Steps 1-4, based on the “perceiving” processes, focus on gathering information.

Steps 5-8, based on the “judging” processes, focus on zeroing-in on the best option and fleshing-out the details.

Step One engages Extraverted Sensation:

Perspective: Focus on concrete information about the current reality—the objective data and observations available all around us. Task frame: What can we observe about this problem?

Step Two engages Introverted Sensation:

Perspective: Focus on concrete information from the past—personal, subjective memories—and make practical comparisons. Task frame: What is the history of the problem?

Step Three engages Introverted Intuition:

Perspective: Search for meaning, significance, patterns, correlations, and interrelationships, even if they cannot be proven or demonstrated. Task frame: Make philosophical observations about the problem. What are the broadest possible implications?

Step Four engages Extraverted Intuition:

Perspective: Connect relevant information and project it forward to see the “big picture” and to reveal new, practical options. Task frame: Note plausible extrapolations based upon the data. What new approaches to the problem can be generated?

Step Five engages Introverted Thinking:

Perspective: Apply logical precision, without regard for “conventional wisdom.” Task frame: Fill in the missing pieces or steps of the various options. Do they stand up to a “devil in the details” test? Eliminate those that don’t.

Step Six engages Extraverted Thinking:

Perspective: Apply objective, impersonal analysis. Task frame: Bring logical structure to the array of options and create agreed-upon objective criteria and a shared framework for judging them. How does each option rate for effectiveness? Eliminate the least effective.

Step Seven engages Extraverted Feeling:

Perspective: Create and maintain external harmony. Task frame: How might the remaining options affect the needs, desires, relationships, and emotions of people? Eliminate options with unacceptable impacts upon stakeholders.

Step Eight engages Introverted Feeling:

Perspective: Respect everyone’s values. Task frame: Ask: “Does this feel right to me?” “Am I comfortable with this plan?” “Does it respect the values of all the participants and stakeholders?” Eliminate options that don’t.

The basic steps of any thorough and methodical approach to problem-solving must include:
  • Gathering information
  • Generating options
  • Organizing the information and ideas
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Zeroing-in on the best option
Aligning these essential elements with a summary of the eight-part IPS program highlights its ability to bring the appropriate mindsets and focus to bear on each task.
Gather Information (1) Extraverted Sensing Gather discrete bits of concrete information about the current reality.
(2) Introverted Sensing Gather discrete bits of concrete information from the past.
Make practical comparisons.
(3) Introverted Intuiting Look for hidden significance, meaning, patterns, and interrelationships.
(4) Extraverted Intuiting Note tangible connections and the “big picture” view.
Generate options Note possibilities and generate options.
Organize the information and ideas (5) Introverted Thinking Look at the details of each proposal in action.
(6) Extraverted Thinking Organize each option with related information. Group options according to emerging key factors and/or themes.
Analyze Extraverted Thinking Rate the options for effectiveness. Eliminate the least effective options (or elements of options). Zero-in on the best option.
Evaluate (7) Extraverted Feeling Predict impact of options on stakeholders.
Extraverted Feeling Rate the options for desirability. Eliminate the least desirable options (or elements of options). Zero-in on the best option.
(8) Introverted Feeling Examine your gut-feeling comfort level for each option. Eliminate or modify any option or element that cannot be genuinely supported. Zero-in on the best option.