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jerryking : problem_framing   27

To Be a Better Leader, Ask Better Questions
May 9, 2019 | WSJ | By Hal Gregersen. Dr. Gregersen is executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of “Questions Are the Answer.”

1. Understand what kinds of questions spark creative thinking. The best questions really knock down barriers to creative thinking and channel energy down new, more productive pathways. A question that does has five traits. It reframes the problem. It intrigues the imagination. It invites others’ thinking. It opens up space for different answers. And it’s nonaggressive—not posed to embarrass, humiliate or assert power over the other party. Ask employees: “What are you wrestling with and how can I help?” Ask customers and supply-chain partners: “If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing differently than what you see us doing today?”
2. Create the habit of asking questions. in the early stages of building your questioning capacity, it’s helpful to start by copying other people’s questions. It’s the equivalent of practicing your scales. Once you’ve got the scales down, you can start to improvise..... management thinker Peter Drucker, liked to jump-start strategic thinking by asking: “What changes have recently happened that don’t fit ‘what everyone knows’ ”?

Another example: A leader in a consumer packaged-goods company constantly asks: “What more can we do to delight the customer at the point of purchase? And what more to delight them at the point of consumption?”......builds the habit of thinking in questions, which, in turn, leads to daily inquiry about matters large and small, and an organization that keeps pushing its competitive advantages forward.
3. Fuel that habit by making yourself generate new questions...... generate new and better questions, not to cap your questioning career at the level of playing flawless scales.
4. Respond with the power of the pause. When someone comes to you with a problem, don’t immediately respond with an answer. ........Instead, make it your habit to respond with a question—ideally one that reframes the problem, but at least one that draws out more of your colleague’s thoughts on the matter. ....not talking about the cop-out rejoinder of, “Well, what do YOU think we should do?” Help the person think through how the decision should be made, with questions like: “What are we optimizing for?” “What’s the most important thing we have to achieve with whatever direction we take?” Or: “What makes this decision so hard? What problem felt like this in the past?” You'll be teaching your colleagues the value of pausing to get the question right before rushing to the answer. And nine times out of 10, you’re going to wind up with a better answer than the one you would have blurted out with less deliberation.
5. Brainstorm for questions. Whenever you/ your team finds itself at an impasse, or there is a sense that some insight is eluding you regarding a problem or opportunity, just stop and spend four minutes generating nothing but questions about it--question bursts. Don’t spend a second answering the questions, or explaining why you posed a certain one. As in brainstorming, go for high volume and do no editing in progress. See if you can generate at least 15-20.
6. Reward your questioners. Bosses should reconceive what their primary job is. They aren’t there to come up with today’s best answers, or even just to get their teams to come up with them. Their job is to build their organization’s capacity for constant innovation.
Their enterprise’s future—and their own career trajectory—depends on their resolve to ask better questions.
books  brainstorming  competitive_advantage  creativity  creative_thinking  follow-up_questions  habits  imagination  innovation  leaders  nonaggressive  organizational_capacity  Peter_Drucker  Philip_Mudd  power_of_the_pause  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  strategic_thinking 
may 2019 by jerryking
Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97 - The New York Times
By Julian E. Barnes
March 26, 2019

Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon strategist who helped shape U.S. military thinking on the Soviet Union, China and other global competitors for more than four decades, has died. He was 97. Mr. Marshall, as director of the Office of Net Assessment, was the secretive futurist of the Pentagon, a long-range thinker who prodded and inspired secretaries of defense and high-level policymakers.......Marshall was revered in the DoD as a mysterious Yoda-like figure who embodied an exceptionally long institutional memory.......... Marshall's view of China as a potential strategic adversary, an idea now at the heart of national defense strategy....Through his many hires and Pentagon grants..... Mr. Marshall trained a coterie of experts and strategists in Washington and beyond.....he cultivated thinking that looked beyond the nation’s immediate problems and sought to press military leaders to approach long-term challenges differently......His gift was the framing of the question, the discovery of the critical question..... always picking the least studied and most strategically significant subjects....Marshall’s career as a strategic thinker began in 1949 at the RAND Corporation, where his theory of competitive strategies took root. Borrowing from business school theories of how corporations compete against each other, Mr. Marshall argued that nations are also in strategic competition with one another. “His favorite example was if you can pit your strengths against someone else’s weakness and get them to respond in a way that makes them weaker and weaker, you can put them out of business without ever fighting,”....He had early insight into the economic troubles the Soviet Union was having, and helped develop strategies to exacerbate those problems and help bring about the demise of the Soviet Union....In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
adversaries  assessments_&_evaluations  China  China_rising  classified  economists  éminence_grise  future  futurists  inspiration  institutional_memory  long-range  long-term  obituaries  Pentagon  policymakers  problem_framing  RAND  rising_powers  Robert_Gates  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  threats  trailblazers  uChicago 
march 2019 by jerryking
Using Digital Tools to Move a Candy Company Into the Future - The New York Times
As told to Patricia R. Olsen
Sept. 21, 2018

explore the ways in which we can take advantage of new technologies and tools, such as artificial intelligence; how we should experiment; and whether we are even looking at the right problems. Mars is based in McLean, Va.,...... Part of my work involves prototyping, such as growing peanut plants in a fish tank using digital automation — without human intervention. To do this, I worked with a few colleagues in Mount Olive, N.J., a unit that I’m part of, though I don’t work there all the time. We implemented an automated watering and fertilizing schedule to see how the plants would grow.

We don’t only produce candy. We also offer pet care expertise and produce pet food and human food, like Uncle Ben’s Rice. With the peanut plants, we wanted to see if we could learn anything for partnering with our farmers, everything from how we might use technology to how a team comes together and tries different ideas.
career_paths  digital_strategies  Mars  women  CPG  confectionery_industry  artificial_intelligence  experimentation  howto  pets  problem_framing  problem_definition  prototyping  future  automation  human_intervention  worthwhile_problems 
september 2018 by jerryking
Reading with intention can change your life
May 03, 2016 | Quartz | WRITTEN BY Jory Mackay.

Warren Buffett, who says he spends 80% of his time reading and writing, attributes a huge amount of his success to a single book: The Intelligent Investor, by his mentor Benjamin Graham. For Malcolm Gladwell, it was Richard Nisbett’s The Person and the Situation that inspired his string of New York Times bestselling books. These are what economist Tyler Cowen calls “quake books”—pieces of writing that are so powerful they shake up your entire worldview......As author and avid reader Ryan Holiday explains: “Whatever problem you’re struggling with is probably addressed in some book somewhere written by someone a lot smarter than you.” [JCK: Don't Reinvent the Wheel]

Every story has been experienced, recorded, and published by someone at some point in time. Beyond just stories, books provide life lessons—a set of proven theories and anecdotes that you can apply to your own life.“.........

Often we're ok with the why of reading, but what about the how? Too often we get through a book, flip the last page, sit back, and think, “What the hell did I just read?” Reading and being able to use what you’ve read are completely different things......Without purpose and intention, the ideas sparked while reading easily slip away. .......Having a clear question in mind or a topic you’re focusing on can make all the difference in helping you to remember and recall information. While this can be as easy as defining a subject to look into beforehand, if time is no object here’s how to effectively “hack” your brain into being impressed with the subject matter:

Before reading
Ruin the ending. Read reviews and summaries of the work. You’re trying to learn why something happened, so the what is secondary. Frame your reading with knowledge around the subject and perspective of what’s being said and how it relates to the larger topic.

During reading
As you read, have a specific purpose in mind and stick to it. Don’t let your mind be the river that sweeps your thoughts away as you read. Be a ruthless notetaker. Your librarian might kill you for this, but using a technique such as marginalia (writing notes in the margin and marking up key patterns for follow ups), will make you a more active reader and help lock information in your memory.

After reading
Engage with the material. Write a summary or analysis of the main ideas you want to recall or use, research supporting topics and ideas noting how they connect with what you’ve read, and then present, discuss, or write about your final ideas.

