Identifying the Likely Causes of Problems (Also known as Cause and Effect Diagrams, Fishbone Diagrams, Ishikawa Diagrams, Herringbone Diagrams, and Fishikawa Diagrams.) Find all possible problems. © iStockphoto/ragsac Cause and Effect Analysis (Fishbone Diagrams) - Problem Solving Tools from MindTools
Looking at a Decision From All Points of View Look at decisions from many angles, with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson. 'Six Thinking Hats' is an important and powerful technique. It is used to look at decisions from a number of important perspectives. This forces you to move outside your habitual thinking style, and helps you to get a more rounded view of a situation.
How the CIA define problems & plan solutions: The Phoenix Checklist In a recent BBH Labs post (Wind Tunnel Marketing, The Sequel: On the Need for Divergent Insight) that talked about the need for divergent thinking and stimulus in approaching problem solving (& creative ideation), Chaz Wigley, the Chairman of BBH in Asia Pacific, mentioned how the CIA‘s (I’ve always wanted to link to the CIA) Problem Definition Checklist provoked precisely this kind of approach; rounded, many-faceted, flexible. We now have from Chaz not only the list of questions the CIA use to define problems, but also (thanks to Iqbal Mohammed) the follow-up list they use to develop the plan. Which seems kind of important too. My personal favourite question in the problem definition list is the somewhat open-ended: ‘what isn’t the problem?’.