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Icebreakers

Strategic Planning Solution

The solution of this puzzle is to start in the centre square of the top row.

Learning Points

This is a good exercise to use when you are teaching strategic planning.

There are two types of strategy that can be applied to this problem:

  • systematic strategy;
  • deduction strategy.

With the systematic strategy you visit every square in turn and test it to see if it is the solution. This can be a very time-consuming strategy because you may have to try a large number of potential solutions before you find the right one. This type is strategy is suitable for computers and is often used to hack into computer systems by trying every combination of password.

A deduction strategy tries to reduce the number of combinations by looking for clues in the situation. If you were trying to crack into a computer system, you might look to see if the password has been hidden somewhere or you might try birthdays, telephone numbers or addresses.

An important version of a deduction strategy is reverse chaining — that is, start at the goal and work backwards towards the solution. With the above problem you start at the ‘GOAL’ square and find the previous square that leads to the goal, and then find the square before that...

GOAL < 2S < 1NW < 1N < 3E < 2S < 1NW < 2S < 1W < 1SW < 2N < 2E < 2S < 4N < 1SW < 2E < 4W < 3S < 1NE < 3E < 1S < 4NW < 3S < 1N < 2SE

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