Possible ways of solving problems in Crisis Period
Some people say history is repeating itself but whether this is true or not, the most important thing is that the method used in solving the problem a hundred years ago will no longer be relevant in recent times. Definitely, this method will be extremely obsolete if considered for use now. The reality is that there is no fixed context.
In solving problems, it is recommended to develop the capacity for reflective actions. In handling reflective actions, the following are considered;
a. Take the necessary action
b. Integrate the learning of the action
c. Understand the difference between the actions taking and learn from the experience
Let’s use the Cynefin framework to understand how to deal with a typical situation or problem. It is certain that not all situations are equal, so this framework can be useful in defining which response is required for a given situation or problem. Having a good solution to a problem is great, but applying it in the wrong situation or context can lead to outcomes that are more complicated.
Making use of the framework can help one understand the method to use in finding the most appropriate solution that matches the conditions of the problem.
There are four categories in the Cynefin Framework; Obvious, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic.
Obvious (formerly known as Simple) is the category of Best Practices. With this category there is a direct relationship between the cause and the effect of the problem that can be seen by everyone. The right (single) answer is usually obvious and cannot be disputed. In this category, the problem statement is understood and the solution is evident. Simple problem solving methods can be applied here. Established best practices can be implemented with well-known reviewed solutions. Minimal expertise is required to resolve problems in this category.
Complicated is the category where good practices can be found. Here there are multiple right answers, and expert diagnosis is required to figure them out. This sector demands more quantitative approaches such as the use of Six Sigma. The problem is more predictable than unpredictable. The Cause and Effect relationship is not discovered immediately but takes time. In this category, it is necessary to assess the situation, sense the problem, investigate several options, analyse large data groups, make use of expert’s knowledge for insight and metrics to gain control, base response on good practice, determine a course of action and then execute the plan. The Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle can be used for the execution.
The complex category is where solutions are discovered by developing a safe environment for experimentation. This experimentation process which is the starting point enables the discovery of relevant information that is required for the creation of new possible solutions. These problems are always more unpredictable than predictable. The problem has to be explored to determine the right answer. Decisions taken can only be based on detailed experiments, inspections and results. The current results can then be used to define the next step toward a solution. In such situations our ability to probe (explore), sense (inspect) and respond (adapt) is important. Complex problems require more creativity and innovative thinking skills. The process of experimenting can be repeated several times in other to get the most desirable goal. This requires executing, evaluating and following the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle.
Chaotic problems require rapid responses. When in a crisis there is immediate action required to prevent further harm and to return the situation to normalcy. In this category, actions needs to be taken immediately and decisions are made quickly so as to correct the prevailing symptoms. This category cannot accommodate the process of starting investigations, data gathering and work analysis relating to correcting the cause of the problem due to time. The immediate action in this category is to quickly address the problem creating the issue and then find possible ways to contain the effects and restore order. This quick (mostly novel) solution(s) does not usually correct the underlying cause, but containment is more paramount here. In taking actions towards correcting the cause of the problem, it might be necessary to move this to another category of solving problems.