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Tool 1: Deciding on a problem statement

This exercise is adapted from an exercise on developing vision statements created by Lori Alvarado, DCCCA Center, Lawrence, KS. This activity works best in groups with less that 40 people.

  • Ask everyone present at the meeting to write down his/her definition of the problem.
  • Ask people to pair off and share their problem statements with each other. Together, the pair can create a new problem statement, incorporating ideas from both.
  • Ask pairs to join together in groups of four, and again merge the statements into one.
  • Continue joining the groups in larger and larger groups until everyone is together again, and you have one agreed upon statement.

Tool 2: Choosing which problem to solve

The following table can be used or adapted to help you decide which problem you want to try to solve if you have several on your plate at the same time. By answering each question, you can get a clearer idea of all of the aspects of solving a problem, and should be able to choose more easily and effectively. For a completed example of this chart, see the Examples section above.

  Problem 1 Problem 2
How frequently does the problem occur?    
How many people are affected?    
For what amount of time are they affected?    
How severe is the effect?    
How important do group members perceive the problem to be?    
How important is the problem perceived to be by others?    
How likely is it that we can solve/significantly improve the problem?    
Are there any negative impacts?