There’s a lot of thinking that goes into finding and solving major business problems. Too often, businesses hustle to pinpoint any possible cause, instead of taking the time to analyze the bigger picture to find the root cause. Even when the root cause is found, if an inadequate solution is built, it won’t truly address the needs of the people. These tendencies are why teaching disciplines like Systems and Design thinking need to be adopted into everyday problem-solving.
Systems Thinking- Finding the real problem
Most businesses unknowingly address problems with a mechanistic style of thinking, meaning that the focus has been more on the symptoms rather than the cause. While this style of problem-solving may serve as a temporary relief or recipe for short-term gain, it minimizes the ability to see long-term impacts. The close-mindedness of this traditional thinking also tends to lead people to assume they are not the cause of their problems and potential re-occurrences.
Systems Thinking: Understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system.
Approaching a problem with a systems thinking mentality allows for the whole to be assessed before specific solutions are explored. This makes it is much easier to identify the root cause and determine the best plan-of-action for a long-term fix instead of just putting a band-aid on the problem. It also forces people to understand that the problem may arise from multiple causes and factors. By using systems thinking to explore various solutions, the trade-offs for each are assessed, and the best perception of the current reality is attained.
After developing a thorough understanding of the problem’s cause, it’s important that the right solution is developed to alleviate it.
Design Thinking- Building the right solution
Design thinking is a mode of solution building that is rooted in learning from people, patterns, and principles to find tangible and practical solutions. Design thinking can be applied to products, training, processes and behavior change. By first researching and empathizing with the people, the designer’s point of view becomes based on user insights. Thinking in this manner allows for “out of the box” ideas to be explored so that the best solution is identified.
Design Thinking: Uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.
Design thinking also forces feedback to be integrated into the design process. This allows for solutions to be continually grounded in people’s wants and needs, even after the first version of the designed solution has been introduced.
By using systems thinking to locate the root cause of problems in order to create human-centered solutions based on design thinking, you are able to find and provide a long-term remedy for virtually any issue. To see a real-life example of how SDI has been applying these problem-solution methods, check out a case study!
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