Monday, October 5, 2020

Innovative and intelligent Problem-Solving

More often than not, solving a complex problem today is a multi-stepped process and a multi-stage solution that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation. 

In the real world, due to hyper complexity and unprecedented uncertainty, problem-solving in the majority of organizations today is woefully inadequate, most people usually never question what is exactly the problem because "it's the way things should be." Often, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken to fix the symptom, but that is too early, and perhaps cause further problems later on. 

To frame the right problems and solve them innovatively, it’s important to continue pondering: What is the problem? Is that the right problem? What are possible solutions? Do they cause any side effects? Who are innovative problem-solvers? What are methodologies and practices to solve problems in an intelligent way? Etc. The problem-solving capability is perhaps one of the most differentiated competencies for today’s digital leaders and professionals

The brain ability to preliminarily understand the extent of any problem or condition: Framing the right problem is a half-way to solve it. The people with what being referred to as highly intelligent have a strong aptitude to understand the “complexity” of the given problem. In practice, too often, people may take the easy path, think and work at a superficial level rather than spend the time to understand what is going on underneath. Or they have a static mindset to get stuck at “the old way.” It’s no surprise to know that often the solution only fixes the symptom and even causes more problems later on. To put another way, the main issue about problem-solving is that, a lot of the time, the problem definition process is not implemented. Or there is a lack of structural processes suggested for defining and solving problems systematically. In hyper-connected and interdependent digital new normal, assessing and defining the problems is usually more important than solving the problem.

Some people can get the real problem effortlessly as opposed to others that can’t seem to get a grasp on the problem. It depends on our cognitive abilities to preliminarily understand the extent of any problem or condition. Intelligence is the quick and clear perception of any situation, plus ability to adjust to any circumstance. To frame the right problem, you need to step back, or get out of the box, being critical and creative at the same time. Look at the problem from a different angle or understand the issues via multi-disciplinary lenses, in order to get the “scope” of the problem, see a larger system with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals; provide the deep insight into the emergent properties, and gain an in-depth understanding of problems for solving them systematically.

“Connect the dots” to solve problems creatively: Running a business is technically an iterative problem-solving continuum. Individuals will be more innovative if they are encouraged to think creatively, and enjoy the problem-solving jigsaw puzzles. Cognitively, the brain’s ability to call on as many neural circuits, to “connect the dots” in the wider brain area, in order to solve the given problems creatively. “Out-of-the-box” problem-solvers usually can ask open questions such as “What If,” or “Why Not,” to stimulate deep brainstorming, embrace broad perspectives, collect relevant information, and connect wider dots, in order to think about alternative solutions. All of the above make the “out of box” problem-solving practice everything but simple.

Problem-solving is a mindset with curiosity, self-inclusiveness, creativity, and progression, which directly impacts the intellectual sophistication of problem-solving capability. It’s important to take a logical and stepwise approach to problem-solving, logic or process shouldn’t stifle creativity, but set the frame to streamline creative ideas flow. Creative problem-solvers enjoy understanding a variety of complexity, appreciate the interaction and interrelationship dynamic, and guide people through it; finding common ground and initiative dialogues. Creative problem-solving doesn’t lack logic, in fact, logic is the hidden thread behind creativity. It’s also important to establish the framework to apply creativity to problem-solving in an intelligent manner. Highly intelligent people master at how to turn around the tough situations, and enjoy the challenges of complex problem-solving.

Apply multidimensional intelligence to effective problem-solving in today’s business dynamic: Whether someone is intelligent or not depends entirely on what you are asking them to accomplish with their brain. There are all sorts of mindsets behind problem-solving; some are leading, some are lagging. There is as much creative thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking and system thinking that go into problem identification and solution-discovery. But be cautious of those "problem-creating" mindsets, such as silo thinking, polar thinking; non-critical thinking patterns, stereotypical thinking based on outdated perception, small thinking or static thinking, have a difficult time to solve tough problems for adapting to the new normal, and continue to argue “it’s impossible.”

In fact, either individually or collaboratively, multidimensional thinking is important to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems. In the business scope, high-performance business intelligence should accomplish the things such as, allowing businesses to interpret their past to better plan their future; allowing consolidation and segregation of data to provide an in-depth understanding; allowing deep and thorough data analysis; allowing people to ask interesting questions and expect to get complementary answers; assisting in prioritizing business problems or opportunities, and solving them in an intelligent manner.

Innovative and intelligent problem-solving requires taking an interdisciplinary lens to understand the interdependent pieces, and gain an accurate understanding of the overall situation sociologically, technologically, psychologically, economically, and anthropologically. More often than not, solving a complex problem today is a multi-stepped process and a multi-stage solution that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. The intention is not about finding the perfect solution but making progressive problem resolution.


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