What if we told you that every entrepreneur, manager or businessperson does the exact same thing? That no matter whether you’re a fruit vendor, a stock broker, or running an NGO fighting climate change, you’re essentially doing the exact same thing? You might give us a weird look, but when it comes down to it, all those people are working towards the same objective: Solving problems.
For one, that could be the problem of people being hungry for fruit, for the other the problem of his portfolio being valued too low, and for another one the problem of our climate heating up. In fact, we are certain that you yourself are trying to solve some sort of problem right now.
No matter where you are in your life or career, learning how to solve problems – any problems – is one of the most valuable skills you could possibly learn. So today, we are going to show you how to do just that, by introducing you to the Basadur Simplex Creative Problem Solving process (And because that’s a really long expression, we’re going to call it the BSCPS from now on).
This process was developed by the Canadian engineer and researcher Min Basadur and consists of three broad phases, which are then broken up into some smaller steps. One of the key insights of the BSCPS is also, that problem solving is best done in a team – not alone. So keep that in mind for the rest of this post!
Ready to find out how to solve problems effectively and systematically? Well then let’s dive right in!
- Problem Formulation
First of all, we have to find out what problem we want to solve. To do this, the BSCPS recommends three steps:
- Problem Finding
The most basic and first step is simply to ask yourself: “What problem do we want to solve?” As we’ve said before, a problem can really be anything. Let’s say you’ve detected that your sales have fallen in the last two months – that’s your problem right there. Write it down.
- Fact Finding
Research! Find out as much as you can about the problem you want to solve. Be creative. Use google, ask your friends, call people that might know something about the area of your problem. If you want to offer some sort of product to solve the problem you’re tackling, go and do some research on your competitors
- Problem Definition
Now that you know all about your problem, spend some time to clearly define what it is.
- Solution formulation
Now this is where it gets interesting, this section is all about finding out how to really solve your problem:
- Idea Finding
Here you should come up with as many ideas and possible solutions as possible. Brainstorm. Here you’re going to recognise most how important working with a team is, to bring in new ideas, new perspectives, new solutions.
- Evaluate and Select
Take a good look at all the ideas you’ve collected in the previous step. Think about how you’d go about implementing them. Are they effective? Are they realistic? Then, select the idea that you think works best.
- Solution implementation
In this section we’re going to get down to the gritty stuff, taking your idea and transforming into action.
- Action Planning
You now got your best idea lying in front of you. Make some concrete plans on how to realize it. “What resources do we need”? “What can we do by ourselves, where do we need outside help?” are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.
- Gaining Acceptance
No matter how good your idea is, some people will be against it. Now is the time to change their mind! Show them how your idea solves the problem. And not only that it solves it, but that it does so in the best and most effective way possible. If you’ve got a lot of resistance to your idea, you won’t be able to implement it.
- Taking Action
Even the best plans mean nothing if there’s no doing behind it. Luckily, you know exactly what your problem is, got a great idea to solve it, and a well-planned strategy to tell you exactly what you need to do. So get on with it!
Following the BSCPS brings a clear and easy to follow system to your problem-solving process, and will make it much more effective. But that’s not its only advantage: The BSCPS can also play a crucial role in something else that’s hugely important for any organisation and closely linked to problem solving: Innovation. And that’s exactly what our next post will be all about, so stay tuned!