Problem Solving Strategies:
A shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand
new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign
which read ‘BEST QUALITY’.
was horrified when another competitor opened up next door on his right,
and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading ‘LOWEST
The shopkeeper panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign
of all over his own shop. It read ‘MAIN ENTRANCE’
Invention of the Post-it note is a great example of ❶ turning a problem to
an opportunity, ❷ combining the unusual, and ❸
3M corporation had a problem with a glue it had invented.
Their scientists were attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive, but the glue did not produce the desired results.
It did not stick things
glue was considered to be a
failed product until Arthur Fry, a 3M
chemist and an inventor, found the way to turn the glue's disadvantage to an advantage.
Arthur Fry searched for such an application where a glue that didn't stick
too strongly would be appropriate. In particular, he thought of a
combining the glue with a bookmark, which is something that people want
to move from page to page. Fry began experimenting. Particularly, he coated
only one edge of the paper so that the portion extending from a book would
not be sticky. Fry used these stickers to write notes to his boss. This use
led him to broaden his original idea into a new application concept and
creation of a new-to-the-world product ‒ the Post-it note.
Arthur Fry discovered a great opportunity in a problem and helped
his company to turnaround a failing project. A "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive became the basis for the Post-it note, which was a huge success.
3M named Fry a corporate researcher in 1986.
Scott Cook was frustrated with the poor quality of software designed
to help him prepare
He decided to start a software company to fix the problem. His company
Intuit Inc. is now a multi-billion-dollar success story.
It provides business and financial
management solutions for
small and medium sized businesses
institutions, consumers, and accounting professionals.
Strategic Problem Solving Lessons from McKinsey
Pluck the Low-hanging Fruit
Sometimes in the middle of the problem-solving
process, opportunities arise to get an easy win, to make immediate
improvements, even before the overall problem has been solved.
Seize those opportunities! They create little
victories for you and your
team. They boost morale and give you
added credibility by showing anybody who may be watching that you’re on the
ball and mean business...
Dr. Alfredo Bataller Pineda, the founder
of SHA Wellness Clinic, turned his health problem into a great business