Make associations with what you already know
Repeat, revisit, and re-engage
5_W’s  cross-pollination  deep_learning  hacks  high-impact  howto  intentionality  life-changing  memorization  mental_maps  note_taking  problem_definition  problem_framing  productivity  purpose  questions  reading  reinventing_the_wheel  Ryan_Holiday  tips 
may 2018 by jerryking
Getting smarter, knowing less
March 16, 2018 | FT | by Robert Armstrong.

The point is that for me, and perhaps most people, the main barrier to being smart is not what we do not know. It is the masses of things we know and mistakenly believe to be relevant.

My wife and I have been thinking about the next stage of our kids’ education. Being central-casting middle-class professional types, we hired an educational consultant to talk us through a range of state schools. She provided briefings about each school, crammed with facts about test scores, teacher turnover, class sizes, and so on.

Feeling slightly dizzy, I asked which bits I should pay attention to. She responded — with glorious honesty for someone being paid by the hour — that there was only one piece of information that really mattered: how many students are late or absent on a regular basis. If a school is the kind of place where almost everybody shows up and shows up on time, then it is the kind of place where kids and teachers can achieve a lot together. The rest is noise.

That comment made me smarter, not because it was a surprising revelation but because it allowed me to clear a lot of junk out of my head — and avoid putting a lot more junk into it. What we all need is the cognitive equivalent of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, who can help us to go into our own heads and throw out all the beliefs that have outlived their usefulness.
decluttering  problem_framing  signals  noise  information_overload  questions  smart_people  incisiveness  education  schools  pretense_of_knowledge  pay_attention  what_really_matters  work_smarter 
march 2018 by jerryking
Should You Buy Bitcoin? Ask a Different Question First
JAN. 5, 2018 | The New York Times | By CARL RICHARDS.

Goals >> Process >> Investments

asking if we should all buy Bitcoin is the wrong question, and that we should ask a different one instead. The question we should be asking ourselves is this: Does buying Bitcoin fit into my investment plan?

That is a much more important question and one that we can all answer much more easily. It places the attention on the process of investing correctly and not on the outcome of events that we have no control over.
Bitcoin  investing  personal_finance  questions  Philip_Mudd  problem_framing 
january 2018 by jerryking
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions | The future of business
05.28.15 | Fast Company | BY STEPHANIE VOZZA.
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions
A five-step decision-making process from a man who spent 25 years making life-and-death decisions.
(1) Question
(2) Drivers
(3) Metrics
(4) Data
(5) What's Missing/Blind Spots

1. FIND THE REAL QUESTION
Questions are NOT self-evident, says Mudd. Focusing on better questions up front yields better answers later.
“Good questions are hard to come up with,” he says. Delay data gathering and the conclusions.... think about exactly what it is we want to know..... Start with what you’re trying to accomplish and work your way back, instead of moving forward and making conclusions. The right question provides a decision advantage to the person at the head of the table.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR “DRIVERS”
Break down complex questions into characteristics or “drivers.” This approach gives you a way to manage data.
For example, sort data on Al Qaeda into information baskets that included money, recruits, leadership, communications, training, and access to weapons. When information flows in, rather than adding it to one unmanageable pile, sorting through it periodically, and offering a recitation of what appears to be relevant from the most recent stuff you’ve seen, file each bit into one of your baskets. Limit your drivers to 10.

3. DECIDE ON YOUR METRICS
Identify the metrics you’ll use to measure how the problem and solution are evolving over time.
What are the right metrics?
What are the new information sources and metrics?
Compare your thought process to the training process of an Olympic sprinter who measures success in hundredths of a second. “If we don’t, the analysis we provide will suffer the same fate as a sprinter who thinks he’s great but has never owned a stopwatch: he enters an elite competition, and reality intervenes,” Metrics provide a “mind mirror”–a system for judging your decisions. It provides a foundation for coming back to the table and assessing the process for success.

4. COLLECT THE DATA
Once you’ve built the framework that will help you make the hard decision, it’s time to gather the data. Overcome data overload by plugging data into their driver categories and excising anything that doesn’t fit. “Too much data might provide a false sense of security, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to clearer analytic decision making,”

Avoud intuition. It’s dangerous. Aggressively question the validity of your data. Once you have your data sorted, give yourself a grade that represents your confidence in assessing your question.

