Friday, June 14, 2019

Three Critical Ingredients in Systematic “Problem-Solving” Formula

The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum. 

Fundamentally, running a business is an iterative business problem-solving continuum. Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of alignment. In today’s complex business setting, problem-solving usually has a very wide scope and takes the interdisciplinary approach. People have to know how to connect the dots with the hyperconnected business ecosystem, think systematically, holistically and inclusively, comprehend dynamic; master induction or deduction; understand variables, interfaces, and interactions. Here are three critical ingredients in systematic “problem-solving” formula.

Coherence: Coherence is simply about logic and consistency. Problem-solving is a multi-stepped process that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation. The emphasis of structural and logical problem-solving is in doing better pre-work such as defining the situation and the success criteria. The system view of the business world is holistic and objective and it is sensitive to the emergent factors, A systematic problem-diagnose scenario that crosses all industries should be able to peel back the layers to discover the root cause by asking “WHYs,” or take other system analysis to discover the real cause and address it. A good problem-solving framework is important to help apply a set of well-defined principles, leverage structured methodologies, weight in varying decision factors, use efficient tools, take consideration of the range of options to deal with complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, select the premium solution which represents the best value-cost in terms of achievement of the business outcome in a structural and consistent way.

Optimization: Businesses have limited resources, time, and talent, high mature organizations have a strong capacity to leverage resources, time, and human capital to solve business problems really matter systematically and cost-effectively. A structural scenario for problem-solving is a healthy process to make continuous adjustment and improvement. It goes between flexibility and a hard process, to adopt a premium solution. The goal of optimization is to eliminate unnecessary complication, lower cost, and fine-tune processes. The continuous improvement requires cultural changes, leadership sponsorship, processes and practice development for identifying, assessing, preventing and resolving problems as well as reporting the successes.

Nonlinearity: Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fixing the symptom. Nonlinearity is an important ingredient in the systematic problem-solving formula because problem-solving based on linear logic or analytics only can sometimes cause more problems later on. Keep in mind, problems often do not exist in isolation, but as an interacting and interdependent system. Knowledge is no doubt important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context from a system perspective. Thus, problem-solving today has a very wide scope, intricated factors and needs to take an interdisciplinary approach. It’s critical to leverage Systems Thinking to gain in-depth knowledge about the interdependence of the problems, combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive solution to larger problems with less side effect.

The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum. There is no magic formula for problem-solving, With lightweight digital technologies, abundant information, and well-educated digital workforce, organizations should continue to learn, experiment, explore, figure out those crucial ingredients of problem-solving formula, build the problem-solving capacity and competency, and make a smooth transition from problem-solving conundrum to a solution-driven digital continuum.


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