Most of the problem-solving teams we are involved with have twin dilemmas of uncertainty and complexity, at times combined as truly “wicked problems.” 7 A term coined in a now famous 1973 article: Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin Webber, “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning,” Policy Sciences , 1973, Number 4, pp. It’s not usually associated with problem solving, but it probably piqued your interest. Structured problem solving strategies can be used to address almost any complex challenge in business or public policy. Online marketplaces make A/B testing easy. We’ve found that better results come from embracing uncertainty. A team from the Nature Conservancy, for instance, was presenting a proposal asking a philanthropic foundation to support the restoration of oyster reefs. The difference between the outstanding, world class performers and the average companies is how well they react to … They’re terrific problem solvers under any conditions. No matter how thoroughly you plan. You can do this by using spreadsheets, and a, While you’re working to solve a challenging business problem, pay particular attention to your, . 6. Maybe instead of increasing sales right now, you’re better off in the long run if you adopt a strategy to reduce churn and retain your best customers. But it’s worth struggling through and gathering information that can help you better understand, . Beware of hidden costs, such as inadvertently divulging information and having to sieve through huge volumes of irrelevant, inferior suggestions to find the rare gem of a solution. Such activities are usually aimed at developing … 3 Can you quickly make adjustments? The smartest team for this problem wasn’t in the mining industry at all. In these pages, we would like to introduce you to the topics of problem solving, to explain what problem solving is and to go into problem solving … Decide on a few key performance indicators. If you’re dealing with a serious issue, it’s easy to start to get tunnel vision. If it is difficult (or unethical) to experiment, look for the “natural experiments” provided by different policies in similar locations. 1. Reinvent your business. A term coined in a now famous 1973 article: Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin Webber, “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning,” Policy Sciences, 1973, Number 4, pp. What if your particular business problem is actually an opportunity, or even a strength if considered from a different angle? tab. CSIRO briefing to US Government, December 5, 2006. Better—and more creative—solutions come from being curious about the broader range of potential answers. Home » Blog » 10 Problem-Solving Strategies that Work. Which leads to multiple perspectives and solutions arising. 3. The more diverse a team is, the more often innovative solutions to the problems faced by the organization appear. If you’re running your business solo, at least bring in a trusted mentor. Unleash their potential. It might seem like you are spending days spinning your wheels, but these steps to problem-solving are critical. And when conditions of uncertainty are at their peak, they’re at their brilliant best. The real world is highly uncertain. They are the authors of Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything (Wiley, 2018). Is it realistic for how fast you want to grow? One of its strengths is that it requires involving a wide range of people in the problem-solving process. This above all requires an embrace of imperfection and a tolerance for ambiguity—and a gambler’s sense of probabilities. When you’re trying to solve a serious business problem, one of the best things you can do is build a few different financial forecasts so you can model different scenarios. All good businesses solve some sort of problem for customers. 5. It’s natural—you’re not a fortune-teller. The late economist Herb Simon put it this way: “Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution transparent.” This is why as an entrepreneur, you need to know how to solve business problems effectively. It’s often used by organizations looking to solve big, community-based problems. For the very young, everything is new and wildly uncertain. 8 In fact, it has been found that groups that show greater diversity were better at solving problems than groups made up specifically of highly skilled problem solvers. Problem solving strategies are common place in business and it is essential that the right tool is used for the specific problem in hand. Fully examining all of your possible solutions is one of the most important problem solving strategies for your business. Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, New York, NY: Crown, 2015. Chris Bradley, Marin Hirt, and Sven Smit, For more from Chris Bradley, in a conversation with Rob McLean, see “. All rights reserved. Occurrent behavior is what actually happens in a time and place, not what was potential or predicted behavior. Often, a secret unlocks itself only when one looks at a problem from multiple perspectives, including some that initially seem orthogonal. Good crowdsourcing takes time to set up, can be expensive, and may signal to your competitors what you are up to. There are a lot of ways to approach the issue when you’re facing a serious business problem. in the bank can help you be proactive. TNC now uses the winning algorithm to identify fish types and sizes caught on fishing boats in Asia to protect endangered Pacific tuna and other species. Consult any book on problem solving activities and you’ll find elements of the above strategies present in some form. But seasoned problem solvers show you differently. We started our list of mindsets with a reference to children, and we return to children now, with “show and tell.” As you no doubt remember—back when you were more curious!—show and tell is an elementary-school activity. Select topics and stay current with our latest insights, Six problem-solving mindsets for very uncertain times. Have you communicated your short term and long-term business goals clearly and often? By Suzanne Kane. Ashok Alexander, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India Aids Initiative, provided a brilliant example of not just vision but also dragonfly vision. Without these, you’ve simply made a blind decision with no way to track success. so you can model different scenarios. We may imagine a mastermind who knows what she’s doing and approaches a problem with purpose. We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. They’re terrific problem solvers under any conditions. When Sir Rod Carnegie was CEO of Conzinc Riotinto Australia (CRA), he was concerned about the costs of unscheduled downtime with heavy trucks, particularly those requiring tire changes. Problem-solving starts when you start exploring each and every possibility of a problem. Business games for problem solving Business games are a more informal way to solve problems. Accept that it’s OK to draw on diverse experiences and expertise other than your own. It starts with putting your options into a matrix like this one: . It’s actually a gift if you can, The worst thing you can do when you’re facing challenges is isolating yourself from your customers and ignore your competition. As you approach solving your problem, you may want to consider using the design thinking approach. We form hypotheses, porpoise into the data, and then surface and refine (or throw out) our initial guess at the answer. For more from Chris Bradley, in a conversation with Rob McLean, see “Want better strategies? You come up with a set of strong, data-driven ideas. Dragonfly-eye perception is common to great problem solvers. The reality, though, is that most good problem solving has a lot of trial and error; it’s more like the apparent randomness of rugby than the precision of linear programming. And when conditions of uncertainty are at their peak, they’re at their brilliant best. Seasoned problem solvers show you differently. The secret to developing a dragonfly-eye view is to “anchor outside” rather than inside when faced with problems of uncertainty and opportunity. What if your particular business problem is actually an opportunity, or even a strength if considered from a different angle? Download this podcast. 7. The show-and-tell mindset aims to bring decision makers into a problem-solving domain you have created. You won’t know unless you model a few different scenarios. Should you explore different pricing or cost strategies? At the very least you’ll have better insight into the financial impact of moving in a different direction. Put together a. In an ever-changing world where conditions can evolve unpredictably, crowdsourcing invites the smartest people in the world to work with you.