Feb 24th, 2022

Best Practices

I Wonder? What If? Let's Try!

Written by: Nick Gillam, Senior Delivery Lead

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These six words have no doubt been the motivation to thousands of innovations and the subliminal springboard to thousands of innovators. Any idea where they come from? No, it’s not from one of the great orators of Ted-Talks or the turtleneck clad founder of Apple. It’s from our friends over on Sesame Street.

I’m a proud new father to a 16-month-old boy. One day after hanging out with his cousins I learned that he is now hooked on everything Elmo and Big Bird. It didn’t take long for me to have every song and catch phrase memorized, but this one really stuck with me. For those who don’t have kids or were somehow able to dodge the Sesame Street years, let me explain. In each episode there is an everyday problem that the young characters must solve. For example, in one episode Elmo got his ball stuck in the tree and couldn’t figure out how to get it down, so he gathered his trusty pals to help him out. Here’s how it played out:

“I wonder how we can get the ball down?”

“What if we try using this broom stick to reach it?”

“Let’s try!”

Before you know it, Elmo and friends were back to playing catch.

The simplicity may make this seem trivial, but to me it looks a lot like a delivery plan distilled down to six words and seven syllables.

  • “I wonder” – Objective
  • “What if” – Solution
  • “Let’s Try” – Execution

What’s my point? One thing I notice on almost any product or project, is that the problem we are trying to solve gets lost in the noise or obscured by layers of solutioning. Obviously, the problems faced by businesses aren’t as elementary as getting a ball out of a tree, but every once in a while, I encourage you to take a step back, think about your old friends from Sesame Street, and re-focus on your motivation for the product. It might just save you from spending time and money on something only to discover that the ball is still stuck in tree and your customers can’t play catch.