Friday, July 30, 2021

Completeness in Solution Strategy

For every existing or emerging problem, we need to contemplate the varying causes behind it; for each problem that is worth the effort, we should ponder multiple solutions to solve it elegantly.

Given the complexity and uncertainty of the digital business world and given the challenges of hyper-connected and interdependent dynamic ecosystems, business strategy management today is usually dynamic and has a lot of moving parts; you cannot pre plan everything, as emerging opportunities and risks keep evolving. It’s important to set the right priorities to solve well defined problems and it’s crucial to lay multiple action scenarios through an architectural lens.

Complex problems can be broken down to smaller ones, and every problem perhaps has multiple solutions. Sometimes you solve one issue, but cause another one or a few more. Can solutions to strategic problems be ever completed? What's the business logic to solving them effectively, is business architecture an effective tool to guide you through in shaping/overseeing solution strategy for improving the success rate of execution?

Scrutinizing the strategy and solving problems really matters: It is a continuously changing world with high velocity and unprecedented emergence is inherent in every venture of the business. Enhancing a healthy strategy management cycle is about setting the right course and pace to solve problems effectively. However, many organizations are inundated with too many issues: Some problems are the symptom; other problems seem irrational as they are caused by people’s emotional reaction to a set of circumstances. There’s the problem that the same word means different things to different people. No wonder they often get stuck at the state of “problem-solving impasse,” and suffer from strategy execution fatigue. Nowadays, no organization can afford to stick to its old ways of problem-solving and continue tolerating “incomplete solutions” without asking why and pondering a “solution strategy” for improving business effectiveness.

In reality, most organizations are overloaded and understaffed, organizational leaders need to keep scrutinizing their existing strategy, and business objectives to determine which problems are critical to solving and which competencies are crucial to implementing the strategy; whether they have allocated their resources and time carefully and solve problems that really matter. They don’t set priority in a vacuum, but open the dialogues to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps, go across the territories for collaboration. To come up with a logical solution strategy: First, identify the critical business problem and eliminate all non-relevant perspectives. Next, identify all relevant guided principles with regard to the business problem at hand. The combination of all guided principles defines a solution space for the business problem you are trying to tackle. At this moment in time, the prerequisites for the solution are widely known.

Through the architectural lens, solutions should only be complete enough to define and plan the solution strategies:
Many problems today are complex and interdependent with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals. Multi-dimension and complexity are two key factors in the intrigues of large problems. There are no unsolvable problems, but there are complex problems that are those you cannot solve with given resources, knowledge and capabilities. And there is frustration if there is a lack of a solution strategy that helps to enforce logic and validate methodology.

Businesses are attempting to create, and improve the solution effectiveness of many strategic problems. Completeness is relative to the organization that is served by the enterprise architecture for defining a comprehensive planning, having identified and vetted solutions to all of the most significant challenges that the enterprise faces and that business processes, capability or systems can help to solve. Some or many solve certain problems in a certain area but create other problems in the other domains. Capability mapping can be an enormous help in understanding and prioritizing strategic problem-solving; allowing you to prioritize and focus on the “bigger picture,” and enabling strategic problem-solving. With the increasing pace of changes, new problems keep emerging, dynamic capabilities are the strategic routines by which businesses achieve new resource configurations as markets emerge, collide, split, evolve, etc. They are complex in design, requiring cross-functional collaboration, embedding agility into processes for enabling a solution strategy and shortening the cycle of multiplexes of problem-solving.

Orchestrating multiple solutions: For every existing or emerging problem, we need to contemplate the varying causes behind it; for each problem that is worth the effort, we should ponder multiple solutions to solve it elegantly-technically speaking, without too many side effects and spur innovation and boost positive morality. An effective solution strategy helps to address the pros and cons of each solution, make a distinction between obvious solutions and out-of-the-box solutions; and apply nonlinear logic to clarify cause-effect seamlessly. It involves multidimensional thinking processes such as critical thinking, strategic thinking, design thinking, strategic thinking, etc, to understand context and intangible variables, designing solution models, analyzing cost and benefit, and finding real solutions with amorphous options that delight customers and benefit communities/societies.

Besides “hard capability,” there is a soft culture factor for shaping a solution strategy. In order to cultivate a solution-focused culture, assess where the organization is regarding the impending change. Set a realistic timeline and some measurable outcomes. Look for creative, cost-effective opportunities to develop cross-functional teams for solving problems alternatively; bring together people who would not typically have the opportunity to communicate in the day-to-day operations. In practice, use an out-of-the-box method to identify unconventional solutions, and compare it to obvious solutions. Cross balance all comments into the solutions and you have probably touched all possible solutions. Orchestrating multiple solutions can spur innovation and harness partnership. With open-mildness and flexibility, two diametrically opposed parties sometimes end up working together on a solution that suits them both.

There is “completeness” in problem-solving if we can understand and scrutinize via a strategic lens and measure its effect objectively without ignoring the potential problems it might cause at the tactical level. Not to mention it sometimes brings more opportunities for growth and innovation. If it’s truly incomplete, we can always continue the journey to make improvements. Therefore, strategic oversight of problem solving is a crucial step in making sound judgement. The point is that humans should all have some humility and recognize the limitations of their expertise and partner them with the other experts to apply inferential logic for problem-solving and executing good strategies collaboratively.


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