The power of play: Workshop to explore problem solving through puzzles


Puzzling it Out: Problem Solving and Insight Thinking for Business

Taught by The Puzzling Professor, Jonathan Berkowitz, also known as The Word Guy on CBC Radio

Posted 2020-02-25

Can you figure out the rationale for segmenting the following? Answer is at the end of the page.



Too often in business we settle for quick solutions determined by habit, rather than trying new approaches. By using the skills and techniques of puzzle solving, you can learn how to approach business problems in a new way and make better decisions for your organization.

Don’t miss Puzzling It Out: Problem Solving and Insight Thinking for Business on April 24, 2020. This one-day program will use puzzles and the power of experimentation to build up your mental fitness and help you discover new ways of looking at challenging questions with fresh eyes and without assumptions. You will be able to take these ideas and apply them to real-world scenarios in the workplace.

Through a tour of classic and modern puzzles, you will try your hand at number puzzles, word puzzles, logic puzzles and more. The course will explore how to ask probing questions, use the entire problem-solving apparatus of your brain, and reignite some long-forgotten thought processes from childhood.

Puzzle master and UBC Sauder lecturer Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz will lead participants through this unique and interactive learning opportunity. In addition to his role as instructor with UBC Sauder Executive Education, Dr. Berkowitz teaches business statistics full-time for the school’s Operations and Logistics Division; as well, he is a consulting statistician in private practice. He is a member of the National Puzzlers’ League and also regularly appears as The Word Guy on CBC Radio One’s program North by Northwest, educating and entertaining audiences about all aspects of the English language.

“When people say they are going for a workout, they almost always mean a physical workout. But this is going to give the brain a mental workout and shake loose some muscles that haven’t been used before,” says Dr. Berkowitz.

The true value of puzzles is their ability to teach learners to recognize patterns and engage in lateral thinking, says Dr. Berkowitz. So, what exactly is lateral thinking? “With vertical thinking, you are limited to the choices that you have, you are constrained. But lateral thinking generates new ideas,” he explains.

As for how solving puzzles can translate into real world lessons, participants will learn techniques for effective brainstorming, as well as tips on how to deconstruct complicated business issues down to their core, spot errors and navigate inconsistencies.

Dr. Berkowitz says the workshop is designed for a broad spectrum of business professionals in a variety of sectors and at varying points in their careers. “It will appeal to anybody who says, ‘I tend to come up with only one way of seeing things.-, How do I come up with another way?’”

The course will be especially useful for senior leaders interested in becoming more flexible, uncovering new ways of looking at problems and reimagining long-standing processes.

“Puzzling It Out met all my expectations. I had been looking for a way to tackle business issues in a more innovative, and hopefully efficient manner. I knew that looking at problems from a different angle could be one of several solutions. Dr. Berkowitz opened up a number of new ways of looking at and solving problems that could readily be transferable to business situations. He was also fun and very engaging,” says previous course participant and investor Johan Bjurström. “In my role as chairman of several mid-size companies, I have since been able to be a lot more challenging to the board and more productive. As a side benefit, my newfound ability to throw out interesting puzzles amongst friends has become a fun pastime.”

“Dr. Berkowitz’s passion for puzzles challenged everyone to laterally think about the problems in unconventional ways in order to solve them,” says another previous course participant Alex Prodanovic, Senior Portfolio Manager at Scotia Wealth Management. “Without question, this course was enlightening, thought provoking and a great opportunity to step away from the business world and challenge yourself to think outside the box. I highly recommend the course to everyone.”

Get ready to flex your mental muscles and register today.


Puzzle answer: The top letters have holes.