Problem Solving Facts & Tips | Suppachok Nitsoonkit, PhD | Skillshare

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Problem Solving Facts & Tips

teacher avatar Suppachok Nitsoonkit, PhD

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is the Root Cause of the Problem?

    • 3. Dig Deeper by Asking "Five Whys"

    • 4. Kepner-Tregoe Method

    • 5. Pareto Principle

    • 6. Whole System Thinking

    • 7. Adjust Your Speed of Thinking

    • 8. Effective Brainstorming

    • 9. Approaching Problem with Mind Mapping

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About This Class

Do you have a critical problem that you are having trouble solving? 

You cannot solve any problem unless you can get to the root cause and many times there is more than one.

In this class you will learn techniques for identifying the root cause of a problem, generating options, and selecting the best solution for your business issues.

Learning objectives

  • Identifying the real problem
  • Finding possible solutions

Meet Your Teacher

Suppachok believes in better educate in people and has passionate about helping them to broaden knowledge in business, management, technology, and related skills.

He holds a BS in Civil Engineering, a MS in Systems and Network Management, and a PhD in Public Policy and Management. 

Depending on the diverse cultures of the business world, learners may continue to adapt and apply knowledges to suit their own geographic environment.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Problem-solving is a critical skill in all aspects of business, from people problems to technical problems and from short-term to long-term problem. So let's say problem-solve. We happen in every ankle business. And for selecting the best option, the decision-making part, you will use both logic, intuition. As I started out life as an engineer, a consultant, management, and an instructor. So I started on technical problems before going on to management and having to deal with more with people problems and system problems. And I saw this is an opportunity because every problem that comes up is a chance for us to improve what we do. This class will help with all sorts of techniques you can learn and use to increase your creativity and to improve your decision-making. So it's an important and fascinating area and you can learn to, we could add it. See you in the class. 2. What is the Root Cause of the Problem?: The absolute first step in the process of problem-solving. And the one that often gets missed out is to be sure you have got the accurate right cause facing the wrong moot courts will not help e.g. replacing the wrong part, installing the wrong software version or even replacing the wrong person. This happens all the time in everywhere. E.g. many people think that if they could get pairwise, they will enjoy their work more and be happy in life. But money might not be the cause of their unhappiness or the lack of enjoyment of the job. Or if you are not sleeping well, is because the fact that you bet is not comfortable enough for the room is not dark enough, or there is noise or is its face inside your head? If it is stress, then a new bed will not help. Sometimes we do not know the cause, so we resort to live in with the product instead. In manufacturing inside the factories, this would mean using inspection to just throw away the bad ones, which is wasteful and also a few bad ones we surely still always get through. In one factory where I worked as a consultant, they made very thin plastic bags and the machine had about 80 settings. There were lots of rollers with temperature and pressure and speed settings. And when the machine was working badly, we just fill it with everything hoping to get the combination right. It was only after months experimenting that we found that the cost was from only one molar, it had to be running at just the right speed. So we put it very accurate speed controller and that one rolling because finding, because that was the real key, Sometimes there are two causes and you only know about one of them. So the problem continues even after you can do a fixed it. An example of this would be your computer, laptop running slowly and maybe there are a number of unwanted applications running on it. Finding just one you'll not be enough. Sometimes one called may have two or more effects and you only see the effects. You start to assume that one effect is causing the other. E.g. in cold weather, more people can exercise in a gene and some get into difficulties and even faint, which is clearly a problem that needs solving. Also encode where the more people drink juice and you are monitoring these two things, you will notice a correlation between twos, consumption and venting. And you might start thinking about banning juice. But in fact, if you ban juice, you will not solve the provenance or because you have not got to the root cause, which is the cold weather. So step one is to work out because and tackle that. You have to make sure it is the real costs. And the best way to do that is to compare control groups. Is there a difference in the exercising accidents between people who are drunk juice and those who are not. The people who get into difficulties have recently been drinking too, then it may indeed be the cost. And as everyone in the gym, that Firm 2's comparing the proportions of juice drinking in the chairman in the tomb course, we'll get into difficulties. That is the way to prove it is the real costs. And if it is not, then you have to keep looking for what might be. The first part of the process is to get a list of possible causes, everything that is different about the ones who have a problem, then work out which one or ones are the real costs, then you can work on fixing that problem. So for the problem, you have in mind, what is the root cause? And are you sure there are not any other causes as well? 3. Dig Deeper by Asking "Five Whys": Many times it has happened that the cause of a problem might've even deeper cause, and it is necessary to track them right down to the root. For doing this, there is an effective technique known as the Five Whys. The idea is that you ask why maybe up to five terms, certainly more than once until you get right down to the start of the problem. E.g. the phone number is wrong in the company contact this directory, the