collaboration with select social media and trusted analytics partners How do you make that chemistry happen? It becomes important in the definition of the tree. The Solution Selection matrix is a tool that can be used to help review each idea by a standard process and criteria. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 7 Step problem-solving tool, what it is, what the steps are, and how to avoid the key problems. Whereas I would imagine your design thinkers—no, they’re going off to do their ethnographic research and get out into the field, potentially for a long time, before they come back with at least an initial hypothesis. I’m sure, Hugo, with your teams, you make sure that the youngest team members speak first. Businesses are likely to be far more accepting of a structured process that gets improved upon over time than no process at all. What we find, of course, is that the way to disaggregate the problem often gives you an insight into the answer to the problem quite quickly. It’s also the place where we can deal with biases. When we deal with questions at the policy level—“Should you support the death penalty?” “How do we affect climate change?” “How can we uncover the causes and address homelessness?”—it’s even more important that we’re focusing on levers that are big and movable. You’re testing, you’re checking—“Is the data right? Often, people lack humility in the way they make their recommendations: “This is the answer.” They’re very precise, and I think we would all be well-served to say, “This is a likely answer under the following sets of conditions” and then make the level of uncertainty clearer, if that is appropriate. You need to set up an environment to do so, but don’t get caught up in neural-network modeling immediately. Whilst processes are generally there to protect us from issues (i.e. Each step must be completed before moving on to the next step. We’d love to hear about it, fire us up on Twitter, or our feedback section below. In its simplest form, you have the components of revenue, which are price and quantity, and the components of cost, which are cost and quantity. In work planning, we’re always iterating. Here you should develop the implementation plan that takes you through the steps of the “fix” upfront of the deployment, this way the whole team understands what’s happening and how it will work. The first step is to define the problem that you have. The most powerful thing is to step back and ask the basic questions—“What are we trying to solve? You need to think carefully about the branches of the tree that are more certain and less certain as you define them. Of course, you could use something like – “the part is manufactured incorrectly” but that would make both developing a solution and implementation somewhat difficult as it is not clear what’s wrong. Hugo Sarrazin: At every step of the process. Hugo Sarrazin: Every step of the process. If you don’t do this well, you’ve just got a bunch of analysis. What do Business problems cause? Simon London: You were just talking about the seven-step process. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. So that’s a problem-solving methodology. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Simon London: So, Charles, are these complements or are these alternatives? Simon London: Here we’re talking about cognitive biases primarily, right? The part included paint on areas identified by the drawing that should not include paint. Simon London: OK. Practical resources to help leaders navigate to the next normal: guides, tools, checklists, interviews and more, Learn what it means for you, and meet the people who create it. That’s all it is, at its heart. You can think about questions like “What town would I like to live in?” or “Should I put solar panels on my roof?”, You might think that’s a funny thing to apply problem solving to, but in my mind it’s not fundamentally different from business problem solving, which answers the question “What should my strategy be?” Or problem solving at the policy level: “How do we combat climate change?” “Should I support the local school bond?” I think these are all part and parcel of the same type of question, “What should I do?”. The other one is exploratory data analysis. Although a somewhat rigorous approach, the strategy can be learned by any business willing to devote the time and resources. That’s what’s written down in the book, but it’s a very McKinsey process as well. You test with your data. It just uses technology and feedback loops in a fast way. Just as 20 years ago, when we were doing statistical analysis, we knew that we needed good model definition, we still need a good understanding of our algorithms and really good problem definition before we launch off into big data sets and unknown algorithms. The Six Step Problem Solving Model provides a shared, collaborative, and systematic approach to problem solving. Simon London: But, again, these final steps are about motivating people to action, right? Approach the customer as soon as you learn they are unhappy, and; 1. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Then you spend your time differently to achieve those two end products, so that’s another source of friction. Implementing a problem‑solving approach in your business can help you quickly zero in on the root causes of recurring operational issues and find solutions. If the stakes are not that high, that could be OK. Charles Conn: It can be revolutionary. When we do problem definition well in classic problem solving, we are demonstrating the kind of empathy, at the very beginning of our problem, that design thinking asks us to approach. Please try again later. As you say, you can solve the problem in one day or even one hour. takes problem solving very seriously, testing for it during the recruiting process and then honing it, in McKinsey consultants, through immersion in a structured seven-step method. Just talk about the analysis stage. McKinsey Insights - Get our latest thinking on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. I’d recommend engaging your key stakeholders at this point to discuss the resolution to the problem, how you’ll implement and the impact on the implementation (discussing things like whether the implementation will take effect immediately or after a given time). Alternatives to the 7 problem solving steps. Looked at this way, it’s no surprise that McKinsey takes problem solving very seriously, testing for it during the recruiting process and then honing it, in McKinsey consultants, through immersion in a structured seven-step method. Simon London: Step six. People create and sustain change. What are the dependencies?” Let’s make those explicit and really push the thinking and defining. tab. Got some thoughts on problem-solving, be sure to check out our Problem Solving Guide, perhaps you have a favorite tool or method? I hope we can see just how simple this is, even though we’re describing it in words. Hugo Sarrazin: No, but it may be useful as a starting point. When we understand “What are the forces acting upon your decision maker? 7 step problem solving technique STEP 1: The Right Problem to Solve STEP 2: Analyse the Problem STEP 3: Define the Problem STEP 4: Develop Opportunities (Possible Solutions) STEP 5: Select the Best Solution STEP 6: Implement the Solution STEP 7: Evaluate and Learn Or a segment in Japan? Hugo Sarrazin: Yeah. That, to me, is the most important step. Using a tool such as a Solution Selection Matrix can often help simplify the process and apply some rigor in ensuring this part of the process remains focussed. Select topics and stay current with our latest insights, How to master the seven-step problem-solving process. In order to find an appropriate solution, you need to identify and name the problem. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Charles Conn is CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation and an alumnus of McKinsey’s Sydney office. As ever it’s likely that one size doesn’t fit all and you and always look to tweak the process whilst keeping the basic steps. Step two, Charles? Hugo Sarrazin: It is surprising how often people jump past this step and make a bunch of assumptions. So step one—and there is a real art and a structure to it—is define the problem. Eventually, you need to kind of say, “OK, I’m going to converge again.” Then you go and you bring things back to the customer and get feedback and iterate. 1. Use minimal essential Bias is a feature of every human decision-making process.