3 Approaches to Systematic Problem Solving

At startups, we all are passionate about problem solving. Original ideas are hard though.

My biggest learning this year was, startups miss a process. As Andy Weissman has nicely put it:

So you need a framework, a set of first principles. That then guide your decision making and problem solving.”

I am often amazed how quickly the startup ecosystem is booming, although, collaboratively, are we solving the right problems? It’s hard to come up with an original idea. Most likely we come up with an idea that solves our problem. Does it solve a problem for anyone else?

They say that if you face a problem, most likely your problem was solved somewhere else. If I could save time and find a solution to my problem in less time, I’d like to do so. TRIZ framework promises to do just that.

TRIZ (or TIPS) Framework

The model says problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences. (I think so too!)

View more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ. 

The Disney Method

This strategy involves parallel thinking to analyse a problem, generate and evaluate ideas, construct and critique a plan of action.

When approaching a problem try adopting a new thinking style:

  1. Think as an Outsider to gain an analytical, external view of the challenge.
  2. Think as a Dreamer to brainstorm and to conceive creative and radical ideas.
  3. Think as a Realist to review ideas, select the best idea and construct a plan for it.
  4. Think as a Critic to review and improve the plan, to identify weaknesses, obstacles or risks.

If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” ~ A. Einstein.

Cynefin Framework

The name serves as a reminder that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both through the direct influence of personal experience, as well as through collective experience.

How do I approach problem solving?

I find myself coming up with questions, thoughts and ideas constantly. I probably am at the chaotic stage. Most of the ideas have one direction, they all are around knowledge sharing, learning, personal development. To find a solution, I started to use a simple framework F(X)=Y, where F equals my current resources, Y, my goal or desired outcome and X, actions I have to take to get there.

Have you thought about the steps of problem solving?

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