Problems are ubiquitous in life and in the world around us. While such a thought may seem negative or depressing, it actually means as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinkers, we have a lifetime of opportunities ahead of us to be professional problems solvers! Think about a problem you recently came across in light of the changes resulting from COVID-19… perhaps your parent needed groceries but didn’t feel comfortable going to the store; perhaps you or your sibling has children at home that lose all sense of patience by 10AM, but you need to continue completing your schoolwork; or perhaps you were training for a half-marathon, but your running group had to shut down to maintain social distance. These are pressing challenges for those facing them, and are only three small examples stemming from one event that are impacting millions of people globally! There are plenty of opportunities to address these and all other problems in ways that are creative and innovative, but to do so effectively, they need to be well understood. In this section you dig deep into understanding how to define problems and challenges. By the end of this section you will have demonstrated the ability to:
- Improve a problem definition using methodical tools.
- Distinguish between problems and symptoms.
- Establish the root cause(s) of a complex problem.
- Read Unleashing Innovation Chapters 2 & 3.
- Watch Kepner-Tregoe’s Understanding Problems video.
- Read Spradlin, D. Are You Solving the Right Problem article.
- Review the Defining Problems PPT resource.
Assignment 1: Defining Problems