5. LOOK FOR WHAT’S MISSING
Complex analysis isn’t easy. Assume that the process is flawed and check for gaps and errors. Three common stumbling blocks are:

Availability bias: The instinct to rely on what you know or what has been most recently in the news.
Halo effect: When you write off the negative characteristics because you’re mesmerized by the positive attributes.
Intuitive versus analytic methodologies: when you go with your gut. Relying on intuition is dangerous.

Mudd says making complex decisions is hard work. “It’s a lot of fun to be an expert who bases their ideas on history and not a lot of fun to be an analyst who must always be assessing potential scenarios,” he says. “Every time you go into a problem, and before you rip into data, ask yourself, ‘Am I sure where I’m heading?’”
asking_the_right_questions  availability_bias  biases  decision_making  false_sense_of_security  gut_feelings  halo_effects  hard_choices  intuition  intelligence_analysts  life-and-death  metrics  Philip_Mudd  problem_definition  organizing_data  problem_framing  sorting  thinking_backwards 
october 2017 by jerryking
Pam Edstrom Burnished the Image of Bill Gates and Microsoft - WSJ
“What business problem are we trying to solve?” she often asked. She also preached brevity. “Be brief, be bright and be done,” she sometimes advised colleagues before meeting with clients.
problem_definition  problem_framing  problem_solving  public_relations  brevity  obituaries  women  Microsoft  billgates  Silicon_Valley 
april 2017 by jerryking
What a Year of Job Rejections Taught Me About Pitching Myself
SEPTEMBER 09, 2015 | HBR | Nina Mufleh.
[send to Nick Patel]
After sending out hundreds of copies of my résumé to dozens of companies over the last year, I realized that I was getting nowhere because my approach was wrong....How could a career that ranged from working with royalty to Fortune 500 brands and startups not pique the curiosity of any hiring managers?

As a marketer, I decided to re-frame the challenge. Instead of thinking as a job applicant, I had to think of myself as a product and identify ways to create demand around hiring me. I applied everything I knew about marketing and storytelling to build a campaign that would show Silicon Valley companies the kind of value I would bring to their teams.

The experiment was a report that I created for Airbnb that highlighted the promise and potential of expanding to the Middle East, a market that I am extremely familiar with and until recently they had not focused on. I spent a couple of days gathering data about the tourism industry and the company’s current footprint in the market, and identified strategic opportunities for them there.

I released the report on Twitter and copied Airbnb’s founders and leadership team. Behind the scenes, I also shared it by email with many personal and professional contacts and encouraged them to share it if they thought it was interesting — most did, as did some of the top VCs, entrepreneurs and many peers around the world....What I realize in hindsight is probably one of the most important lessons of my career so far. The project highlighted the qualities I wanted to show to recruiters; more importantly, it also addressed one of the main weaknesses they saw in me....What the report helped me do was show, not tell, my value beyond their doubts. It refocused my perceived weakness into a strength: an international perspective with the promise of understanding and entering new markets. And though none of the roles that I interviewed for in the last two months focused on expansion, by addressing and challenging the weakness, I was able to re-frame the conversation around my strengths....asking yourself a different version of that question is going to make you better prepared for any conversation with a recruiter, a potential client, or even a potential investor....not “What is my weakness?” but rather “What do they perceive as a weakness in my background?”
Airbnb  campaigns  career_paths  creating_demand  Fortune_500  founders  HBR  hindsight  inbound_marketing  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  Middle_East  networking  personal_branding  pitches  problem_framing  reframing  rejections  self-promotion  social_media  strengths  value_propositions  via:enochko  weaknesses 
september 2015 by jerryking
Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
When President Bill Clinton chose to intervene in the Somali civil war in 1993, the Battle of Mogadishu resulted in thousands of Somali citizens killed, two American Black Hawk helicopters shot down,…

