3 Fundamentals of Problem Solving

1. Brainstorming vs Blame-Storming.

The most important thing in problem solving is that, there is no Finger Pointing. We have to fix Process not People. As Dr. Deming said 85% problems requires action on system / process. In my study tour to Japan I learned to ask “Why” rather than “Who” when we have to solve problems. I have seen some people doing Who-Who analysis instead of Why-Why Analysis. When you ask Who people tend to hide problems. No one likes to be blamed.

2. The problem solving happens based on data and facts.

Lean philosophy says Go and See at workplace (Go to Gemba) to verify and do not rely only on information and data discussed in conference room. Step out of Conference room. When you go to Gemba you can observe and collect Facts.

Six Sigma philosophy relies more on Data. “In God we trust for everything else bring data”. Data are powerful. In earlier days it was difficult to collect data, but now with new edge technology and Industry 4.0 it is becoming very easy to aquire data. But the crux lies in how do you analyze it. How do you make your data speak with analysis?

In reality you need both, Data and Facts to make your problem solving Process robust.

3. Help employees understand that Problems can be an opportunity.

In the process, he discovered something peculiar: an adhesive that stuck lightly to surfaces but didn’t bond tightly to them. “This was none of those.”

Later on this was introduced as a Flagship produt of 3M. Source (https://www.post-it.com/3M/en_US/post-it/contact-us/about-us/).

Create an environment where employees can acknoledge mistakes / problems. This will a conducive culture of reporting problems rather than hiding problems. How can you solve a problem which is covered underneath the carpet?

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