BRAND NEW Future Problem Solving Resource Library. We’re just getting started and are still uploading content. Keep an eye out for additional articles and free tools in the coming months.

  1. Home
  2. Problem Solving Process
  3. How to write an underlying problem (UP) checklist
  1. Home
  2. Best Practices
  3. How to write an underlying problem (UP) checklist

How to write an underlying problem (UP) checklist

  • An underlying problem (UP) must be based on a significant, important issue connected to the future scene.
  • The focus of an underlying problem must be smaller than the whole future scene.
    • It must not restate the future scene.
    • It must not broaden the future scene (go beyond the future scene or the topic).
    • It should not be so narrow that finding solutions might be difficult.
  • An UP must include all the nutritional components: condition phrase, stem and key verb phrase, purpose, and future scene parameters.
  • An UP must use only one verb in the key verb phrase.
  • An UP must use non-absolute verbs, such as:
IncreaseMaximize
DecreaseMinimum
ImproveReduce
Examples of absolute verbs are “stop”, “solve”, “prevent”.
  • A UP must have only one purpose (avoid “and”, “or”) that logically follows from the key verb phrase and avoids phrases that are difficult to measure (e.g., “lead a happy life”).
  • When writing an UP, avoid using extra qualifying descriptors that might make it harder for solutions to address the key verb phrase and support the purpose.

Related Articles

Need help?

Send us an email.
Contact Us

April Michele

April Michele Bio

Executive Director

A seasoned educator, April Michele has served as the Executive Director since 2018 and been with Future Problem Solving more than a decade. Her background in advanced curriculum strategies and highly engaging learning techniques translates well in the development of materials, publications, training, and marketing for the organization and its global network. April’s expertise includes pedagogy and strategies for critical and creative thinking and providing quality educational services for students and adults worldwide.

Prior to joining Future Problem Solving, April taught elementary and middle grades, spending most of her classroom career in Gifted Education. She earned the National Board Certification (NBPTS) as a Middle Childhood/Generalist and later served as a National Board Assessor for the certification of others. She was trained and applied the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Humanities, which helped widen the educational scope and boundaries beyond the U.S. In addition, April facilitated the Theory and Development of Creativity course for state level certification of teachers. She has also collaborated on a variety of special projects through the Department of Education.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education and the University of South Florida with a master’s in Gifted Education, April’s passion is providing a challenging curriculum for 21st century students so they are equipped with the problem solving and ethical leadership skills they need to thrive in the future. As a board member in her local Rotary Club, she facilitates problem solving in leadership at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute and earned her certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Edyth Bush Institute at Rollins College.