Our site is BRAND NEW. Using our creative problem-solving skills we have repositioned ourselves. FPSPI is now using the Future Problem Solving name. A new cleaner look. More content. Easier navigation. More upgrades to come!

Who We Are

problem-solving-student-skit

Since 1974

Our problem solvers learn how to think, not what to think

Future Problem Solving proudly celebrates 50 years of placing close to a million young people at the core of a dynamic, purposeful learning experience. Each year K-12 students around the world participate in a variety of challenges designed to empower curious youth to become changemakers. Problem solvers learn how to think, not what to think, and gain skills they need to succeed in work and life. Our programs help young people develop their own voices and gives them the confidence to use them.

50 Years of Problem Solving Future Problem Solving

What Drives Us

A world where all young people are future ready

Our evidence-based approach to inspiring young people ensures the skills our students learn stay with them for life.

Vision

A world full of problem solvers ready to create a better future.

Mission

To develop the ability of young people globally to design and achieve positive futures through problem solving using critical and creative thinking.

DEIB Commitment

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are part of our internal culture and daily efforts.

Dr E Paul Torrance

Founder

Dr. E. Paul Torrance
In Memoriam: 1915-2003
student-problem-solver-Canada-flag-opening-ceremony

What We Believe

Our values bring together the 5Cs

Our core values embody the principles of 21st Century Learning through the 5Cs and our belief in the importance of lifelong learning. These values guide all we do.

Critical Thinking

We believe our current students are our future leaders. We recognize the potential of every participant and seek to empower them with the thinking skills they need to shape their own futures and become successful global citizens.

Creativity

We stay open to new ideas. We are curious and always striving to improve the value we provide to our participants and global network. We embrace innovation and aim to be agile when adapting to new situations.

Communication

Everyone's voice is celebrated. We recognize that our people are at the heart of Future Problem Solving and our greatest strength. The inclusion of all perspectives and ideas leads to the best solutions.

Collaboration

We deliver great student experiences together. We don’t believe in ‘going it alone’. We are inspired by those who help us build a vibrant global community of problem solvers ready to create positive change in the world.

Caring

We seek first to understand. By appreciating the needs and feelings of those around us, we are able to help and become part of the solution. When it comes to caring for others, we believe actions speak louder than words.

2024 International Conference Topic

Air Quality

Quality air is a globally shared resource essential for human health and prosperity. Today 99% of the population lives in places where the World Health Organization’s quality standards are not met. How will air quality impact everyday life in the future?

How We Do It

Our Proven 6-Step Problem-Solving Method

Students learn to thoroughly research and analyze real world issues then apply a 6-step creative problem-solving process to develop relevant action plans.

6 steps of Future Problem Solving

Our Approach

Students show up curious and leave inspired

Real World Issues

Our topics represent important challenges from business, civics, society, science, and technology and serve as the thematic basis for given problem-solving situations.

Authentic Assessment

Our rubric-based evaluations provide learner-focused feedback through authentic assessment of each problem-solving step to strengthen student skills.

5Cs of Learning

Our interdisciplinary program infuses curiosity and caring as students learn to apply critical and creative thinking skills, collaborate with others, and clearly communicate their ideas.

Future Scenarios

Our future scenes are hypothetical “what if” scenarios based on current topic information. Each year teams of experts, including futurists, develop our problem situations.

Competition

Our educational experiences include competitions for both teams and individuals at local, regional, affiliate, and international levels.

Global Network

Our global community features passionate, dedicated, and successful students, educators, affiliate teams, staff, evaluators, parents, schools, volunteers, alumni, and supporters.

Partner With Us

The support of forward-thinking and innovative companies, foundations, thought leaders, associations, governments, and philanthropists makes a real difference.

Our Impact

In our world, youth have the skills to create a better future

Young people attain lifelong problem-solving skills and the ability to use them to solve real world challenges.

0

K-12 Students

Each year more than 30,000 K-12 students participate in a variety of problem-solving challenges.

0

Regions

Young people in at least 34 U.S. states and 14 countries around the world compete within our global network.