ground. You could just pretty great. But first, why is it wrong? Because Peter type the wrong. Why did PDA type it wrong? Because Peter was a temporary intern who maybe did not care or perhaps was not trained. Why would someone like Peter doing this job? Why was not p the train? Why did not someone check what Peter was Dewey? Because there is not a proper quality system for looking after intense. They'll quality system. Why is not their quality system? You could see how asking why a few times begins to uncover a whole lot of problems in the system. In fact, sometimes the five whys are not just the chain. It can be more of a tree. Sometimes there are several underlying causes, e.g. Bibles, the delivery late. Well, it could have been that we we're short of staff, may be a machine broke down or perhaps we had a last minute quality problem. You then need to find out why these three things happen. And again, shortage of staff could have a number of causes. So you end up with a tree of clauses and they all need to be sorted. And sometimes the Five Whys can go around in a circle. E.g. why are we running out of fish in the Pacific? It is because fishermen are using net with smaller mesh and are catching all the small fish before they can grow into big ones. Small needs. Why is that? It is because there are no big ones where they have to catch the smaller ones. But why are there no big fish left? Is because are the small ones are being caught. Hang on a minute. We have just been there. So what is happening is that the small nets are causing that we know beat 12f and that means we have to have smaller and smaller units. So in this case, we have to break the loop and stop the use of smaller nets, which is not going to be easy. But usually the Five Whys in an organization ends up pointing to one place, and that is management. E.g. quality problems are caused by lack of training or processes, which are caused by lack of attention from management. Or bad boss is caused by a system that encourages bad behavior may be poverty. So bullying and the cost of the system being like there is lack of measurement, real results or neck alignment objectives between departments or lack of training or lack of monitoring of staff morale. And these are our management problems for all management. In the end, everything is management's fault. And of course, the result of disease, the lead is not necessarily in management interests to ask why too many terms a good manager would still do this. A bad manager would often just read a fixed the surface problem where to dig deeper and find something big and expensive and possibly their fault. But to solve the problem, you must get to the root cause so it will keep popping up. So I would like you to ask why at least two or three times with a problem that you have in mind at the moment. And maybe draw it out as a tree as you find more than one possible underlying costs. And keep digging deeper until you feel that you are cut to the railroad. It 4. Kepner-Tregoe Method: From the past back in the 1950s, Kitchener and trickle came up with the cabinet tree go problem-solving method, which is still in use today. It is a very comprehensive and mechanical process where you analyze the situation, define the problem and the causes, sometimes known as root cause analysis. Then you identify and evaluate possible solutions, select the best one, and then you consider possible risks with the solution that you have chosen. It is obviously brilliant and it was originally used by nasa. But generally, I think for and cabinet trigger is probably a bit over the top for more smaller problems that you might be working on. Start with something like the computer problem you can experiment to find out we'll use a problem and really is not often by swapping things over. So when the computer will not print the first thing we try and our team is have we tried getting a trickle? And this will involve, does it print from the laptop? It gets then it is not the printer. It is your computer. If no, then it is the printer. The printer, the one that uses a wire rather than Wi-Fi. This will tell us about the Wi-Fi. Does it print some documents and not others? This will tell us whether the problem is within Office applications. Similarly, if something will not switch on, it might be the fuse and the plot, or a faulty connecting lead. The thing itself might be dead. So cabinet trigger would say try it with a differently. Of course, you might have to faulty leads. But it usually that is working with a different plants and then swap it into your faulty one. And you can find out DVDs to lead on the actual piece of equipment that is broke. Also, try plugging in into a different socket. In cases the socket swap everything over until you find out what the problem really is. This even applies to people. You haven't underperforming person. Try and moving them, swapping them with someone else. Then you can really find out DVDs, the person or somebody in a job, e.g. the manager. I hope you liked this part of cabinet tree ego as much as I do. And now, for your problem that you have in mind, could you swap something over and see if the problem carries on, it goes away. In each case, what would that tell you? 5. Pareto Principle: Now I will guide for problem-solving from Italian economist named Bill Fredo Pareto. Most people have heard of the 80 20 principle, which is also known as the Pareto principle or the names for these principle and not the vital few on the principle of factors. Possibly. We started with the observation that 80 per cent of the land in the Kingdom of Italy in 18 96 was owned by 20 per cent of the people. This AD to any rule applied to a lot of other things to do some math, I will not go into here. E.g. 80 per cent of your problems probably come from 20% of your customers and 80 per cent of your problems who come from 20 per cent of because it's, in other words, there are a few underlying causes that are causing most of your problems. But what is the use of knowing this? Well, the point is that if you focus on eradicating just 20 per cent of your problems, you will save 80 per cent of the cost, 80% of the time and money that they are costing you. So the first step is to work out what they are. You make a list of all your problems and work out the cost of each and then tackle the top ones. You can look for sample any