Coming up with the same solutions is a path to being outdated, stuck and competing only on price. This is the path to irrelevance and obsolescence.
Seeing the World.
How we see the world is shaped by our assumptions and perceptions. This is an issue because we see only what we expect to see. This mindset is formed from our education, training, viewing, reading and experiences.
There is nothing wrong having a mindset. We all have mindsets. But they can limit what you learn, think about, and the answers you come up with. This is why we work in teams and workshops with people of different responsibilities, professions, and backgrounds. To build a bigger diversified pictures.
The other thing to realize is teams often are as limited as we personally are. Groupthink is a truth we must face and overcome.
Problem Solving Errors
Initial analysis, ideas, and solutions are anchors that can prevent us from going further. They are strong and it takes more information to overcome our snap judgments.
This is why you often see teams trying to solver the wrong problem. They don’t realize they have jumped to a conclusion based on their experience. Have often seen managers blame production people for quality issues and just change the worker.
My saving grace is blaming the system, not the people involved. Allows me to see a bigger picture before trying to define a problem. The problem may have be out of tolerance parts, worn out tooling, bad design, machine wear, chips in the fixture, weak clamping force, and insufficient training.
My weakness is being stuck on one solution, the ‘best’ one. Was especially true when I was young. Experienced co-workers would often want ‘plan B’s to follow. I was try this and adjust if it does not preform as expected. Did not explore options as well as needed. My mindset has changed from learning more about mitigation.
Mind you often simple problems are often resolved with the first solution. Complicated issues having more risks and less predictable results require us to look deeply, create multiple ideas, and mitigate everything.
A tentative hypothesis is the enemy of new hypotheses. How long does it take you to change your mind?
This comes from our mindsets, and we need to get past our limits to the best of our ability. Especially when dealing with ambiguous situations.
How do We Clear Our Mindset?
Being disciplined and have a checklist is a great start. You want to have a method to follow to not skip steps.
Research the Issue
Who is complaining? Why? What are the consequences? Costs? Who is affected? What will be the effect for the customer? Effect for their consumer? Collect as much information, data, view points and issues as possible to mitigate.
Use an Organized System to Collect Possible Solutions
Do not overlook anyone’s ideas. Often we can ignore people because they don’t have the credentials. One of the best cost savings involved with came from the material handler and floor sweeper. Great ideas come from anywhere and we can build on them to make them better.
Rank and Prioritize Solutions
Get as many solutions together. How much will it cost to enact them? How much time will it take? Which issues do these solutions solve? The best solution is usually a combination of ideas and methods beyond the initial proposal. Don’t forget the quick fix has to be followed by a permanent solution.
Failed solutions are often incomplete implementations. Other issues come up. Orders and new tooling have delays. Project manage plans until they are complete. Save solving the same issue next year.
Psychology of Intelligence Analysis - online book on critical thinking, written by Richards J. Heuer of the CIA