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Future Engineers get insight into how they approach problem solving

Updated: Apr 19

A number of years ago, while delivering the QUB Innovation Bootcamp that was featured in the second article in this series, I met a highly engaged product engineering student, Naomi McGregor. Roll forward to September 2021 when I received a surprise call from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London asking if I would deliver a face to face creative thinking workshop for Cohort 25 of the Engineering Leaders Scholars programme. Much to my delight Naomi, who had been a previous participant on this very prestigious engineering programme, had recommended me to the Academy . I jumped at the chance to travel again and to introduce a group of 30 talented young engineers to creative problem solving. This was a short workshop so I had to decide on a tool which I thought would really benefit them as they move forward in their careers.


Way back in 2015 I became the first certified Foursight Facilitator in Northern Ireland . I decided that the most insightful thing I could share with this group was their FourSight thinking profile. The FourSight®assessment is scientifically valid and helps participants figure out where their preference and energy lies in the problem solving process. Grounded in over 30 years of research, FourSight reveals people’s unique thinking preferences for clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing. With Foursight individuals, teams or organisations can discover their own problem solving preferences and learn to leverage the thinking styles of others so that they can work more effectively together to achieve breakthrough innovations. Teams get the opportunity to analyse their group profile and consider what their preferences may mean for their team. Hands-on activities promote insights that help participants anticipate strengths and blind spots when they collaborate with others.


During this session I pre-allocated the participants to "like minded" teams and ran a 14 minute reveal exercise which, as ususal , clearly demonstrated the thinking preferences of those in the room. The debrief of this tool is extremely important and with this group it was really key for them to understand that the tool demonstrates preference and where energy lies rather than being a measure of ability. I'm not sure I've ever encountered a group before with so many questions about the tool and what it might mean for them and their future work. This was a highly engaging and lively conversation and I would have loved to stay much longer with them but they had more exciting actvities planned for the afternoon. I've used Foursight extensively to help hundreds of teams and individual understand how they approach solving poblems. Without fail it leads to great discussion and insight on how this impacts on the way teams work together.


I use this tool in almost all my work and in addition to helping participants understand thier own preferences it always gives me an invaluable insight into the participants and how they are likely to appraoch working in teams. I then tailior my training and the tools I use to really support and develop their preferences. I also use the profile information to plan how to keep energy levels raised during training and to stretch creative thinking skills to increase creative problem solving effectiveness. Foursight is definitely a go to tool for me !






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