Ways To Solve Problems

Play freely with the problem statement, rewording it several times.

For a methodic approach, take single words and substitute variations. Try replacing ‘increase’ with ‘attract’, ‘develop’, ‘extend’, ‘repeat’ and see how your perception of the problem changes.

The definition of the problem will be the focal point of all your problem-solving efforts.

As such, it makes sense to devote as much attention and dedication to problem definition as possible.

In order to make your problem more general, ask questions such as: .

Hypernyms are words that have a broader meaning than the given word. A great, free tool for finding hypernyms for a given word is Word Net (just search for a word and click on the ‘S:’ label before the word definitions).While such an assumption may seem true at first, try challenging it and maybe you’ll find some very interesting business models (such as one restaurant in which customers bring dish ideas for the chef to cook, for example).Each problem is a small piece of a greater problem.For example, if you own a business and are trying to ‘increase sales’, try to view this problem from the point of view of, say, a customer. Also, imagine how people in various roles would frame the problem. If the problem looks too dull for you, invest the time adding vigor to it while . One thing is ‘to create a personal development blog’, another completely different is to ’empower readers to live fully’.For example, from the customer’s viewpoint, this may be a matter of adding features to your product that one would be willing to pay more for. One trick that usually helps when you’re stuck with a problem is turning it on its head.The good news is that getting different perspectives and angles in order to clearly define a problem is a skill that can be learned and developed.As such, there are many strategies you can use to perfect it. When a Toyota executive asked employees to brainstorm “ways to increase their productivity”, all he got back were blank stares.Write a list and expose as many assumptions as you can — especially those that may seem the most obvious and ‘untouchable’.That, in itself, brings more clarity to the problem at hand.When he rephrased his request as “ways to make their jobs easier”, he could barely keep up with the amount of suggestions.Words carry strong implicit meaning and, as such, play a major role in how we perceive a problem.


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