We have heard over and over again that today’s solutions often become tomorrow’s problems.  If this is true then how do we prevent this from happening over and over again? We need to think differently about our problem solving strategies, we need to value thinking over action.

When we look around we see two basic problem solving techniques in use, why not work out which one has the highest chance of success for you?

Problem solving strategy 1 – HOW?


  • Spend a little bit of time examining the problem
  • Make a bundle of assumptions about the problem
  • Throw lots of stuff at it hoping that something will stick


  • Your guess is as good as mine
  • If it works good luck to you
  • If it doesn’t work it will be no surprise

Problem solving strategy 2 – WHY?


  • Spend some time defining the problem
  • Identify the causes of the problem
  • Explore the links from cause to effect
  • Implement a well thought out, effective, robust solution


  • A targeted solution designed to remove a cause rather than put a Band-Aid on a solution

So, when trying to solve a problem, rather than proving that you have inherited the genes of Xena the Warrior Princess and rushing to a solution, why not think like Sherlock Holmes and piece the problem together before announcing your brilliant solution?

Avatar photo

Written by Lisa Smith

Twitter LinkedIn

Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.