Collaborate on principle!

Complex problem solving

The World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of JobsReport’ has these as being the top skills required in the workplace in 2015 and 2020:

2015: Complex Problem Solving, Co-ordinate with Others, People Management, Critical Thinking
2020: Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, People Management


Although lists like this can be argued for and against the importance of complex problem solving seems clear. I would also argue that this skill involves all of the other skills that are noted here. Complex problems almost always involve people with different and differing views and involve the need for ideas that are outside the box.

Complex problems almost always involve multiple people on the solution side too and, once solved, implementation occurs through people.

Collaboration is the key capacity that allows teams to handle such complexity. Different views and different ideas can flow freely in a collaborative environment allowing the emergence of solutions that no individual would be likely to find by themselves, let alone be able to implement.

Modelling collaboration to children is a key way for them to recognise the relevance of it, followed by children and adults collaborating together in practice.

This has important implications for the way classrooms and schoolwork are organised and how work outside the classroom is organised.

Collaboration becomes a central organising principle.

John Corrigan