Most of the credit for this blog goes to the American Management Association or AMA for my updated excerpt from The AMA Critical Thinking Toolkit.
Research the problem via other companies who have had or are having or have solved the problem already.
What can I learn from comparing other similar industries which are having the same problem and try to determine the potential causes of their problems as they see it from their perspective.
Make a list of plausible causal assumptions which you have made trying to solve this problem(s).
Evaluate data and/or experiential evidence which supports/debunks your plausible causal assumptions.
Make a list of desired results and/or solutions.
Brainstorm the possible solutions personally and with others with a personal vital participation in the problem solving results and/or solutions.
Research the resources and costs needed to implement the potential solutions, and make a cost analysis after each step which needs resources purchased as well as a list of pros/cons for each potential solution.
Get feedback from diverse human groups including customer service, line managers, a focal group, as well as your team. Based on their feedback on your pros and cons re-evaluate and update your pro and con list.
What is the best solution(s) based on the data and experiential evidence that you have gathered. Make an outline or procedural and/or serial course of action to get to the desired results and/or solutions.
The financials should be evaluated along the way during the problem solving procedure and not just at the end to see if the solution makes business sense because during the problem solving analysis you may instantly determine that the course to the potential solution is not financially sound and that you have quickly exceeded your budget sometimes about half way through the problem solving procedure. You will save much time, energy, and money doing financial calculations along the way or during each step which requires expensive new resources.
Create a quality test product which optimally fills the needs of the customer but also take into consideration subjective wants which maybe a majority of potential customer’s desires but something which they don’t really need.
Test the functionality of a product on potential customers and get feedback on whether it is solving the stated problems.
Update the information and/or goods and/or services or revise and/or redesign based on potential customer feedback.
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