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1. Problem solving is not just fixing things that are wrong or broken

It seems obvious, ‘problem solving is what it says on the tin – solving a problem’.  That of course depends upon what your definition of problem is.  In a business context the problem solving process should be applied to more than just fixing something that is wrong or broken and for that reason I prefer the definition ‘Problem solving is finding and implementing a solution that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be.’

A technical, broken / not working example is:

  • Starting  situation – ‘The machine tool has stopped working’.
  • Desired situation – ‘The machine tool is working’.
  • Find a solution to –‘How to fix the machine tool so that it is working correctly?’

However, given the wider definition the problem solving process could also be applied to business issues such as ‘How to remove 20% of cost from the order processing process?’ or, more strategically, ‘How to move from being a market follower to market leader in the XXX market?’

Seventy percent of business performance programmes fail to achieve the desired results. Applying a creative problem solving process to these business performance issues improves results significantly.

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