George Pólya in his 1957 book How to Solve It suggests the following steps when solving a problem:
- First, you have to understand the problem
- After understanding, then make a plan.
- Carry out the plan.
- Look back on your work. How could it be better?
If this technique fails, Pólya advises: “If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can solve: find it.” (1957:114)