The technological revolution has made many mundane tasks such as spelling and keeping a diary much easier. However, the ongoing changes it is bringing often require us to become more analytical and solve unexpected problems. An OECD study called Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests children’s reading, writing and science abilities, has recently also started testing their problem solving skills. It tests students every 3 years across 70 countries, with the results reflecting and informing decisions in education.

The results give us some interesting insights. Some of the best performing school systems are those where teachers apply different solutions and strategies to problem solving, rather than teaching set rules. These school systems are also those where funding is applied more equitably across schools, and where schools have a high level of authority. Children with a lower socio-economic status struggle more with reading, writing, science and maths, but this status has less of an effect on their problem-solving skills, which may show the potential of technology to level playing fields a little.

Problem solving is key in the workplace, and increasingly so, with the digital revolution throwing up new situations, opportunities and challenges all the time. How do your employees tackle problems? Communicating can be key to ensuring people are informed and engaged at work. This then leads to them feeling equipped and happy to come up with new ideas when a problem arises. Both formal communications channels, such as team meetings, and more informal corporate social media channels, such as Yammer, are great ways to bring people together.

The findings of the PISA study, applied to the corporate world, would recommend removing boundaries, increasing autonomy and equipping people to talk and approach work creatively. At theblueballroom we have helped companies do this by improving their communications. Get in touch if you think we could help you, too.

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