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Be your own Mr. Wolf: Grow you problem solving mindset

When we talk about Design Thinking we often claim that it makes us capable of solving complex problems and detecting new business opportunities. Following the methodology allows us to break the problem in smaller little problems that are easier to tackle and so, making the big problem a quite easy task. It all sounds good, but it is not actually that easy; it requires training and of course skills, many of which are very related to the topics we have already talked in this blog, such as empathy, teamwork, collaboration, etc. All that group of skills is what we call problem solving mindset.There is a fact you can not oversee, things get complicated and different from what we planned, even with the best planning. There are facts we cannot control and we must be ready to act in those situations.  

It doesn’t matter if you need to improve your company’s results, get better and more productive contacts, find a new way to develop your career; you would thank having a problem solving mindset. A problem solving mindset will help you in many different tasks you daily encounter.

If you are able to embrace a problem solving mindset, you will be more confident and ready-to-action when needed, you will be seen as a colleague you can rely on and a very important part of a team.

But how can we gain that mindset? Here there are 5 of the most important concepts that are embedded in the Design Thinking methodology and you should bear in mind when presented with a problem:

Take it easy. Do not lose your nerves, there are situations that can be very difficult and you might start thinking about the consequences of it before it actually happens, getting angry and losing all the time you have left to solve it  complaining instead of doing. Losing your temperament will affect you and your team and many ideas and solutions might never be discovered if that happens. You have to embrace the situation and look for the positive aspects it has.

Accept the challenge. Do not take it as a problem, a pain or a burden, think of it as an opportunity to prove your value and it will definitely look much easier rather quickly. Problems don’t go away by ignoring them, if your competitors are doing better than you maybe isn’t luck, maybe we can improve our performance; just take it.

Be curious and gather reliable information. We have already talked about how important empathy is to get as many true and useful information to our projects. This will be critical to the outcome of the project. Do not look at things, see them instead; have an active observation of all the facts and ask yourself why things are the way they are even if they have always been that way. Don’t be afraid of asking, things many times have no clear reason to be on certain manner, they simply are that way because it was the best someone imagined at some point, but it can be certainly improved.

Define the challenge. If you want to solve something, better know what it is and more importantly, what do you want to achieve. Taking a step back and considering why that is important to you (get outside the box), will help you see it clear. If you don’t know what is the final goal all your effort might end on simply changing the problem or hiding it for a while. Consider you work in a team who has to solve a problem, but there is not a clear why, there is not a horizon to look at and direct yourself; in that situation is very likeable your team will start breaking down with many different unclear paths to follow and even blaming would come out to end that disaster.

Be critical and self-demanding. Things sometimes have common or traditional solutions that seem ok and they might sometimes be, but we are looking for the best. The first solutions that come to mind are normally rather obvious and will lead you to the point where you started. If you want to make an impact and really innovate, try to go further, work in teams, share ideas, as many as you can, and don’t be vague. Motivate yourself with the challenge you are facing, enjoy the way and you will want the best for your project, so you will be more likely to innovate.

So now, whether you are trying to make new innovative product in your company or improving, setting up a company or improving all the aspects of your life: you are ready to tackle it, though we certainly hope those are very different of those Mr Wolf  faced in the Pulp Fiction movie 😉

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