Directionality, Consolidation, Segmentation, Modification, Similarity, and Experimentation provide leaders, managers, and other problem solvers with new insights and thinking strategies to solve everyday problems they face in the workplace. Problems are not constrained to a particular profession or subject, and may be used by individuals and teams. It is easy to teach, learn and use the methodology.

1. Introduction

This paper details case studies where students generated innovative solutions using a systematic problem solving methodology. The methodology has been taught as part of a course titled: “Introduction to Inventive Problem Solving in Engineering” (please see syllabus at: The main goal of the course is to enhance inventive and innovative thinking abilities of undergraduate students. In this course there is no “right or wrong”, and the emphasis is on “out-of-the-box” inventive thinking, imagination, intuition, common sense and elements of communication/teamwork. The course uses hands-on problem-based learning for introducing undergraduate engineering students to concepts and principles of inventive/innovative problem solving. The hands-on activities include more than 250 different 3-D mechanical puzzles, games, mind teasers, LEGO® Mindstorms competitions, and design projects, each of which illustrates principles and strategies in inventive/innovative problem solving. (Please see some of the puzzles at: These activities allow for self-paced, semi- guided exploration that improves self-esteem and encourages questioning and daring. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education

* This work was supported in part by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Information, Robotics and Intelligent Systems, Grant # IIS-9615688,.

Raviv, D. (2003, June), Learning Systematic Problem Solving: Case Studies Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11536

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