Learn about how to identify the right problem or opportunity to be solved versus getting bogged down or distracted. Managers are unlikely to have a measurable impact on the business when focused on the wrong priorities.
- Before we start trying to solve a problem, we need to make sure that we know what the problem is that we're trying to solve. I know, it sounds like an obvious and a dumb thing to say, but it's incredible how often people neglect this first stage of the process because, in my experience, they neglect it nearly all of the time. So how do we get started on this? The first thing is to make sure you're actually addressing the real problem. A lot of the time, people end up addressing the symptoms of the problem, rather than the problem itself. So I recommend that you start by using the classic five whys technique, created by Sakichi Toyoda, long before I was born. So let's imagine that the problem we're trying to deal with is a button on a coffee vending machine, and it keeps breaking. The obvious solution is to replace the button, but that might not be our problem. In our hypothetical situation, it might go like this. What's the problem? The button keeps breaking. Why? Because it's been pressed far more than the other buttons. Why? Because people don't know that their order has been accepted. Why? Because there's a long delay before the coffee is served. Why? Because the water needs to heat up. Why? Because it's too expensive to keep the water boiling all the time. At this point, we see that replacing the button doesn't solve our problem, and our answers can lead to lots of possible solutions, like giving people a message to say that their drink is being prepared or finding a faster way to heat the water. You may find that you don't need to use all five whys. You may find that you need to use more. Just make sure you investigate beyond the superficial observations to find the actual root cause of the problem. Once we understand the problem, we can then work out the people, the skills, and the resources we're likely to need along the way.
- Why collaborative creativity is the future
- Creating an environment where great ideas can flourish
- How to get other decision makers onboard
- Curating the best team to solve a problem
- The ingredients of great ideas
- Useful versus irrelevant research and why it matters
- The importance of insight in idea generation
- Writing a powerful creative brief
- Getting the best ideas from diverse groups
- How to judge ideas more effectively