Question the Problem

When people set out to create a business, an organization, or a project they are most likely doing so because they think their work will be beneficial in some unique way.  Their intentions to solve a problem are genuine and most of the time their method of solving the problem is genuine.  Unfortunately, being genuine doesn’t get you very far in the real world and more often than not these businesses, organizations and projects are failing.

InnoCentive is a firm that is dedicated towards using their expertise to help their client’s businesses, organizations and projects succeed.  They believe one of the main keys to success is identifying the actual problem through a series of questions.  The Harvard Business Review featured them in an article and the founder states, “We’ve seen that most organizations are not proficient at articulating their problems clearly and concisely. Many have considerable difficulty even identifying which problems are crucial to their missions and strategies.”  People think they know what the problem is they are trying to solve, but when put through the ringer of questions from InnoCentive they realize that they don’t actually know the root or specifics of the problem.  This questioning will help them understand what it is they don’t know and either cause them to change the current path they are on and reallocate their resources or end it entirely because they don’t have the knowledge, time or resources to do what they actually want to do.

I think we could all learn from InnoCentive’s Problem-Definition Process because after all, so much of our day is spent trying to solve problems.  How can we solve our problems if we don’t know what our problems actually are?


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