March  2006     Edition 11
180 Seconds of HeadScratching

180 Seconds of Headscratching.

Take 3 minutes out of your day and try this.  It may change your whole way of thinking about how you look at problems to solve.

Pick a HeadScratcher?

Use a real problem that you have already delegated to someone to solve.  As a reminder, a HeadScratcher is a problem without a ready solution, a result without an obvious explanation, or a goal without a clear path.

Many HeadScratchers fall into the “How to execute?”

, or “Should we do this?” bucket.  Recent examples we’ve worked on include:
   -  How do we hit our schedules?
   -  How to we create a value proposition?
   -  What new features should we add?
   -  How do we outsource this?
   - Should we raise the price?
    - Should we buy this business?

These are all great problems to solve

and are good HeadScratchers.   When we conduct our “inspection process” we discover that while these are worthwhile initiatives, they are also solutions to a broader issue.

Breakthrough Innovation occurs mainly

when Headscratching the Broader issue.   Using the Headscratcher you have chosen, take the next step:

Think about the problem itself.

  Is it a solution to a broader problem?  Can you think of a larger issue you are trying to solve with the Headscratcher you have chosen as just one solution to it.

Original HeadScratcher   >>>   Broader Issue

How do we hit our schedules?  >>>  How do we speed up development?

How to we create a value proposition?  >>>  How do we make it easier for Sales to sell?

What new features should we add? >>>  How do we sustain our lead?

Should we raise the price? >>   How do we increase margins?

Should we buy this business?  >>>  How do we expand our business?

How do we outsource this? >>>  How do we reduce IT costs?

The Takeaway:
   Solving tactical HeadScratchers is most of what people do on a daily basis.  It gets most of what needs to be done accomplished.   However, every once in awhile, step back and look at the broader HeadScratcher.   Consider that your daily HeadScratchers are just one of many solutions to the broader problem.    Stay awhile thinking about the broader problem … this is where solutions that can make a huge difference come from.

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Previous versions of The HeadScratcher Post

Critical Thinking Techniques for Problem Solving, Decision Making, Innovation and Leadership.
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To help people become better HeadScratchers! We teach critical thinking techniques to managers, leaders and individuals resulting in the improved performance of an individual and organization.