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NSW Public Sector Grades 9-10 Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

22nd - 23rd, July 2024 / Sydney, AU
SAVE UP TO $1000
Discount ends in 5 days


Practical outcome-driven models for critical thinking and problem solving

• Unpack critical thinking as a mental process and set of action steps to address everyday problems
• Use a structured systems thinking approach to analysing problems and designing solutions
• Leverage the skills of creative and lateral thinking in complex problem solving
• Overcome common roadblocks to critical thinking and problem solving


Alexandra O’Mara

A seasoned leader with a wealth of experience in the realms of sustainability, policy, and strategy. Currently Senior ESG Advisor at BDO, Chief Advisor at the Urban Transformation Centre of Western Sydney University, and Non-Executive Director at St George Community Housing, she drives impactful change. Former Deputy Secretary in the NSW Government, Alex spearheaded transformative policy shifts in environment, infrastructure, planning, design, building, renewable energy, and natural resource management. Holding a Master's in Administrative Law and Policy from the University of Sydney, Alex seamlessly blends practical expertise with academic insight, showcasing a career dedicated to positive change and innovation.

Sustainable Solutions Advisory



Critical thinking and problem solving as a key priority in the NPS

- Review the current context and landscape for problem-solving in the NPS

- Why problem-solving has been identified as a top skilling priority across all levels of the NPS

- How critical thinking provides the necessary lens to frame problems rationally and produce evidence-based solutions

- How problem-solving ability could drive your career advancement in 2022 and beyond


Unpacking critical thinking techniques

- The cognitive principles, tools and strategies essential to critical thinking

- Reviewing critical thinking tools and taking stock of our own limitations and strengths

- How to think like a scientist - Learning how to objectively collect and evaluate evidence

- Whole-brain thinking; exploring creative thinking for generating new ideas and links, acting on intuition, imagining possibilities and connecting ideas through considering alternatives


Problem-solving methods and key tools

- Reviewing common types of problems

- Root cause analysis - getting to the heart of the problem 

- Explore how Systems Thinking is applied to provide clarity around root causes, interdependencies, possible constraints and outcomes 

- Creating a process map or mind map to provide clarity around the problem 

- Creative problem-solving techniques and activities: Abstract questioning, brainstorming, role switching, visualisation, ideation and process re-mapping


Working with others on problem-solving

- Facilitating a shared understanding of issues and problems 

- Learn to prepare and present powerful evidence-based arguments and solutions

- Resolving conflict and challenges in group problem solving

  • Alexandra O’Mara Director Sustainable Solutions Advisory


Definition: Understanding the problem

- Agreeing on the reality of the problem: Definition of key variables: known causal factors, structure, scope, stakeholder impact, interdependencies and constraints 

- Evaluating problem impacts

- Consider solution criteria and problem-solving deliverables


Analysis: Identifying and evaluating possible solutions

- Evaluate solutions based on feasibility, impact and risk

- How to approach complex or ‘wicked problems’ (problems resistant to conventional resolution)

- Review tools, priorities and resources available (including expertise) 


Implementation: The problem-solving process in action

- Approaching the problem-solving process as a system, applying a critical thinking lens at all stages, consider: 

- Problem identification, detection or framing

- Design of possible solutions, opportunities or courses of action

- Evaluation and selection of solution

- Consideration of risk, including feasibility, uncertainty/error 

- Decision on Implementation 

- Deployment of solution

- Monitoring, learning and evaluation 


Overcoming the roadblocks to critical thinking and problem solving

- Cognitive biases, ideological conflict and problems arising in groups

- Observation blind-spots and measurement errors

- The inherently challenging nature of ‘wicked problems’ 

- Cultivating your skills and maintaining your edge as a critical thinker

  • Alexandra O’Mara Director Sustainable Solutions Advisory

Group Discounts



Rapid Action

Ends March 01

SAVE UP TO $1000


Value Plus

Ends March 28


Super Saver

Ends May 01


Early Bird

Ends May 28



Cliftons Sydney

Level 13, 60 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia

+61 2 9250 0999

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