Tag Archives: solutions

The Real Problem with Problems

The Real Problem with Problems

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If you don’t know what the problem is, that’s your first problem.

A problem can’t be a problem unless there’s a solution. If there’s no possible solution, don’t try to solve it, because it’s not a problem.

If there’s no problem, you have a big problem.

If you’re trying to solve a problem, but the solution is outside your sphere of influence, you’re taking on someone else’s problem.

If someone tries to give you a gift but you don’t accept it, it’s still theirs. It’s like that with problems.

If you want someone to do the right thing, create a problem for them that, when solved, the right thing gets done.

Problems are good motivators and bad caretakers.

A problem is between two things, e.g., a hammer and your thumb. Your job is to figure out the right two things.

When someone tries to give you their problem, keep your hands in your pockets.

A problem can be solved before it happens, while it happens, or after it happened. Each time domain has different solutions, different costs, and different consequences. Your job is to choose the most appropriate time domain.

If you have three problems, solve one at a time until you’re done.

Solving someone else’s problem is a worst practice.

If you solve the wrong problem, you consume all the resources needed to solve the right problem without any of the benefits of solving it.

Ready, fire, aim is no way to solve problems.

When it comes to problems, defining IS solving.

If you learn one element of problem-solving, learn to see when someone is trying to give you their problem.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Problems vs. Solutions vs. Complaints

Problems vs. Solutions vs. Complaints

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If you see a problem, tell someone. But, also, tell them how you’d like to improve things.

Once you see a problem, you have an obligation to seek a solution.

Complaining is telling someone they have a problem but stopping short of offering solutions.

To stop someone from complaining, ask them how they might make the situation better.

Problems are good when people use them as a forcing function to create new offerings.

Problems are bad when people articulate them and then go home early.

Thing is, problems aren’t good or bad. It’s our response that determines their flavor.

If it’s your problem, it can never be our solution.

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to solve a different one.

Problem-solving is 90% problem definition and 10% getting ready to define the problem.

When people don’t look critically at the situation, there are no problems. And that’s a big problem.

Big problems require big solutions. And that’s why it’s skillful to convert big ones into smaller ones.

Solving the right problem is much more important than solving the biggest problem.

If the team thinks it’s impossible to solve the problem, redefine the problem and solve that one.

You can relabel problems as “opportunities” as long as you remember they’re still problems

When it comes to problem-solving, there is no partial credit. A problem is either solved or it isn’t.

Image credit: Pixabay

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From Problem to Solution: Applying the Design Thinking Process

From Problem to Solution: Applying the Design Thinking Process

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In today’s world, where challenges and problems arise daily, organizations and individuals are constantly seeking effective solutions. The traditional problem-solving methods are no longer enough to tackle complex and ambiguous issues. This is where the design thinking process comes into play.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation and problem-solving. It focuses on understanding the needs of people in order to create innovative solutions that are both useful and sustainable. By applying a structured and iterative approach, design thinking encourages creativity, collaboration, and empathy to tackle problems from multiple angles. Let’s explore two case study examples that highlight the effectiveness of the design thinking process.

Case Study 1: IDEO’s Success with the Palm V

In the late 1990s, Palm Computing faced a significant challenge. Its early personal digital assistants (PDA) were clunky and unintuitive, failing to gain mass market appeal. Palm turned to the design firm IDEO to lead a design thinking process that would transform their product.

IDEO conducted in-depth interviews and observations to understand user needs. They discovered that people wanted a device that was slim, convenient, and easy to use. By shifting their focus from technology-driven features to user-centric needs, IDEO’s team devised the concept of the Palm V.

Through multiple iterations and constant feedback from users, IDEO crafted a sleek PDA that fit in the palm of the hand. The design thinking process allowed IDEO to transform the PDA into an intuitive and user-friendly device. The Palm V became a tremendous success, revolutionizing the PDA market for years to come.

Case Study 2: Airbnb’s Rapid Growth and Disruption

At its inception in 2008, Airbnb faced a challenging problem. The founders struggled to find a scalable business model and to attract users to their home-sharing platform. In search of a solution, they applied the design thinking process.