problems such as lab, all the reasons that machines in a factory you have to stop all the reasons that you sent items back to suppliers. So are the reasons that time gets wasted on the causes of campaigns are reasons why people leave the company. And then you lock those for each time they happen. Or you measure the cost of the midterm they happen. You will soon be able to add up which ones are the main culprits. The good news is that there will not be many to tackle. Out of say, ten courses. You will only need to tackle to the other eight being all the small ones, they only add up to 20 per cent of the cost. If you think about it, these top two causes and not just for time's is costly if the other 816 time just causeway, because being only 20%, there are quarter as many of them and being worth 80%, they are four times as expensive in total. So that is a factor of 16. So it is really important to focus on them. In other words, if two of them cost $800 and the remaining eight in cost the remaining $200 in the first two are costing $400 each and the other eight are costing only $25 each. So there is indeed a factor of 60 in-between the most valuable and the rest. So you will be met not to focus on those top two. I saw an amazing video that talk with the guy prioritized on the biggest problems in the world such as overpopulation, starvation, disease, climate change, its door. And he then rated them for size and chances of being able to fix them. And these analysis said that we should just focus on the top two instead of trying to fix them all and failing on all of them. So if you can do that, you can list your province in the organisation or a new life and then work out which one or two the target first and really focus on that top 20%. So thinking about your example problem, what are the possible causes? And then can you measure which are the top 20 per cent of those? 6. Whole System Thinking: You can identify the root cause of a problem by keeping your calf. The whole system. There is a great book called Why Things Bite back, which says that often you will fix something. But if you somehow come back again, e.g. when they made kid's playground safer by putting big soft sponge on the ground around the climbing frames. All that happened was that the kids climb higher, jumped off more because they knew they were soft sponge there. The number of accidents stayed the same because the kids risk tolerance will still the same ratio until they were somewhere without soft sponge. And then of course, they had not learned what it feels like to fall onto concrete. Or another example would be that the city committees might think that widening the road might improve traffic congestion. But in fact, you would probably just get more people using that road since it is now quicker to use. So you end up with a congested Route again and no improvement in Germany term. So the key is to think about what will happen over time if you make your change. In a book, The Fifth Discipline, peter Senge, says that humans are not good at planning ahead. In fact, anything that has a time lag of more than about 2 s for size. If there is a two second time lag in the shower, you turn up the wall and you think this is not working. So you turn it up some more and it is too hot. So you turn it right down and then it is freezing. And it is the same if you try to drive a super car in a computer game and there is a slight time lag on this theory. It is really hard. And you end up swerving left and then swirl, be white. And of course, in your work there might be a time lag of miles between the price change and the amount you sell, advertising and how much you sell. During which time you will be thinking cut the price more or cancel the advertiser. You're just not working. While I'm talking about Peter Senge's book, I want to mention another idea for me which relates to problem-solving and how we are not good at standing back and looking at the whole system. He calls it the illusion of control. Often managers make decisions based on the evidence that they have. They are basically reacting to the situation. And then the sensible manager would make that same decision. Production is behind schedule. So let's work overtime at the weekend. The manager thinks they are in control, but really they are just a cog in the machine. Makes the cost of overtime are too high. There is a big cut back, but then production starts to get behind again. It is just like the person swinging the temperature around in the shower. So ideally the manager would stand back and analyze the system and set it up in the optimal way. Says that systems consist of feedback loops and time delays. And it is the combination of peace that we are bad at coping with. When the feedback comes back to bite you later. You do not worry about it until later. Many of you have got worse. But if you draw the product now, there's a flow diagram. You can then think about how to cut below in case of lower quantity of fish in reciprocal of fishing, where it is the logical action for each fisherman in the short-term, maters net smaller to get the remaining fish. But in the longer term, they lose because they end up chasing after smaller and smaller fish at once. They understand the system and see that smaller Nestle to everyone getting smaller fish, they can see that they need to bring in quotas and net controls and work together to get the stocks backup again. And then we can all gain. And it is the same in an organization. Once you realize that stopping training will lead to more problems later, or that Caddy people's pay might not save you money in the long run because you will not be able to retain and recruit good people. Or that cutting your prices might not lead to enough new cells to make up for the loss in profit margin. You can then make scientific decisions for your problem and the solution that you are considering. Can you see any longer-term effects that might end up coming back again and again. 