Future Problem Solving

Giving youth the life skills they need to succeed

Future Problem Solving is a programme that is creating futures by providing young New Zealanders with life-long skills which will allow them participate in society as confident, productive citizens. We provide a challenging academic programme that already meets the needs of around 2500+ of NZ's brightest young minds every year.

We are a proven programme with an outstanding reputation, both nationally and internationally. Our programme is often cited in education research nationally and internationally.

Future Problem Solving is a programme for students from Yrs 4 – 13 which arms them with skills allowing them to tackle real global issues and community problems and to develop and implement innovative, empowering plans of action.

We aim to facilitate students’ learning in order for them to:

  • Develop and use creative thinking skills
  • Learn about complex global issues, which will shape the future
  • Develop an active interest in the future
  • Develop and use written and verbal communication skills
  • Learn and utilise problem-solving strategies
  • Develop and use teamwork skills
  • Develop and use research skills
  • Develop and use critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Encourage students within the community problem-solving component to work within the community to identify and solve authentic problems

It is a year long programme where students, working in teams, or as individuals, learn and apply a six-step problem solving process based on the Osborne/Parnes Creative Problem Solving model, used by many businesses and companies worldwide. Throughout the year, your students apply the process to consider the challenges and issues contained within complex social and scientific problems the world will face in the future, or tackle existing problems in their own communities. They will gain the skills to become the leaders of the future.

There are several components. In Global Issues Problem Solving students work in teams or individually to explore some of the world's major global issues; to learn a creative problem solving process and to apply this to a futuristic scenario to come up with innovative, futuristic solutions. In Community Problem Solving, teams or individuals work with their communities to develop and implement empowering solutions to identified local problems. In Scenario Writing students create science fiction stories which tackle global issues in a future setting.

We provide online and face-to-face training and support, resources for students and teachers, comprehensive feedback on students’ work and support for teachers. The best teams are invited to participate in the annual National Finals from which teams are chosen to represent New Zealand at the International Finals in the USA each June. New Zealand students have been particularly successful in the international competition, which is an integral part of the programme. Our outstanding International results and reputation are a reflection of the high quality of the New Zealand programme.

We have been operating in schools throughout New Zealand since 1990. Many of our alumni have gone on to have successful careers or interesting life paths pursuing the interests they have developed through Future Problem Solving. Our alumni credit their ongoing success in their careers in large part to their involvement in FPS.

“The genius of the future will be the creative mind adapting itself to the shape of things to come.” 

Dr E Paul Torrance (Founder of Future Problem Solving)