WHAT ABOUT THE DATA?
Increasing amounts of data can be unmanageable, and the problem of sorting through data overloads may only worsen in this digital era. Rather than looking at each bit of information as a discrete data point, we want to look at our drivers and sort the data according to which driver it supports--on other words, sort the data into each of the half-dozen or so driver categories, so analysts have few piles to deal with rather than a thousand discrete data points.
decision_making  howto  problem_solving  problem_framing  security_&_intelligence  CIA  books  information_overload  analysis  interviews  critical_thinking  book_reviews  Philip_Mudd  frameworks  insights  sorting  analysts  thinking_backwards  problem_definition  intelligence_analysts 
may 2015 by jerryking
How to Write a Problem Statement for Six Sigma
By Craig Gygi, Bruce Williams, and Neil DeCarlo
The problem statement serves several purposes in a Six Sigma project. First, it significantly clarifies the current situation by specifically identifying the problem and its severity, location, and financial impact. It also serves as a great communication tool, helping to get buy-in and support from others. When problem statements are well written, people readily grasp and understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

A brief description of the problem and the metric used to describe the problem

Where the problem is occurring by process name and location

The time frame over which the problem has been occurring

The size or magnitude of the problem
problems  problem_solving  Six_Sigma  writing  Communicating_&_Connecting  howto  problem_framing  frequency_and_severity  buy-in  financial_impact 
may 2014 by jerryking
When it comes to innovation, Canada needs more inquisitive minds
Sept. 11 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by TODD HIRSCH.

There are solutions to Canada’s innovation deficit. The Conference Board of Canada, which prepared the Canadian analysis for the WEF report, makes several smart suggestions. Encouraging more spending on R&D, making better use of advanced technology, and increasing the research linkages between universities and industry all make sense.

But a big part of the problem is our knee-jerk reaction to expect governments to provide the solutions. Need corporate R&D? Ask Ottawa for more tax credits. Lacking venture capital? Insist tax dollars are put into a fund. Want more high tech? Demand provincial governments to spend more on university research.

Good public policies can certainly nudge us in the right direction, but it’s lazy to sit back and wait for government to solve the problem. The truth is that tax credits and research subsidies do not drive innovation. Curiosity drives innovation.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “what policy can drive innovation?”, we need to ask “how can we become a society of inquisitive individuals?” That’s a more difficult question. It is too simplistic to call for more creativity in the classrooms, but surely strong literacy skills at an early age form the bedrock of curiosity and innovative thinking in adulthood. Children who are encouraged to read, to question, to wonder and to imagine will carry those abilities with them into adulthood.
bottom-up  Todd_Hirsch  economists  innovation  competitiveness_of_nations  Canada  Canadian  WEF  rankings  curiosity  counterintuitive  public_policy  inquisitiveness  literacy  reframing  problem_framing  children  parenting  fascination  asking_the_right_questions  questions 
september 2013 by jerryking
Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable? - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | IAN BROWN.

In what should be a golden age of photography, our preoccupation with technical brilliance, technique, and technological advances is overwhelming our ability to collectively use our cameras to tell the simplest of stories...As a result, Ian and his fellow judges at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival photography competition to tell a visual story--a photo essay--about wildlife or wilderness, declined to identify a winner--or even a runner-up--from 500 entries....none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories.

A story is a cohesive account of events in which something is at stake – a beginning, middle and end tied together with characters, scenes and details (long shots, mid-shots, closeups) that lead to a climax and resolution (or not). A story is content.

Even the entries that were remotely in the neighbourhood of telling a story – and most were hopelessly lost – were edited incomprehensibly. (Not experimentally. Incomprehensibly.) In other words, if photographic sequences evoke no perceptible story, they have no significance.

* Don't try to compensate for a lack of vision with a bag of technological tricks.
* Don't take photographs because you can. First, determine if you should (i.e. will there be story?). Think--pretend the resource you're consuming is finite.
* Don't sit down awaiting to be entertained, go out and seek a story.

