Jigsaw Puzzles and Strategy

With many high-tech alternatives around, the humble jigsaw, known simply as a "puzzle" in some languages, might seem quite boring. However, especially if a team's involved, and this competes with another one, a jigsaw can be an exciting pastime. It's also a good opportunity for off-duty strategists to keep their skills polished during the Holiday Season, just starting in many parts of the world.

Consider the following process of strategy implementation in a jigsaw context:
- Completing the jigsaw is the clear goal - no need to prioritise projects and all resources can be concentrated accordingly - however, sequencing of action is important.
- First of all, turn all the pieces face up - they're our only information source, apart from a picture of the finished job.
- Then find the corner and edge pieces - that quickly frames the problem.
- Maybe collect and join a number of pieces of the same colour - an early win that also keeps the team happy.
- Perhaps also assign (or let the team choose) some defined tasks within the overall, preferably to fit their own skills, such as hand-eye coordination (see also our post on "muscle memory", 28 May 2015) - e.g. filling up a certain area of the puzzle or a particular large object.
- Finally, don't forget to pick out identifiable pieces (e.g. words, or objects again) - they help us get our bearings and keep it all real.

So a lot to say about a simple topic; strategy is not too difficult if we plan our process. It's jigsaw puzzles that are hard!


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