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Think Like Sherlock

Course Guide

Learn how to solve problems from a Scotland Yard Police detective

“We need more cops like Stevyn Colgan! A model of smart storytelling, cunning insight, and pure inspiration.” - Stephen J Dubner, co-author Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics

Problem solving is a skill that is in high demand, master it today and earn your certification from a Scotland Yard Police detective.

Despite the fact that we face many problems in both personal and professional life, we are never taught at school or even university how to solve problems effectively.

In this short course you will master the problem solving process used by a highly experienced Metropolitan Police detective who spent 30 years solving real problems on the streets of London.

You will also learn the key practical techniques to vastly improve your ability to solve problems as well as tips for how you can put yourself in the right mindset. At the same time, you will be introduced to some of the common pitfalls made in decision making and how best to avoid them.

By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to solve problems just like Sherlock.

The secrets to effective problem solving lie just a click away.

“Intelligent and humane”Prof Richard Dawkins

“Stevyn took lateral and creative thinking and applied it to bigger social problems. I think there’s a huge opportunity for that kind of thing” - Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy Vice Chairman

Key Skills Learned

  • A tried and tested process for solving any problem
  • How to recognise and avoid your own biases
  • Ways to improve your problem solving abilities
  • How to effectively measure the impact of your chosen solution

Who is this for?

  • Anyone with a problem to solve!

How does it work?

  • You’ll learn through a mixture of helpful unique short videos, text and illustrations
  • Each lesson lasts approx 10-15mins, you can take as long or short as you like
  • Questions give you immediate feedback and are designed to test your understanding of key concepts
  • Select questions are marked by real people who provide help/feedback if you get stuck
  • We include carefully chosen and curated links for further reading throughout the course
  • upon completion you’ll get a signed and dated certification
  • Everything is in plain English and easy to understand






Magnus H.


So glad I signed up! The variety of techniques to test your understanding is great and the team behind the scenes even better.

Ian H.

United Kingdom

42courses helped me land a plum job as a copywriter! So I love you all for life!

Remi C.


42courses is one of the best e-learning platforms. Enjoy the ride.

Bradley C.


I was unsure of this at first, however, learning on your time, in a fun way, works for me!

Tom K.

United States

Engaging, informative, varied, and very well researched.



What exactly is a problem and how do you go about solving one?


What are the mental qualities required to be a good problem solver? How can you better develop them?


The problem solving process starts with correctly defining the problem. Here we look at how best to avoid the pitfalls.


How best to go about researching potential solutions to your problem.


How to make sense of your research and narrowing in on the best solution.


How to implement the chosen solution to your problem.


Determining success and what to do if things don't go as planned.

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Meet your

Thought leaders

Stevyn Colgan

Stevyn spent 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service.

Twelve of those were spent as part of Scotland Yard’s award-winning Problem Solving Unit, a specialist team with an extraordinary brief: to solve problems of crime and disorder that were unresponsive to traditional policing methods.

Since retiring he has been one of the writers of the BBC TV series QI and its sister show on BBC Radio 4, The Museum of Curiosity. He has also found time to write seven books and is a regular speaker at events such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Hay Festival, QEDCon and Latitude.

Stevyn has appeared on many podcasts and radio shows including Freakonomics, No Such Thing As A Fish, Little Atoms, to name just a few.

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What people are saying

Lee P.

New Zealand

This course was really good. Part new (to me) approaches and part refresher. Well structured and with great examples and resources. In fact, I found the course better than the name of the course suggested. If I may be so bold, I understand that the course leader is ex-police, but I don’t believe the ‘Think like Sherlock’ in the title helps sell it. It is a far better course than that. Jeez, does that make me sound like a pompous, humourless old git? Oh well........

Danté P.

United Kingdom

Wow, so many interesting stories and useful tactics in this course, I can see why he worked on QI (also love how many books he has behind him in the video!!!!). If you want a fun and easy way to learn how to better solve problems then give it a go.

Aiden C.

United Kingdom

I hadn't heard of Stevyn before this but glad I gave this a go, I wanted a way to better solve problems at work and Stevyn's insights and methods definitely helped me find some innovative new ways to solve them. It's incredible how broad you can use these tools in life, they pretty much work for any issues you may be facing and they are super easy to use, it's almost like I have a new way of looking at the world...not quite Sherlock Holmes in the BBC TV series level, but close enough.

Lientjie M.

South Africa

I always thought it was strange that problem solving was never taught at school. I mean we all face problems everyday. Stevyn was a brilliant teacher and the course was both fun and very informative. The story about the noisy nightclubbers and lollipops was genius! So good!

Magda B.

United Kingdom

Really enjoyed this course. I liked it because I learnt a process for solving problems as well as a whole bunch of useful techniques to make me a better problem solver. It was interesting learning from a former police detective too and some of the real world examples were brilliant.

Maren U.

United Kingdom

Simple to understand, witty and managed to finish it in a day! Two weeks on and has already helped me solve a few problems at work. Thank you Stevyn and well done 42courses!

Andy V.

United States

Loved the story about finding an undercover car thief gang! A great step by step guide to solving problems, shorter and more practical than a book too and thanks for the speedy support when I got stuck.

Mark H.


Took this course while traveling so was happy it worked well on my phone! It was super entertaining and really helpful, if you want to solve problems this is a great course to take, have already recommended it to friends

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Think Like Sherlock