The first part of any project involves defining the problem, deciding where to look for the solution and how to proceed with the search and finally defining the solution, validating it and getting agreement from stakeholders.
Now the nature of Technology is such that few of us are aware of what is possible and even fewer are able to see the impacts of these suggested solutions over and above the promised outcome.
Not only are few of us equipped to access the best solutions, but even fewer are able to recognise when we have a problem. In technology speak a problem is closer in meaning to a mathematics problem , it doesn’t necessarily cause that irritating pain that our marketing colleagues like to focus on.
E.G. Let’s say chief zongawonga is worried that with 19 more children due this spring, he won’t be able to catch enough fish. His bright young progeny identifies the problem and suggests metal arrow heads that are more effective and mean they can quickly make extra spears so everyone can join in. That represents a problem known and tackled.
However, Zongawonga doesn’t know that monofilament nets are cheaper than arrowheads and one child can feed the whole tribe with one net. Until he becomes aware of the nets, he won’t know he has a problem, or until his wives start leaving for the easy life with his neighbour who doesn’t expect them to fish.
The process involved in definition of problems and solutions differs not at all from the age old problem of effectively searching a global mountain of unstructured content as described below.
First you have to arrive at some fundamental conclusions about the problem, the possible solutions and how and where to go looking. Consider this example and then have a read through the innovative solutions put forward by Zyra and see if you don’t begin to question the stuffy, stuck in the mud methods of innovation and improvement that have become embedded in most modern businesses.
“just what are you looking for, anyway?”
- A known needle in a known haystack
- A known needle in an unknown haystack
- An unknown needle in an unknown haystack
- Any needle in a haystack
- The sharpest needle in a haystack
- Most of the sharpest needles in a haystack
- All the needles in a haystack
- Affirmation of no needles in the haystack
- Things like needles in any haystack
- Let me know whenever a new needle shows up
- Where are the haystacks?
- Needles, haystacks — whatever.
The answers you give to the questions above will have a profound effect on how you approach the project, how you define success and your likelihood of succeeding.
Furthermore, whether you are in charge of developing market leading products, or keeping your company at the cutting edge, taking a little time out to consider these questions and address them innovatively will take your performance to the next level.