How to Create Multiple Pathways for Problem-Solving

0 Posted by - 2nd October 2019 - Technology

Fundamentally, the business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem-framing and problem-solving continuum. There is no magic formula for problem-solving, With the increasing pace of changes and shortened knowledge cycle, the best practices are outdated sooner than ever and “commonly known” methodology could be no longer working anymore when the circumstances change. You can’t always wait for the "best" solution to emerge. It is important to experiment, explore, engage, and create multiple pathways to solve problems creatively. 

Seek out invaluable information: Information does not live alone but permeates everywhere in the businesses. Information Management is the means to an end, the end is all about problem-solving scientifically. Information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Thus, information flow enables creative problem-solving. The art and science of information management is to distinguish between data, information, content, context, connections, optimize its usage and achieve its value for critical problem-solving. What is needed to do is to develop a high-performing information management for diagnosing the root cause of some crucial business problems and solving them effectively. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic value of information. For complex problem-solving, the intrinsic value of information is about turning the most invaluable information and knowledge assets into precious insight to improve problem-solving effectiveness. The extrinsic value of information is to broaden varying perspectives ecologically, sociologically, or technologically, etc, for connecting wider dots in the digital business ecosystem to focus on information-based holistic problem- solving.

Make digital boundaries permeable: We are living in a complex world with continuous changes, that makes it impossible to have complete knowledge and understanding of many issues. Overly restrict boundary setting will cause silo thinking and create obstacles to effective problem-solving. The digital nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence makes it inevitable to break down the silo, The digital boundary is not for dividing, but permeable to enable information, ideas, and knowledge flow. Digital boundary is not static, but dynamic, we all bring different perspectives and our boundaries could change based on open dialogues, learning agility, and flexible approach to problem-solving. The digital boundary shouldn’t be set by personal interest only, but for effective and creative problem-solving. The digital boundary with fluidity is a necessity for knowledge and idea sharing, responsibility taking, flexibility enhancing, and efficiency achieving.

Re-frame the circumstances: In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, the problems become over-complex and interconnected. Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, understanding context and intangible variables, and seeing things from different angles to gain different perspectives. Problem-solving is both art and science. Art, design, science, and humanity are inter-connected. For either solving existing or emerging problems, it’s critical to recognize patterns, perceive invisible behind the scenes, be able to reframe circumstances, alter or change the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered business solutions. Often problem-solving ineffectiveness and failure are caused by “We always do things like that,” mentality, even circumstances are already changed a long time ago. Always be careful about examining the potential points of engagement, rather than jumping to the “we’ll fix this" mentality. Always challenge your own thinking or conventional wisdom by asking questions which often lead to discovering situations others do not see at first and create multiple pathways to figure out alternative solutions that achieve higher-than-expected results.

Tolerate messiness: Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of alignment. Thus, understanding human dynamics, relationship and systems do help to assess problems systematically and solve problems innovatively. Creative problem-solvers love debating, feel comfortable with creative tension, even love being wrong, and embrace failures. In practice, it takes open leadership to tolerate messiness, it takes courage to get out of conventional thinking box, and it takes digital management discipline to break down overly rigid hierarchy, silo systems and processes, static or negative culture, unchanging people, as well as all sorts of obstacles which stop digital flow and stifle innovation. To create multiple pathways for problem-solving, it’s critical to shoot the tangle for seeing from different angle, get out of conventional thinking box, strike the right balance of order and chaos, having enough failures and nurturing a creative environment that encourages learning and creative problem-solving.

Keep rules relevant and simple: Fundamentally, every work is to deal with problems big or small both from long-term perspectives or on a daily basis. it’s important to set guidelines or updated rules for navigating through the journey of complex problem-solving. Keep in mind though, the rule is not for limiting your imagination, but for framing the system to identify opportunities and mitigate risks. It’s critical to keep rules relevant and simple. To be creative, one would have to break down some old rules, as well as take risks to be perceived as unusual, strange, or misfit. In fact, thinking outside the box is all about "rule breaking"; the more "unruly" you are, the more creative you are. From problem-solving perspective, it’s important to apply simplicity as a management principle. The judicious application of simplicity helps people solve problems like creating a piece of art which is simple, abstract, and thought-provoking.

Creative problem-solving requires a seamless paradigm shift in thinking from "problem" stickiness and root-cause analysis towards discovering possibilities and creating multiple pathways. Solutions need to be made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking. It’s all in the attitude to explore the better way and develop a creative “problem-solving” mindset, and it needs to be nurtured properly.

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