Problem Finding, Problem Solving

“Does Not Compute! Does Not Compute!”
Sometimes, you have to wonder if everything is too “book-focused.” Clearly, we live in the real world and need practical understanding and activity to make things roll the way we do. Part of that may be the reason some of us are at Haas. If I may be so bold, I think we’ve already shown we have tried to step outside our boundaries and do whatever needs to be done (ethically) in order to keep our businesses successful.
My first course this semester (and second-to-last before graduating!) is called “Problem Finding, Problem Solving” (PFPS) and is meant to help push the envelope in that regard. It’s a part of the new BILD (Berkeley Innovative Leadership Development) curriculum.

What’s so special about BILD and PFPS? Notably, it’s being taught by illustrious faculty members, Sara Beckman and Clark Kellogg, who are attempting to bring a new tack to how we look at the business world. Most of our class sessions for PFPS are not in our fabled halls of Haas, but in Wurster Hall– UC Berkeley’s Architecture building.
That’s indeed fitting because the course is meant to teach us new ways of thinking: specifically, tools and methods on how to repeatedly diverge on building volume of ideas and converge them into something meaningful and productive. Sitting in the EA Design Lab is quite a change from our usual auditorium format, centered on the lecturer (Socratic teaching at its best).
The concepts in PFPS are simple, but the impact is enormous. We all agree that there are problems in our workplaces and the world that need to be addressed. Learning how to explore the issues through ethnographic interviews, gathering information from multiple viewpoints (mind maps, journey maps, etc.) and synthesizing it into relevancy are a part of the syllabus. These are truly skills that any Product Manager can use, but will also be important for any organizational leader.
We’re definitely excited to see new programs that stretch Haas and which attempt to uniquely build Haas graduates into becoming more than your every-MBA grad with an academic understanding of business. Instead, we’re pleased to get innovative, with hands-on and practical exploration through courses like PFPS.
I’m on a shorter schedule this semester — my last two units before graduating– I can hardly believe it! Stay tuned, as me and the fellow bloggers speak more about Spring Semester 2011. It’s time to start revving up my top 10 lists!
– Tim

3 thoughts on “Problem Finding, Problem Solving

  1. wow, this sounds so awesome. thanks for posting about it – I'm trying to start a list of recommended classes for when we're done with the core curriculum! So far I have Negotiations and now PFPS! Would love to see your list of favorite classes!

  2. Pingback: Page not found | Berkeley MBA Evening & Weekend Students

  3. Pingback: And…we’re back! | Berkeley MBA Evening & Weekend Students

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