Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Perceptive Problem-Solving

Solving complex problems today requires perception intelligence, multidisciplinary knowledge, profound insight, enriched experiences, as well as taking an end-to-end response , a structural and an iterative approach.

Perception is the way that your eyes see the world and your mind interpret it. How you perceive the situation or the world depends on your cognitive abilities, knowledge, experiences, and capabilities, etc.  Thus, it’s personal. 

Due to exponential growth of information and continuous disruptions, more often than not, those existing or emergent problems also become more complex than ever. Thus, either individually or collectively, perceptive intelligence is crucial to define the right problems and solve them effectively.

Overcome bias caused by prepositioned perceptions in order to identify root causes of complex problems or frame the right problem to solve: Perception is an interpretation based on your own conditioning, cognitions, surroundings, or experiences, leading you to make judgments. There are all sorts of misperception symptoms such as stereotypical thinking or unconscious bias, preconceived ideas about how things should happen, seeing the trees but missing the forest, etc. Perception gaps will cause the blind spots when either defining the real problem or solving it smoothly. A solution is nothing if the real problem is not perceived. Without perception intelligence, people continue fixing symptoms but allow real problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, until they turn out to be fatal issues and become out-of-control.

To dig through, people’s perceptions reflect their thinking capacity - the breadth and depth of the cognitive understanding, as well as their mentality traits - positive vs. negative or egoless vs. egotism, etc. If you only know two colors - Black and White; then perceptions are filtered into one of those two dimensions. You can only know what you know, but there are more dimensions which you don’t know. Even if you have all the different angles to consider but the problem may look very differently depending on your perception. Distorted perceptions deepen misunderstanding and cause conflicts or unnecessary pain. In fact, solving complex problems today requires perception intelligence, multidisciplinary knowledge, profound insight, enriched experiences, as well as taking an end-to-end response and a structural and an iterative approach.

Great problem-solvers with perception intelligence are open-minded, learning agile, insightful, and masterful of independent thinking and real critical thinking: Even though everyone lives in actual reality, we experience actual reality through the filter of our personal realities. Sometimes out of date perception is like time glue that keeps you still while the rest of the world moves on with faster speed. People’s perception reflects who they are and which lens they apply to make the judgment of others. Every digital leader and professional needs to make an objective self-assessment: Can I perceive right and make sound judgments in most of time? Am I a conventional thinker or an innovator? Am I often part of the solution or part of the problem? To improve perception intelligence, do not always follow the conventional wisdom or preconceived opinions, be an independent and critical thinker without being excessively critical, continue updating knowledge and gain deep insight and empathy.

Also, in the industrial setting with a considerably static and silo environment and the scarcity of knowledge, the classic management practitioners often apply linear thinking with a set of linear skills, which imply cause and effect with no feedback. Problems today become complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of nonlinear processes and interactions. You can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interactions straightforwardly. Further, because of interconnectivity and the many potential options in a complex system, a small effect in one place can cause a cascade of events that produce a nonlinear big impact. While the linear logic helps to break down things to the pieces, it usually ignores the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, causing more side effects later on. Perception intelligence helps us to ask big why, dig into root causes, and leverage the right models to understand highly complex or nonlinear problem-solving scenarios. So solutions are made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking. It means that never think there is a short list of solutions you can pick from, and always be open to solving the problem in an alternative or better way.

Complex problems require high perception intelligence and a coordinate solution which requires integration of different sets of knowledge and fluency across multiple disciplines: Cognition can happen in many different ways and combinations. A perceptive mind is subjective but can be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception for solving problems collaboratively. The most important capability of the cognitive mind with high perception intelligence is the willingness and ability to seek out knowledge and address our ignorance and assumptions we make to minimize it. Collectively, perception intelligence can be improved via embracing cognitive differences and cultivating the culture of learning and creativity.

In reality, problem-solving in the majority of organizations today is woefully inadequate. Oftentimes, misperception is a common symptom, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken to fix the symptom, but that is too early. It will cause a higher risk of conflict and inertia, not something organizations want in a global business environment that demands innovation and speed. To improve problem solving competency in the emerging 'networked' collaborative organizational forms, understand that everyone plays a "piece of the pie" in collaborative problem-solving. Everyone has a voice and every voice carries weight. Always listen to the two sides of the story. If you stand at the right angle to see both sides, you know even they are different, but both hold part of truth in it. To have this happen reliably requires a bidirectional and reciprocal cycle of feedback, so recognize the real problem-solvers with perception excellence and encourage cross-domain communication and collaboration.

We live in a world where change is the norm and we confront a number of high complex problems. It’s a strategic imperative to overcome bias caused by prepositioned perceptions and embrace collective insight in order to frame the right problems and solve them effectively. Change is the new normal, if we don't embrace it, accept it, roll with it, or make it happen, we are outdated. When the collective perception is closer to the perception of the most advanced mind in the world, humans as the whole can accelerate the progress; if the opposite is true, unfortunately, the society still gets stuck in the outdated perception, far behind the digital era we are stepping in. So let real problem-solvers shine and inspire perceptive problem-solving to drive the seamless digital paradigm shift.


Post a Comment