Why It Matters

Skills stay for life

The skills our problem solvers learn ensure they are ready to adapt to a changing world and stay with them for life.
I love getting to see the difference that our problem-solving process has on students. I love to see how they are able to take the process and apply it to overcome various obstacles in their lives.
chris hill teatimonial
Chris Hill
Kentucky Future Problem Solving
(Affiliate Director)
Future Problem Solving is an amazing program designed to encourage kids to apply – truly apply – critical thinking, packaged up in a 'do you like sci-fi?' bow.
ann-foreyt-testimonial
Ann Foreyt
Technology Executive
(Alum & Evaluations Director)
It is a much more superpowered product. Kids who can do well at Future Problem Solving have virtually no upper boundary in what they can achieve in the future in a multitude of disciplines.
Erwin Hosono
Private Investor
(Parent)

Future Problem Solving Students – A Five Year Study

(2016)

A Comparison of Reading and Mathematics Performance Between Students Participating in a Future Problem Solving Program and Nonparticipants

Data from the The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) was collected by Grandview Middle School and provided to Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. for statistical analysis.


Findings reported by Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. Performance data on the MCA was collected from 2010-2014 for students in grade 6 at Grandview Middle School in Mound, MN (Westonka Public School District). Students were identified as either FPS: students participating in a Future Problem Solving program, or Non-FPS: students not participating in the program. Summary statistics using Reading and Mathematics Scaled Scores were developed for each group of students by year and across years. To determine if the mean scores across the years were significantly different, t-tests were used. A Cohen’s d test was then performed to measure the effect of the size of the found differences.

In all cases, students participating in the Future Problem Solving Program performed significantly higher on the MCA in both areas of Mathematics and Reading.

Effects of Group Training in Problem-Solving Style on Future Problem-Solving Performance

(2017)

The Journal of Creative Behavior (JCB) of the Creative Education Foundation

Seventy-five participants from one suburban high school formed 21 teams with 3–4 members each for Future Problem Solving (FPS). Students were selected to participate in either the regular FPS or an enhanced FPS, where multiple group training activities grounded in problem-solving style were incorporated into a 9-week treatment period.

An ANCOVA procedure was used to examine the difference in team responses to a creative problem-solving scenario for members of each group, after accounting for initial differences in creative problem-solving performance, years of experience in FPS, and creative thinking related to fluency, flexibility, and originality. The ANCOVA resulted in a significant difference in problem-solving performance in favor of students in the treatment group (F(1, 57) = 8.21, p = .006, partial eta squared = .126, medium), while there were no significant differences in years of experience or creativity scores. This result led researchers to conclude that students in both groups had equivalent creative ability and that participation in the group activities emphasizing problem-solving style significantly contributed to creative performance.

In the comparison group, a total of 47% had scores that qualified for entry to the state competition. In contrast, 89% of the students in the treatment group had scores that qualified them for the state bowl. None of the teams from the comparison group qualified for the international competition, while two teams from the treatment group were selected, with one earning sixth place.

The results of this study suggest that problem-solving performance by team members can be improved through direct instruction in problem-solving style, particularly when there is a focus on group dynamics.

The Journal of Creative Behavior, Vol. 0, Iss. 0, pp. 1–12 © 2017 by the Creative Education Foundation, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/jocb.176

Future Problem Solving Program International—Second Generation Study

(2011)

“How important was Future Problem Solving in the development of your following skill sets?”

In 2011, a team of researchers from the University of Virginia submitted a report titled “Future Problem Solving Program International—Second Generation Study.” (Callahan, Alimin, & Uguz, 2012). The study, based on a survey, collected data from over 150 Future Problem Solving alumni to understand the impact of their participation in Future Problem Solving as students or volunteers.

 
Percentage of Alumni Rating Important and Extremely Important in Developing Skill Sets
  • 96% Look at the “Big Picture”
  • 93% Critical Thinking
  • 93% Teamwork and Collaboration
  • 93% Identify and Solve Problems
  • 93% Time Management
  • 90% Researching
  • 90% Evaluation and Decision Making
  • 86% Creativity and Innovation
  • 86% Written Communication
 
The report captured alumni’s positive experiences as students in Future Problem Solving and documented that the alumni continued to utilize the FPS-structured approach to solving problems in their adult lives.

Evaluation of the Future Problem Solving Program

(2011)

Data was obtained from 220 coaches, 633 students, 195 parents, and 34 affiliate directors nationally and internationally

The Center for Creative Learning, USA (Treffinger, Selby, and Crumel) completed an international evaluation of Future Problem Solving including three competitive programs (Global Issues, Community Projects, and Creative Writing). Surveys ascertained 1,082 respondents’ views of: the extent to which Future Problem Solving and its programs meet their stated goals, the strengths of the programs and areas for improvement, and the impact of the program on its participants.