We crave the instant gratification and collective approval that the Internet deals out to us and photograbs are the fastest way to get it, the visual equivalent of a hypodermic drip....The Online Photographer, the blog of Mike Johnston, a digital photographer who writes about his attempts – his successes, but more often his failures – to tell cogent and moving stories in pictures. It’s the struggle that makes visual work interesting....“Time changes the image.” allowing photos that didn't like to become favourites and vice versa....Good pictures that tell a story, he said, are always about other people. But when “everybody with a phone thinks they’re a photographer,” the result is “the autobiographical and the narcissistic.”

Ian fears for organizations such as the Chicago Sun-Times, which last month laid off all of its camera pros in favour of cheaper, crowd-sourced iPhonography. They will get what they pay for.
storytelling  photography  contests  digital_media  information_overload  curation  narcissism  Banff  failure  visual_culture  finite_resources  instant_gratification  constraints  problem_framing  golden_age 
june 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
Introduction to the Case Method
(1) Define the central problem. (Problems vs. symptoms, sequence, linkages)
(2) Formulate the alternatives. (3 or 4 are usually sufficient. Include maintenance of the status quo).
(3) Analyze the alternatives. (Uncover the nature, proportion, function, and underlying relationships among a set of variables). Lay out assumptions. Review assumptions to see how dependent conclusions are on the assumptions made. Contingency plans in the case that assumptions don't hold. Opposing arguments addressed? Pros/cons of each alternative.
(4) Recommend a solution. (Make it clear cut. Avoid qualifications)
(5) Specify a plan of action. (Potential reactions)
(6) Prepare contingency plans.
case_studies  business_schools  symptoms  howto  frameworks  problem_framing  problem_solving  linkages  marketing_math  critical_thinking  action_plans  contingency_planning  alternatives  assumptions  argumentation  sequencing 
july 2012 by jerryking
The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers
Mar 20, 2012 | | Inc.com | Paul J. H. Schoemaker.
Adaptive strategic leaders--the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment--do six things well:

1. Anticipate. Hone your “peripheral vision.” Reduce vulnerabilities to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. ... Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
2. Think Critically. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, you must force yourself to reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes. Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions.
3. Interpret. Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, you are tempted to reach for a fast (potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:Seek patterns in multiple sources of data; Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously.
4. Decide. Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” Develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to: Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter, Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers. Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
5. Align. Consensus is rare. Foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to: Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden. Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
6. Learn.

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming.
Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
Celebrate both successes and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
Do you have what it takes?
tips  leadership  habits  strategic_thinking  anticipating  critical_thinking  networks  biases  conventional_wisdom  decision_making  empathy  feedback  thinking  failure  lessons_learned  leaders  interpretation  ambiguities  root_cause  insights  paralyze  peripheral_vision  analysis_paralysis  reframing  course_correction  vulnerabilities  good_enough  debriefs  post-mortems  problem_framing  discomforts  wide-framing  outward_looking  assumptions  game_changers 
march 2012 by jerryking
Einstein’s Secret to Amazing Problem Solving (and 10 Specific Ways You Can Use It)
Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

The point: before jumping right into solving a problem, we should step back and invest time and effort to improve our understanding of it. Here are 10 strategies to see problems from many different perspectives and to master the most important step in problem solving: clearly defining the problem in the first place!
The Problem Is To Know What the Problem Is

The definition of the problem will be the focal point of all your problem-solving efforts.
1. Rephrase the Problem
2. Expose and Challenge Assumptions
3. Chunk Up
4. Chunk Down. From Engineering school--break a problem into its component sub-systems, solve at that level, and then combine mini solutions.
5. Find Multiple Perspectives
6. Use Effective Language Constructs
7. Make It Engaging
8. Reverse the Problem
9. Gather Facts
10. Problem-Solve Your Problem Statement
Albert_Einstein  creativity  critical_thinking  engineering  lifehacks  Philip_Mudd  problems  problem_definition  problem_framing  problem_solving  thinking  thinking_backwards  tips  uncharted_problems 
january 2012 by jerryking
How Harvard Shaped Mitt Romney - NYTimes.com
By JODI KANTOR
Published: December 24, 2011

“You have the same question as General Electric,” said Mr. Romney, then a young father and a management consultant. “Your resources are your time and talent. How are you going to deploy them?”

