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As we move more into the 21st century, problem-solving skills will become increasingly more important. And the context for when they are used will notably change. To date, the vast majority of problem solving moments have been “reactive” in nature and have focused on some type of “corrective” action to improve the situation.

Reactive problem solving can and does have benefits (e.g., you might just have avoided that ticket by slowing down when you saw that police cruiser parked on the shoulder of the road up ahead). The increasingly more complex world, however, will require more of us. Most notably, it will require us to “front load” our problem-solving efforts if we want to maximize outcomes for ourselves, our families, our community, and our country. These “efforts” involve:

squiggle The development of problem-solving skills and related attitudes within the individual
squiggle The development and maintenance of a proactive problem-solving mentality within educational institutions, organizations, and governmental bodies
squiggle The maintenance and reinforcement of a problem-solving “culture” in any established, goal-directed aggregate of people, be it a family or a work group.

Turn The Cube is an applied learning program that compliments the one we have developed for middle schools (see Living Your Life). It is based on the assumption that for the vast majority of people, problem-solving skills are acquired, not innate. The program also assumes that problem-solving skills are like any other skill, proficiency improves with practice.

Turn The Cube is specifically designed with three groups in mind, each with a specific focus:

Group Focus
Parents of school-age children Improve parenting efforts and quality of family life
School faculty Improve educational outcomes for students while improving productivity and satisfaction of the staff
Work group Develop a problem-solving prowess within the while improving upon productivity and satisfaction

Typically, Turn The Cube occurs in stages:

Cube A preliminary meeting to identify the specific interests and needs of the group involved
Cube The construction of an on-site program, usually from 4 -12 sessions, with each session usually lasting from 90 to 120 minutes.
Cube The construction of a Turn The Cube notebook for each participant.  Each book has applied learning exercises for the problem-solving concepts being taught as well as activities that challenge the participants to use the concept in group-specific ways in the future.
Cube On-site training sessions that emphasize a very active, participatory format of learning; we want to make it as difficult as possible for a participant to be “bored.”
Cube The schedule of trainings is established in line with the group’s needs. Consequently the format can vary greatly, from meeting on consecutive weeks to having six sessions over the period of one calendar year.