All respondents with current experience participating in each program rated a comprehensive list of 11-12 skills using a 5-point Likert scale. The adult groups identified the impact on participating students’ learning and growth, and the students identified what skills their participation helped them with the most.

 
Top 5 Most Impactful Skills Identified by Program

GLOBAL ISSUES

Adults – Coaches and Affiliate Directors (151)

  • Learning about complex issues that will shape the future (4.60)
  • Developing teamwork and collaboration, working together and cooperating with each other (4.39)
  • Fostering critical thinking (the ability to sort and sift information or to focus one’s thinking) (4.29)
  • Developing an active interest in the future (4.29)
  • Developing the skills needed to manage time effectively (4.02)

 

Students (242)

  • Learning about topics that will have important effects on the future. (4.14)
  • Working together and cooperating with others (4.13)
  • Thinking of many different and unusual ideas (3.99)
  • Helping become a better leader (3.90)
  • Deciding on the best solution to a problem (3.87)

 

COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Adults – Coaches and Affiliate Directors (64)

  • Enhancing the skills of preparing and delivering materials and/or presentations that communicate ideas effectively (4.76)
  • Developing teamwork and collaboration (working together, cooperating with each other)(4.56)
  • Developing leadership skills (4.56)
  • Showing evidence that team members are able to apply FPS skills in other situations (4.30)
  • Developing the skills needed to manage time effectively (4.27)

 

Students (107)

  • Working together and cooperating with others (4.33)
  • Feeling that I can make a difference in shaping the future (4.13)
  • Deciding on the best solution to a problem (4.07)
  • Helping me become a better leader (3.97)
  • Thinking of many different and unusual ideas (3.96)

 

CREATIVE WRITING

Adults – Coaches and Affiliate Directors (82)

  • Enhancing and expanding writing skills (4.39)
  • Developing an active interest in the future (4.11)
  • Learning about complex issues that will shape the future (4.10)
  • Thinking and researching futuristically (4.06)
  • Fostering creative thinking (the ability to generate many, varied, and unusual options (3.98)

 

Students (146)

  • Thinking and researching futuristically (4.08)
  • Developing better writing skills (4.05)
  • Learning about topics that will have important effects on the future (3.99)
  • Thinking of many different and unusual ideas (3.92)
  • Finding information in many different places (3.69)

 

Note, 88% of parents were satisfied with the Future Problem Solving program their youngster(s) participated in and a majority of parents with eligible students anticipated a high level of interest in participating again next year (60.9%).

Alumni Top 5 Most Impactful Skills on Their Development

A group of 48 alumni also responded to surveys focused on their past experiences and the impact those experiences had on their development into adulthood. Approximately 8 in 10 reported Future Problem Solving was very helpful or extremely helpful in secondary school (81%), in academic work after high school (78%), and in other life experiences outside school or academic work (81%). Looking back on their experience, the aspects below were rated the five most important and valuable.

  • Learning ways to think of many different and unusual ideas (4.75)
  • Learning how to choose the best solution for a problem (4.42)
  • Learning how to work or collaborate with others (4.41)
  • Developing better writing skills (4.36)
  • Learning a specific process for solving problems (4.35)
 
Results indicated strong overall satisfaction with Future Problem Solving among all stakeholder groups, as well as evidence of positive impact on academic and real-life accomplishments and personal relationships.

 

5-point Likert scale:
Adults: 1 = Little or no impact, 2 = Limited impact, 3 = Moderate impact, 4 = High impact, 5 = Exceptional impact
Students: 1= Hasn’t helped me at all, 2 = Helped me just a little, 3 = Helped me = “Okay”, 4 = Helped me quite a bit, 5= Really a great help to me
Alumni: 1=Not Important, 2=Of Little Importance, 3=Somewhat Important, 4=Very Important, 5=Extremely Important

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. In addition, April facilitated the Theory and Development of Creativity course for the state of Florida’s certification of teachers. She has also collaborated on a variety of special projects through the Department of Education. Beyond her U.S. education credentials, she has been trained for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Humanities.

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.