He drew a chart called a growth-share matrix with little circles to represent various pursuits: work, family, church. Investing time in work delivered tangible returns like raises and profits.

“Your children don’t pay any evidence of achievement for 20 years,” Mr. Romney said. But if students failed to invest sufficient time and energy in their spouses and children, their families could become “dogs” — consultant-speak for drags on the rest of the company — sucking energy, time and happiness out of the students....early four decades ago at Harvard, Mr. Romney embraced an analytical, nonideological way of thinking, say former classmates and professors, one that both matched his own instincts and helped him succeed....Every day for an hour, the all-male group — there were relatively few women in the program back then — sat at a semicircular table outside the classroom and briefed one another on the reading material....The case study method “doesn’t start with the theory or even principles,” said Kim B. Clark, a friend of Mr. Romney’s who later became dean of the school. “It starts with ‘All right, what is going on? What does the data tell us?’ ”

The cases did not even lay out questions. Students had to analyze the material, sometimes just a paragraph long, figure out the company’s problems and pose solutions. “The case study method is like trying to train doctors by just showing them [sick] patients, rather than by showing them textbooks to depict what a healthy patient should look like,” said Mr. Brownstein, the former classmate.
business_schools  case_studies  finite_resources  Harvard  HBS  J.D.-M.B.A.  marriage  MBAs  Mitt_Romney  parenting  problem_framing  quantified_self  questions  resource_allocation  work_life_balance 
december 2011 by jerryking
The Dangerous Miscalculation of 'Scarcity Drives Innovation'
March 31, 2011 | BNET | By Sean Silverthorne.

If you want to be an innovative company, don't do it by cutting off resources in the hopes that it will inspire people to be more creative.

"This artificial scarcity can make people creative all right, but it makes them creative at finding resources, not at solving the central problem or inventing the next big thing," warns Teresa Amabile, a Harvard Business School professor who is an expert on creativity.

No, the real mother of invention is constraint. Hand a person a blank piece of paper, and they freeze about what to do next. But if the paper has a squiggle on it, they have a place to start.

For companies who want to be more innovative this means handing your bright people an idea with boundaries, Amabile says.

"Creativity-friendly constraints include: (1) a clear problem definition with clear goals, like the specific challenges of online innovation competitions, or the Iron Chef 'secret ingredient' constraints; and (2) a truly urgent, challenging need, like bringing the Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to earth."
scarcity  constraints  innovation  creativity  miscalculations  problem_framing  resourcefulness  problem_definition  urgency  life_and_death 
april 2011 by jerryking
Other Governments Lend Their Might to Design. Why Can't America? | Co.Design
Oct. 22, 2010 | Fast Company | by Thomas Lockwood. my
experience in Helsinki is a sign of things to come. The role of design
is expanding well beyond artifacts, communications, and experiences to
broader problem solving -- an interesting definition of "strategic
design" may be "design that solves the right problems." The whole notion
of "business transformation" can indeed be shifted to "government
transformation," if we dare try.
It's time for professional design managers to step up. We need serious
design leaders like never before.
design  problem_solving  leadership  Helsinki  transformational  problem_definition  problem_framing  policymaking  worthwhile_problems 
october 2010 by jerryking
Surviving the Age of Humiliation - WSJ.com
MAY 5, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JEFFREY ZASLOW.

