Monday, January 24, 2022


Problem-solving evolves both big picture and detail. More often than not, solutions to complex problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse.

Many problems today are complex and interdependent. Every complex problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem. In today’s hyper-connected and interdependent business world, some complex problems are perhaps like snowballs, keep growing. 

As problems exist not in isolation, but as an interacting system of problems. 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. There is the opportunity you can take care of a chain of problems, not just an individual problem. Can solutions to strategic problems be ever completed? What does completeness mean from a solution architecture perspective, how to figure out the best possible solution to solve problems radically?

“Completeness” is not equal to “done”: Problem-solving is a multi-stepped process that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation. The completeness of problem-solving is relative to the organization that is served by the solution architecture. Solution architecture as a framework provides processes, guidelines and best practices to walk through the solution scenario by clarifying: Where do you need solution framework and guidance? What are optimized processes, practical methodologies and best practices to solve problems? How to handle different stages of problem-solving with attention and proficiency to ensure success? There is “completeness” in problem-solving if you 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.

In most cases, your solution is not complete as you don't understand your business environment, because you have never looked outside the boundary of the problem. Thus, you often ignore the interdependence of seemingly different problems. Not to mention it sometimes brings more opportunities for growth and innovation when broadening or deepening the understanding of problems you intend to solve. It is important to discover the containing system has social, technological, ecological, economic and political elements and you must advance the development of all of these factors in order to solve problems creatively and systematically. If it’s truly incomplete, you can always continue the journey of problem-solving to make improvements.

“Completeness” in problem-solving is not necessarily "complete solution," but customer-tailored, best possible solutions: The digital era upon us is about people centricity based on empathetic understanding, choice-providing and innovation. With increasing pace of changes and continuous digital disruptions, the practices that are "best" today are almost always not "best" in the future since practices, as well as technologies and markets, are constantly morphing under pressure. If complete solutions do not always exist, the best possible solutions would be more people-centric. Everybody talks about customer experience these days, vendors are no exception, how to design, not necessary "complete solution," but customer-tailored, "grade" or "range" best possible solutions, each with different results, budgets and risk profile, help customers overcome real business obstacles or add value; that's the key to building up a successful business.

Mutual trust is built via two-way communication and professional interaction. The buyer's long-term goals are accurately represented internally at the seller. The seller's capabilities to fulfill said goals are also accurately stated. Other expectations are managed successfully. The appropriate resources can be quickly marshaled on both sides in the event that something occurs requiring remediation. The vendor can actually help customers surface and resolve their internal conflicts. Both Customers & vendors have to walk into any major transformation initiatives with their eyes wide open, fully expecting to apply changes as they move forward. A good vendor focuses on processes, and there's always an opportunity for improvement, not for perfection but to make continuous improvement.

Solution architecture should be used in developing structural business "solutions," not necessarily complete:
Problem-solving is a multi-stepped process that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation in a structural way. There is a lack of structural processes suggested for defining and solving problems systematically. So many people do not know how to connect the dots cross disciplinarily, nor think inclusively, nor comprehend dynamics, induction or deduction, nor understand expensive variables, interfaces, and interactions. Solution architectures should be used in developing structural business "solutions," not necessarily complete, but structural to fix the problem without causing too many other issues.

The comprehensive understanding of a complex business problem requires both cross-domain knowledge and breakdown of the silo mentality, leverage different thought processes to define problems analytically or solve problems systematically. An effective solution architecture can help problem-solvers walk through the generalization-specialization scenario, challenge automatic assumptions that something needs fixing, slow down the mentality of “jumping-into-how,” combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive solution to larger problems with less side effects. 

Problem-solving evolves both big picture and detail. More often than not, solutions to complex problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse. The intention to solve complex problems is not about finding the perfect solution but making progressive problem resolution, increasing the influence and being part of the solutions. So completeness is not a destiny, but a journey of pursuing the best possible solutions.


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