As we have laid the foundation by understanding the importance of root cause analysis, it's time to take a look at solving problems with a spark of ingenuity.
Why is creativity in problem solving important? The answer lies in the complexity of challenges that defy conventional solutions. While familiar problems often come with straightforward answers, it's the enigmatic issues that refuse to yield that demand a creative touch. Creative problem solving is not an open field where anything goes; it's a structured playground where thought processes are practiced to enable us to discover solutions beyond the unexpected. In this and the next article, I will share a repertoire of thought processes I've learned as a consultant, ones that have kindled fresh perspectives in the face of adversity.
At the heart of creative problem solving lies "Framework Thinking." This approach serves as a beacon for strategy consultants navigating uncharted territories. Picture yourself as the newly appointed CEO of a supermarket chain that's delving into credit card issuance. The world of credit cards is unfamiliar, yet you're tasked with its stewardship. How do you bridge this knowledge gap? Framework thinking offers a solution. Begin by sketching an outline, starting with business revenue—an equation of quantity and price. With this outline you may discover how customers, fees, and interest charges ( Number of Customers x Card Fees and Number of Customers x Interest Charges) are relevant to the revenue of this new business you will be managing, thereby revealing the essence of the credit card business. Framework thinking is like a compass allowing you to navigate confidently and sensibly.
Next, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, also known as TRIZ. A key principle of TRIZ is transforming specific problems into abstract, generic ones. Imagine being thrust into the role of launching your company's website, despite having no prior experience in web design. Applying the TRIZ method, we reimagine the challenge with a question "how do we guide individuals in unfamiliar geographical territories?" The art of offering directions mirrors the intricacies of creating user interfaces for seamless navigation. This transformation of perspective sets the stage for creative solutions that transcend traditional boundaries.
Next week, let us unfold two more techniques for creative problem solving: the Morphological Approach and Design Thinking.