Theory of Constraints: Creative Problem Solving (Hardback) book cover

Theory of Constraints

Creative Problem Solving

By Umesh P. Nagarkatte, Nancy Oley

© 2018 – Productivity Press

290 pages | 113 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138056053
pub: 2017-12-07
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This book was written to assist professionals and students to become proactive in their own education, improve thinking, resolve personal and interpersonal conflicts, improve pedagogy, manage departmental affairs and guide administrative decisions. The text captures the practical experience of the authors with and formal training in TOC to address many of the issues facing today’s education stakeholders.

The text is designed to teach methods for 1) "win-win" conflict resolution, 2) decision-making, 3) problem solving, and 4) analysis of systems using TOC’s powerful logic-based graphical Thinking Process tools. A creative thinker can identify, plan and achieve his or her goals just knowing the Thinking Process Tools.


"I believe that [the] book will be a monument of application of TOC Thinking Processes for creative problem solving. … [The authors’] perspective of applying TOC Thinking Processes to academia is quite creative and many examples are so vivid that there will be no difficulties in following through the main substance.

…[the] book will be very beneficial to teachers, students, administrators, counselors, and anyone who wants to think clearly for making life meaningful. Personally the Creative Thinker’s Toolkit will be a great reference for me to run my class ‘Thinking Process for Creative Problem Solving.’"

Wonjoon Choi, Professor of Industrial Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, Republic of Korea 44610

"Those who practice TOC Thinking Processes appreciate their real value. At first glance it seems to be merely a set of logical diagrams. But, their intrinsic value goes much beyond that. They are designed to achieve breakthrough results in the desired field of operation. Achieving a breakthrough starts with challenging the status quo and overcoming inertia. In order to achieve substantially better results we need to rigorously apply three fundamental powers in our possession: emotion, intuition and logic. Emotion is critical. Only passionate people have the stamina to march through the tedious road leading to breakthrough results. Moreover, on matters we don’t care about. we have zero intuition. Emotions feed the needed intuition to find the right path, to come up with new ideas. Intuition is critical. It fuels logic. Without intuition, applying logic will be, at best, a theoretical exercise with little practical consequence. Logic is critical. Intuition alone can lead us astray. Applying intuition within a logical framework helps us to guide our intuition in the right direction. It helps us to identify missing elements and to devise corrective actions where gaps appear. It helps us to communicate our intuition to other people and to obtain their collaboration. The TOC Thinking Processes support us to achieve this goal. They boost our ability to apply intuition in an area we greatly care to improve, and when used correctly, to achieve breakthrough results. The authors of this book have applied these tools to the field of higher education. They share their journey on the path to remarkable results in student retention and academic achievement, a core problem of many colleges and society as a whole. But this is just one aspect of their story. Going through the chapters we get an opportunity to learn how the Thinking Processes can be used with students in order to achieve the higher goal of education which is 'to prepare students for life.'"

Rami Goldratt, CEO, Goldratt Consulting Ltd.

Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: What to Change? Part 1: Branch, Current Reality Tree and Future Reality Tree

Chapter 3: What to Change? Part 2: Evaporating Clouds

Chapter 4: What to Change to?

Chapter 5: How to Cause the Change? Prerequisite Tree, Project Plan, and Transition Tree

Chapter 6: Five Focusing Steps in the Process of Ongoing Improvement (POOGI): Institutional Problem Solving

Chapter 7: Epilogue: How Did We Do?

Appendix: TOC for Education


About the Authors

Umesh P. Nagarkatte, PhD is currently a Professor and former Chair in the Department of Mathematics, Medgar Evers College/CUNY. He studied Theory of Constraints methodology and management skills at the Goldratt Institute in New Haven, CT. Dr. Nagarkatte has presented extensively on the topic of TOC, used TOC to develop mathematics textbooks, and has received numerous grants to further his TOC work. He did graduate work at Purdue University, Indiana, and earned his PhD in Algebraic Number Theory from CUNY.

Nancy Oley, PhD is a Professor and Director of the Psychology Laboratory, Medgar Evers College/CUNY. She has made numerous presentations and facilitated workshops with her co-author on the Theory of Constraints, and has received numerous research grants. She is also the author of chapters and articles related to variety of psychology topics. She earned her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Columbia University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management