THE BEST DEFENSE

* Expect the worst. If you run a business, assume disgruntled employees will make accusations about you. If you're a teacher, expect to be badmouthed by angry students on RateMyProfessors.com. If you've endured a hostile divorce, keep your guard up, and be ready to mop up spilled secrets.
* Get up to speed. You may be written about on blogs, Twitter and other social-networking sites. Learn exactly how new media sites work, who uses them and how you can be adept at it, too
* Reframe the discussion. Actor Alec Baldwin wrote that he felt great shame, and even thought of suicide, after an angry voicemail message he left for his 11-year-old daughter went viral. He eventually channeled his feelings into a book about fathers' rights and divorce, which allowed him to explain his outburst and weigh in on the debate over custody issues
* Have thick skin. Ignore efforts to hurt you on obscure blogs or websites, as these often dissipate on their own. As for cyber-bullying of children, parents tend to overreact—calling other parents over minor incidents, making things even harder for their kids at school—or under-react, not responding to serious incidents. It's best to tell kids: "Together we'll find the right way to deal with this—to help you and not make things worse.
* Fight back. Thomas Jefferson believed that the best way to combat critical speech was to speak out yourself. Start your own blog or post your own comments. If it's vital that you defend yourself, do so forcefully, without fear and with self-confidence.
personal_branding  reputation  etiquette  civility  public_decorum  popular_culture  Jeffrey_Zaslow  humility  reframing  humiliation  problem_framing  serious_incidents  Thomas_Jefferson  worst-case  thinking_tragically 
may 2010 by jerryking
Multicultural Critical Theory. At Business School? - NYTimes.com
January 9, 2010 | New York Times | By LANE WALLACE. "
students needed to learn how to think critically and creatively every
bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting. More
specifically, they needed to learn how to approach problems from many
perspectives and to combine various approaches to find innovative
solutions" . "...design thinking is, it’s focused on taking that
understanding you have about the world and using that as a set of
insights from which to be creative"....”...Yale has also added a
“problem framing” course that tries to have students think more broadly,
question assumptions, view problems through multiple lenses and learn
from history.
“There’s a great deal to learn from Bismarck, Kissinger, F.D.R. and
J.F.K. about problem framing".
Roger_Martin  Rotman  uToronto  design  ideo  critical_thinking  problem_framing  Tim_Brown  Yale  history  business_schools  FDR  JFK  Henry_Kissinger  von_Bismarck 
january 2010 by jerryking
Pandemics and Poor Information - WSJ.com
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by L. GORDON CROVITZ.
Whenever there's a threat of epidemic, alongside early deaths comes the casualty of information. Asian governments at least learned from their recent experience of bird flu and SARS the importance of not covering up outbreaks. The still open question is how to assess warnings that health professionals make based on inadequate information. Almost by definition, the risk of an epidemic occurs when the one thing disease experts know for sure is that they don't know for sure what will happen.
"What new information would be sufficient to change your decision?"

Alexander's question (AKA 'Dr. Alexander's question') is a question used to uncover assumptions and associations that may be confusing your judgment. Asking what information would be needed to change your mind can help bring faulty reasoning to light, and it can also point out what facts you should be researching before committing yourself and others to a course of action.

The uncertainty about the longer-term threat of the current swine flu is a
reminder that nature is more complex than mathematical models.Scientific
hypotheses can then be tested, but this approach has limits when it
comes to predictions.
"Alexander's Question," named for a physician who had posed a canny
question of his fellow experts: What information might make the group
change its mind about the need for immunization? Focusing on it would
have led to more focus on uncertainties: the trade-off between side
effects and flu, the difference between the severity of the flu and its
spread, and the choice between mandatory vaccinations and stockpiling in
case of later need. Decision makers should ask themselves what new
"knowns" would change their views.
pandemics  epidemics  risk-assessment  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  information_flows  information  decision_making  immunization  critical_thinking  uncertainty  assumptions  questions  Dr.Alexander's_Question  information_gaps  hidden  latent  facts  change_your_mind  problem_framing  tradeoffs  flu_outbreaks  side_effects  vaccines  stockpiles  information-poor  CDC  unknowns 
may 2009 by jerryking
Want to join the great innovators?
17/09/07 G&M article by DAVID DUNNE.

Designers approach problems differently than typical business people. In
contrast to the analytical perspective taken in business, designers
excel in framing and reframing problems and in collaborating with others
to develop solutions.

These six components - systems thinking, prototyping, ethnography,
diversity, imagination and constraints - to the design process.
design  design_thinking  innovation  systems_thinking  trial_&_error  reframing  prototyping  ethnography  diversity  imagination  constraints  problem_framing 
march 2009 by jerryking

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