There is a single question that I'm asked over and over again. "Why do businesses continue to use the same tired, ineffective and frustrating processes to solve their problems when they just don't seem to work?" The answer that I give is simple.
They continue to use these ineffective techniques because they just don't have a better way.
It seems that many business teams will use a "Vanity Metric" to convince themselves that they've been successful. This vanity metric can be described as "more equals more". In other words, the more ideas they have or the more possible solutions that they generate is an accurate measure of how successful they have been.
But "another problem solving session with lots of ideas that go nowhere" is not only a frustrating waste of time: your business has lost a critical opportunity to out think and outperform your competition.
Brilliant teams stretch their creativity, innovation and invention by leveraging their constraints
Having more ideas, in of itself, does not solve the problem. Brilliant teams begin their problem solving process by first understanding their limitations (time, people, capital, etc.).
They trust that better solutions will come from acknowledging these constraints. They don't aim for a bigger target, they know how to stretch within a smaller target.
Simply put, constraints force them to stretch in brilliant ways (see the Time.com profile of Scott Sonenshein's new book STRETCH). It's something like being a brilliant "pantry chef" who can create a delicious meal made only with what happens to be on the shelf.
I invite you to consider these three simple tactics for brilliant and successful problem solving results:
#1. Insist that your management approves the tightest brief possible for your team's charter. Management must ratify the following:
* What is the exact problem you are trying to solve?
* What are the 5 "success criteria" for your deliverable?
* Where are the 7 "highest opportunity" areas to explore?
#2. With your brief in hand invite those already within reach from across your organization to form the team.
* Include people with different backgrounds, skill sets, attitudes and experiences.
* Often it is the novice not the expert who sees the novel solution.
#3. Work to make the number of possible solutions smaller and smaller until you identify the one single solution that best meets your brief.