Problem Solving and Planning Tools - Refugee Council
February 3, 2012

Problem Solving and Planning Tools

RCOs are often faced with complex challenges when trying to improve their organisational structure and achieve positive change for their communities. There are a number of tools designed to help groups to analyse the different aspects of their problems, discuss potential solutions and plan actions.

Here are two tools that the Basis team has found useful:

Problem Tree Analysis: a great tool to deeply analyse the factors of a problem (for example ‘women are not participating to the activities of the organisation’, ‘refugees voices are not heard’) by distinguishing between its causes and consequences. The tool helps you to understand which are the causes and consequences so that your organisation can address them and better plan actions and projects. Find a short guide to the Problem Tree Analysis on the website of the Overseas Development Institute http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5258&title=problem-tree-analysis

Force Field Analysis: once you know which aspect of a problem you want to focus on, the Force Field Analysis is a good and simple way to understand which are the forces and situations that are supporting your desired change and which are the ones that block it. This will show you if you have more forces pro or against your goal and decide in which activities to put most of your energy. Find a short guide to this tool here http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5218&title=force-field-analysis-decision-maker

Another useful website for tools is the http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_06.htm. It has a lot of interesting tools on decision-making e.g. choosing between options, analysing expected outcomes and making financial decisions.