Jul 27th, 2023

Feature Article


  Written by: David Stevens, Director of Business Development

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Start with the problem.

Who remembers the good old bi-annual cellphone upgrade plans? Strutting into Verizon with your dinged-up Motorola Razr and trading it in for the latest and greatest. My fiancé has found this practice particularly difficult to let go of. No matter the device, as soon as that two-year mark rolls around, she’s convinced she needs a new one. When asked why she needs a new phone she responds with pleading eyes, a subtle smile, and soft muffled voice saying, “because I want one…” Sound like a solution without a problem?

It’s not uncommon for our clients to adopt this same, solution-first approach – eager to implement a solution they believe will be the answer to all their problems. However, with more than 30 years’ experience in custom software development and technology consultancy, we have learned that the compulsion to solve a problem without clearly defining it is a recipe for failure. For many of our clients the most surprising discovery lies not in the solution to their problem but in answering this one simple question; “what problem am I trying to solve?”

Here are three simple steps to unlock the power of discovery during your own problem definition:

1. Poke the pain points.
Before rushing into any solution, take the time to identify and review the pain points that you or your organization are facing. It is essential to understand the specific concerns that need to be addressed and how they are affecting you on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to explore all aspects of the problem, as this is crucial for laying the foundation for a well-defined solution.

2. Be open to the results.
A thorough analysis of your problem may produce underwhelming results. If your conclusion is simply “because I want it,” that’s ok; you don’t need to wait for it to rain to buy an umbrella. Just don’t allow your preconceptions of the problem to tailor the outcome of your exploration. Failure to face the truth is likely what led to your problem in the first place.

3. Back into your objectives.
What does success look like? What specific objectives must a solution achieve? By setting clear and measurable goals, you can evaluate potential solutions to determine the most appropriate path forward. Clear objectives ensure that future efforts are aligned with your ultimate goal: solving the root of your problem.

Sometimes we seek solutions without truly understanding the problem we’re aiming to solve. Rid yourself of that solution-first approach and adopt a problem-first approach instead. Allow the root of the problem to be the catalyst that drives you towards success.

Discovery is just a problem away.

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