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Definitions of terms.


A group or individual creativity technique that follows specific rules and procedures designed to encourage free association to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s).

Cause and Effect

Cause is the producer of an effect, result, or consequence. Effect is the result or consequence brought about by a cause.


A list of events or actions in the order they occur.


A statistical relationships involving the dependence between two or more variables.


Acromyn for comma-separated values. A CSV file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain-text form. It consists of records (typically one record per line) with the records divided into fields separated by delimiters (typically a single reserved character such as comma, semicolon, or tab) where every record has the same sequence of fields.


Breaking down a problem or issue into its component parts so that each part can be considered separately.


The extent to which any item of evidence helps determine the relative likelihood of alternative hypotheses. Evidence has no diagnostic value if it is consistent with all hypotheses.


Information used to prove or disprove an hypothesis.


A declarative statement that has not been established as true. A potential explanation.


An observable phenomena that can be periodically reviewed to help track events, spot emerging trends, and warn of unanticipated changes.


Knowledge acquired through study, experience, or instruction about the situation.

Information Forging Theory

States that information seekers use the same searching patterns as animal food foraging strategies.


An initial aim or plan that one intends to follow.

Interrogatory Dimensions

Encompasses interrogatory words, questions, and the information provided by the answers.

Interrogatory Words

Words used to ask a question. Words used to request information.


A reference library of links to external problem-solving resources.


A table or grid of cells that is used for sorting and organizing data in a manner that facilitates comparison and analysis.


A means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way to accomplish a task or attain a goal.

Mental Model

Internal representations of reality. Psychological representations of real, hypothetical, or imaginary situations that exist below the level of awareness.

Mental Model Optimizer

A technique for examining and improving unquestioned mental models.

Mind Map

A diagram that visually maps information using branching that radiates from a single focal concept.


A fixed mental model.

Mindset Detector

A technique for surfacing unquestioned mental models.


A MySQL database that guides, documents, and organizes your problem-solving activities.


Achievable steps taken to reach an overall goal. Operational aspects that require action.

Objective Data

Data that is factual and unbiased; not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice.


Subjective thoughts that we are predisposed to.


An assessment of risk by identifying and analyzing potential failures before they occurs.


Items ranked in terms of relative importance.


Problem solving is a continuous process of externalizing internal thought processes using analytic methodologies, then internalizing the external analysis through a process of updating mental models.

Problem-Solving Matrix

The design template used to program the fields of the Solver database.


Picking the first hypothesis that is consistent with the evidence rather than examining all of the alternative hypotheses to identify the one that fits the evidence best.


A plausible and provocative story about how the future might unfold.


A pattern imposed on complex reality or experience to assist in explaining it. A system for structuring information.


It is where meaning materializes. Involves turning circumstances into a situation that is comprehended in words and that serves as a springboard into action.

Situational Logic

A concept used to reconstruct a problem situation in order to understand its own unique logic. Can be seen as the polar opposite of broad generalization.


There are several other words used that are similar to 'solution':  alternative, hypothesis, scenario, option, etc.


Acronym for Structured Query Language. SQL is a programming language for managing relational database systems.


Parties on whom the company depends in some way for the full realization of the plan or who depend on the company for the realization of some of their own goals. Stakeholders have a vested interest in the plan.


A form of brainstorming that focuses on generating questions rather than ideas.

Structured Analysis

A mechanism to externalize the internal thought processes into a systematic analytic framework that can be built upon.

Subjective Thoughts

Data belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought. A personal perspective existing in the mind of the subject.


A systematic procedure applied to a particular task. Usually guides rather than provides a definitive answer.


A graphic depiction of events or actions put in the context of a time scale.


A device, procedure, or process with the specific purpose of achieving a goal.


A collection of over 100 problem-solving tools and techniques designed for people who are actively solving problems.


There are four types of objective data in the Problem-Solving Matrix:  Questions, Information, Tasks, and Goals.

Unquestioned Mental Model

A fixed mindset or outdated mental model. A predisposition or preconception that is taken for granted.


Graphical representation of all or various parts of the problem organized in a manner designed to facilitate understanding of how they interrelate.