7. Adjust Your Speed of Thinking: Many people solve problems intuitively. They just lead to an amazing and create new answer. They probably could not even tell you how they did it. They just jump there. But if they cannot make the leap for some reason, then they stop. And if the problem involves conditions and numbers, that is much harder for them, or the people use the logical side of their brain much more. They like to slowly nibble away at the product until they have salt on it. This works really well for some problems. But if there isn't intuitively to be MAY, then they cannot make that leap. So it is clear that ideally, you would use both parts of your brain. Your brain, most intuitive, the logical part. Sometimes you can do this by working with the two different types of people. So everything gets covered. But if you are on your own, you should definitely try to tap into both parts of your ability. They are both there somewhere in your brain. You can practice by use a bit of analyzing than creatively, than logic again, to think about what it means, to tidy it up, ready for the next creatively. So try to use all the parts of your brain for whatever your problem is. Are you personally more prone to using just logic or might be creative part of your brain. Which part could you consciously work on develope. 8. Effective Brainstorming: Everyone ever heard the best-known process for generating ideas is a good brainstorm. In any way, what I want to say about brainstorms is that most people do their brainstorms while in one simple way, but it is really important. And that is that they charge each idea as it comes up, instead of just getting lots of ideas instead, one and then completely separately instead to judging the ideas. It is human nature to charge each idea, but you must resist the temptation. Just write each one on the list. The CBD is fine, even if it is at least took it. Can every idea on the list. There are four reasons for doing it like this. First is that you can bounce from a stupid idea to a great one. So who knows where that stupid idea might lead? Second is that it puts a damper on people's creativity if their ideas are criticised and you want to keep them rolling, keep all those ideas coming. Maybe they will have to pass through ten bad ideas before they come up with the good one. And you do not want to switch him off after the first ten, or perhaps after their first one by telling them that their ideas are not good enough. 30s ownership, people waste time in bias the process by are doing for their own ideas. They naturally defend their own ideas. What did you just make a great big list and then come back to judging it later. People do not feel the need to defend their own ideas so much. They often cannot even remember whose idea was which. So they can properly judge each one and choose the actual best one. You do not just end up with the one that was suggested by the most dominant person. Finally, the fourth reason is that you are using different parts of your brain for the two phases. The first creative phase is using what is known as the White brain. Childish, fun. Creative part needs to be on maximum. Then in the second phase, you use the logical, adult, sensible, often called left-brain, to judge the ideas. And this is a completely different mode. It would be really hard to swap between the two modes constantly. In fact, most people in a bad brainstorm just stick to one mod. So a few people are suggesting ideas and the others are judging them. So you lose the creativity of half the group. And the creative one says, start to hit the others. So much better to have everyone being creative and then later everyone judging. So there you are. That is all you need to know about brainstorming. Everyone coming up with ideas we didn't have on a board with no judging, criticizing allowed. Then later you go to the meniscus, which ones are best. 9. Approaching Problem with Mind Mapping: One of the famous tool when I have got a complicated problem to solve is a mindmap. There is something about them that just feels natural and it helps me to think they work much better than a list. So here is what a mind map looks like. They were invented by Tony Buzan in 1974. And the good thing about them is that they really do reflect how you think they make the problem visual. They use bought your creative side and your structured thinking side. They are quick to draw and you can add extra items in any order justice, you think of them also because it starts in the middle, as you spread out, there is always space for my subsections. These are effective tips for making them were extra whale. Firstly, use paper or canvas in landscape mode rather than portrait. I do not know how Tony Buzan decided this, but I'm pretty sure he is right there. Just feel better somehow. Next, use color and I deal with pictures and cartoons as well to be new mind map to life, then consider using a whiteboard. If you're at work, they have loads of space, well-being are this easy? And the whole group can contribute to mapping out the problem and possible solutions. Then you can photograph it with your phone once it's finished. The x, perhaps surprisingly, tablets are great for drawing mine maps because you can move the branches around with your fingers if one area gets a bit crowded. In fact, with some version to the branches automatically space themselves out as you add more. Also on a tablet, you can zoom out to see the whole thing and then zoom in to look at parts of it. And you can hide sections if you want to have lots of detail, but not get confused by seeing it all in one go. You could even use your phone to draw mindmaps. There are free apps are though personally I find this screen of the phone a bit small. You do need some decent space for drawing out a proper mind map. I think a couple of other uses for mindmaps while I'm on the subject. And number one, note-taking, it's been shown that retention with subject is greater if you draw out a mind map rather than just reading notes. And number two, use not to explaining something to other people. A mindmap can be better than bullet points. And all you need is a sheet of paper with a Mind Map Sketch, bounded or graphic on the screen to point to. The one limitation of mind maps is that if you have multiple causes and multiple solutions, say solution y will help with courses 1.2, the mind map is great for showing how they own income. But overall, I would strongly recommend the mind map for approaching any problem. Either when you are on your own thinking through it, are working with a group wanted to see it. If you have never used a mind map, you should definitely give them a try. Maybe after this session you could try drawing one out for problems that you have in mind.