Case Studies Focus on Problems vs. Focus on Solutions

When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn't work at zero gravity (Ink won't flow down to the writing surface). In order to solve this problem, they hired Andersen Consulting (Accenture today). It took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.

And what did Russians do.......................................??

The Russians used a Pencil !!!

So, learn to focus on solutions not on problems. "If you look at what you do not have in life, you don't have anything." "If you look at what you have in life, you have everything." Yet someone said "Focus on problem leads to inventions! and Focus on solution leads to discoveries."

Creative Problem Solving: Switching Perceptions

Solving Customer Problems

Don't look at customer problems as a necessary burden of business. See customer problems as a great opportunity instead. If you can resolve the problem quickly to the customer's satisfaction, you will strengthen the bond of trust with that customer, who will spread the good word to others... More

Selling Is Problem Solving

Case Studies Socratic Method

To solve a problem, brake it down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer you seek... More

Case Studies Prototyping at IDEO

Prototyping can help you tackle problems when you don't have the answers. "When the project is especially complex, prototyping is a way of making progress when the challenges seem insurmountable. Focused prototyping helps resolve little critical problems one by one. Once you get in gear, you'll be surprised at how easily some of the solutions appear," writes Tom Kelly5 from IDEO.



Case Studies STRIDES Problem Solving Model

The STRIDES model was developed by the Quality Support Council of Fidelity Investments. This model provides employees in every part of the corporation with a common language and process for implementing Kaizen – a strategy of continuous improvement. At Fidelity Investments Kaizen involves recognizing problems and needs, rather than denying them, so they can be addressed.

As stated in Fidelity's Models for Quality Improvement, STRIDES is the approach to use "where the problem is more complex."

S – Situation: "Where are we now?"

T – Target:: "Where do we want to be?"

R – Research: "What research do we need?"

I – Implementation Plan: "What is our plan?"

D – Do it!: "Let's do it!"

E – Evaluate: "What's working? What's not?"

S – Standardize: "How will we standardize?" 

Case Studies Strategic Problem Solving Lessons from McKinsey

Make a Chart Every Day

During the problem-solving process, you learn something new every day.

Put it down on paper. It will help you push your thinking Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book. You may use it, or you may not, but once you have crystallized it on the page, you won’t forget it... More

Case Studies Canon Production System (CPS)

Using the 9-part classification for dealing with waste helps employees become problem-conscious... More


Case Studies GE Work-Out

“Work-Out” is GE’s highly successful technique for solving organizational problems very quickly.  >>>

In three-day sessions, participants break problems into two categories: rattlers and pythons... More

Case Studies Problem Solving Process at Toyota

The process of becoming a learning organization involves criticizing every aspect of what one does. The general problem solving technique to determine the root cause of a problem includes:

  1. Initial problem perception

  2. Clarify the problem

  3. Locate area/point of cause

  4. Investigate root cause (5 whys)

  5. Countermeasure

  6. Evaluate

  7. Standardize... More

Case Studies Five-Why Process

Five Whys is a simple but great technique to use to solve problems. It really gets people involved using their brains and challenging the ‘status quo.’

In most situation, real problems and root causes are obscured by apparent problems. The intent of the "Five-Why" procedure is to assure that the route causes and not merely superficial symptoms are corrected. The "Five-Why Process" was introduced at Toyota to find solution to manufacturing problems, but this approach can be applied to any other area as well.  Ask "Why this problem happened?" to discover its underlying problem; then ask "Why?" again to go deeper by another level until you reach the root cause. Asking "why" repeatedly, possibly more than five times, directs the focus toward real causes so problems can be solved permanently... More

4 WHYs of True Success