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    Key Innovative Steps for Problem Solving

    Albert Einstein once stated that if he get an hour to solve a problem he will spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solution. But can we do that as an employee who work longer hours in an organization?  When we reach the maximum potential of decision making power we automatically switch to energy saving mode by either rushing to solutions or avoiding the problem. 

    Rushing to solutions sometimes seems reasonable when it crossing the lines of ones to-do list and when the world around us feels more threatening and violating. However “Changing the pillowcase for the headache” make the situation worst. So what can we do to slow down and make the right decision? Get a deep breath sit back and let’s move with one by one.  

    Open your eyes wide

    Making the wrong decisions is easy but when you don’t have strong facts it’s much easier. So the first thing to do to before rushing to solutions is gather facts from the closest observations.      

    Reports, documents, articles, spreadsheets or simply representation of reality. Data, facts and precious observations will direct you to the right decision like the sail. Analyse the data refine the facts and then move to the next step.  

    Cage the problem

    Framing the problem is not always easy as it seems.  Client is the one who needs to find the solution to the problem and developer has to find the solution. Client is responsible for a descriptive problem exposure. But most of the cases this is the weakest part of the process and most of the time problem description suffer from following,

    1. Ambiguous description
    2. Problem description relies on unstated assumptions.
    3. Incomplete description
    4. Description has internal contradictions  

    But the developer’s responsibility is to defence those careless clients. So the developer must identify the low points of the client’s description. 

    A well-framed problem description opens up pool of options and discussions and so called bad problem description closes down many alternatives and make you make facile decisions.

    When struggling with the problem description, rethink it. Begin with observable facts, not opinions, judgments, or interpretations.


    When struggling with the problem before leaping to a solution in a hurry, think back. Think back, will it solve the original problem? Figure out how you got here in the first place. Once you’re satisfied with the solution move forward. With my experience I think Ishikawa diagram is the ideal model to focus on the causes, not the symptoms.

    4. Ask “why”

    Figure out “why” repeatedly before settle on an answer it is the magic of avoiding bad solutions. There is this famous quote “You can’t solve a problem until you’re asking the right question.”  Each time you ask “why” you will get better understanding of the real problem. Verifyed root cause is the base of a durable solution. Asking these questions and seeking the answers is a good way to develop skills that can be applied to the next problem.

    1. Does this solve the specific problem or does it solve a more generic problem? If it solves a very specific problem, should it be generalized?
    2. Can this it be simplified?

    These four steps will help you clarify the problem much easily and avoid quick and fragile solutions. Before the rush step back, think twice and follow these steps. Fragile solutions will make the problem worst and instant solutions will consume more time than we ever think. – Written by Kulangi Panagoda.      

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