Observation is the Key, The Problem is the Lock – Innovation Unlocks the Solution

“Observation” is the “key”.

Many times problems occur in front of us but we don’t catch them. Problems that have workarounds become invisible. Eventually it isn’t seen as a problem. One hard to use trick is to observe your own actions. It is much easier to recognize frustration from another’s comment than to see it in our own actions. Difficult to do but it also opens your viewpoint to observe the world more deeply. The effect is to question why things are done in a certain way.

When a co-worker or customer complains about a problem capture that issue. Bounce the problem around immediately. If the problem isn’t written down within five minutes it will probably be lost. Actionable problems are hard to discover so follow up with an Email to the customer or co-worker about the issue. Understand the viewpoint it was found from. Any solution found must meet their needs.

The “problem” is the” lock.”

Extrapolate the issue and describe the issue in a clear manner. Typically it will take multiple tries because the needed words/concepts might not be in your normal vocabulary. Describe the issue at the root. Do not solve the issue at this stage. The better you can describe the “concept” of the “problem” the more effective you will be at finding a solution.

“Innovation” unlocks the “solution”.

Now work with the extracted problem “concept”. The “innovation” needed to solve the problem does not work in a straight line. Expect bumps and dead ends. Write or draw any possible solutions. The method used to describe the possible solution is unique to every innovator and issue. Play with the innovation and record what was found. The approach should branch out in all directions. Explore the “concept” for where the solution might be. Change the parameters of the “problem” a bit.

The way to the solution might be blocked if it’s restricted to a single individual’s input. Bring together a small group (2 or 3 max!) to discuss the “concept”. More possible solutions will appear and the problem “concept” should be challenged. Reach into what needs done to solve the issue not how it needs done. When the written description describes in real terms what should be done to solve the issue you are on the path to an innovation. Then start looking for the how to for the solution.

“Observation” is the key. The “problem” is the lock. “Innovation” unlocks the “solution”.

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