Monday, February 10, 2020

Problem Solving With Intentional Novelty

The more complex the situation is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for understanding and inject novelty, study the choices and select the best possible implementable alternative. 

Fundamentally either running a business or living life is an iterative problem-solving continuum. There are strategic problem solving from a long term perspective and tactical problem solving on a daily basis.

Problem Solving with intentional novelty is about how to think unconventionally or from a new perspective, frame and solve problems creatively. In the business world, you can't always wait for the "best" solution to emerge. It is important to experiment, explore, and encourage a new way to understand tough issues and deal with them in an innovative manner.

Develop a framework to apply creativity for problem-solving in an intelligent manner: The digital era upon us is about hyper-connectivity and interdependence. There are no isolated problems, more often than not, you have to deal with the chain of problems with fewer side effects. It’s also important to diagnose the root cause behind the symptom and solve the real problem in a structural way. Thus, effective problem-solving masters can leverage a well-established framework to apply creativity, generate a variety of options for dealing with problems elegantly and solve them radically.

A well-designed framework helps to reframe circumstances, recognize patterns, alter or change the frame of reference to develop systemic solutions to deal with human and social concerns in a structural way. There is more flow of creative ideas, the more it happens, the more patterns you discover, the more alternative solutions could emerge. Problem-solving with intentional novelty is to apply interdisciplinarity such as art, design, science, and humanity, etc, to develop a previously unconsidered solution which can be sustained in the system of people, to put another way, practice people-centric problem-solving.

Create multiple pathways to solve problems innovatively: As we move forward towards more radical digital transformation with nonlinearity, the problems become over-complex and interconnected, solutions need to be made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking. In the "VUCA' digital new normal with the exponential growth of information and knowledge are only clicks away, the problem often leads to opportunities because they challenge us to address something that is not working before. Thus, there is a seamless shift in discovering possibilities and creating multiple pathways to solve problems via interactions, associations, and expansions, etc, a wave pattern of consolidating and integrating ideas to come up with a cohesive solution.

In reality, conventional problem solving often gets stuck with “we always do things like that” mentality. With the increasing pace of changes, frequent disruptions and shortened knowledge cycle, the best practices are outdated sooner than ever and “commonly known” methodology is no longer working anymore when the circumstances change. Thus, change, creativity, problem-solving are all interwoven factors in developing an innovative problem-solving scenario - a streamlined process of deduction to derive a solution drawing from knowledge, experience, and out-of-the-box creativity.

Identify problem-solving masters: People who can solve problems in a new way are innovators. Problem-solving masters can unlock their creativity, they are open-minded to ensure ideas are heard, not slapped down; tear down the mental barriers they have, liberate imaginations, and tap into their inherent abilities to solve problems with intentional novelty. Creative and methodical problem-solvers demonstrate the courage to leave inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional resources, update knowledge, and embrace alternative solutions.

From a talent management perspective, it’s important to nurture a creative working environment in which the entrepreneurial spirit is inspired, people are encouraged to practice creative thinking, broaden diverse thoughts and connect wider dots for coming up with alternative solutions to tough problems. The majority of people can solve certain problems, but often become part of other problems. The true problem-solving masters have a unique insight to avoid pitfalls, see through the issues, look around and beneath the corner, amplify influence and build a reputation as a great problem solver.

As businesses and the world move deeper and deeper into the digital world of VUCA -volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. There is as much creative thinking that goes into problem identification as solution discovering. The more complex the situation is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for understanding and inject novelty, study the choices and select the best possible implementable alternative.


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