The founders immersed themselves in their customers’ experiences, staying in homes listed on their platform and meeting with hosts to understand their pain points. By empathizing with both sides of the marketplace, they identified opportunities for improvement.

Through iterative prototyping and constant feedback loops, Airbnb gradually improved its platform, introducing features such as professional photography, guest reviews, and secure payment systems. These enhancements addressed key user concerns, increased trust, and facilitated bookings.

By applying the principles of design thinking, Airbnb not only solved its immediate problem but also disrupted the entire hospitality industry. Today, Airbnb is a household name with millions of listings worldwide.


These two case studies demonstrate how the design thinking process can lead to innovative and impactful solutions. By shifting the focus to users’ needs, using iterative methods, and fostering collaboration, organizations and individuals can tackle complex problems with creativity and empathy. Whether it’s revolutionizing the PDA industry or disrupting the hospitality market, design thinking provides a framework for turning problems into solutions.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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Making the Most of AI-Powered Business Solutions

Making the Most of AI-Powered Business Solutions

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of the business landscape, revolutionizing the way organizations operate, streamline processes, and make data-driven decisions. With the ability to analyze vast amounts of data in real-time, AI-powered business solutions are transforming industries and helping companies gain a competitive edge. In this article, we will explore two case studies that showcase how businesses are harnessing the power of AI to drive innovation and success.

Case Study 1: Retail Giant Boosts Sales and Personalization with AI

One of the world’s largest retail chains sought to enhance its customer experience and increase sales through targeted marketing campaigns. By leveraging AI-powered business solutions, the company was able to analyze customer data, preferences, and purchase history to develop personalized recommendations for each shopper.

Using advanced machine learning algorithms, the AI system analyzed vast amounts of customer data, including demographics, online behavior, and purchase patterns, to identify trends and patterns. This insight enabled the retail giant to segment their customer base and tailor marketing campaigns based on individual preferences.

As a result, the company achieved significant improvements in customer engagement and loyalty. By sending targeted offers and product recommendations, they saw a substantial increase in sales conversion rates. Additionally, the personalized approach led to higher customer satisfaction, as shoppers felt that the brand understood their needs and preferences.

Case Study 2: Healthcare Provider Enhances Diagnosis Accuracy with AI

A leading healthcare provider aimed to improve diagnostic accuracy by leveraging AI technology. The organization utilized AI algorithms to analyze diverse patient data, medical images, and electronic records, allowing doctors to make more precise and efficient diagnoses.

Through deep learning techniques, the AI-powered system was able to analyze thousands of medical images, identify patterns, and highlight potential areas of concern. This not only expedited the diagnosis process but also reduced the rate of misdiagnosis.

The healthcare provider also integrated AI in their electronic health records (EHR) system to enable real-time analysis of patient data. This allowed doctors to receive immediate alerts and recommendations based on critical health indicators, ensuring timely intervention and proactive care.

By implementing AI-powered business solutions, the healthcare provider witnessed a significant improvement in diagnostic accuracy and patient outcomes. The technology not only reduced the burden on healthcare professionals but also enhanced patient trust and satisfaction.


These case studies demonstrate how AI-powered business solutions can revolutionize industries and drive transformative success. By leveraging the power of AI, companies can gain deep insights into customer preferences, develop personalized marketing strategies, enhance diagnostic accuracy, and improve patient outcomes.

However, it is essential to note that implementing AI systems requires an understanding of the technology and its potential impact on business operations. Organizations must invest in robust data infrastructure, ensure ethical usage of data, and provide adequate training to employees to leverage AI effectively.

As AI continues to evolve, businesses that embrace and integrate AI-powered solutions will accelerate their growth, stay ahead of the competition, and deliver exceptional value to their customers.

Image credit: Pixabay

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A Simple Idea to Save Oil

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

Here is a great marketing campaign from S-Oil in South Korea which took the challenge of finding ways to decrease oil consumption in South Korea and turned it into a marketing campaign:

In this case the solution highlighted in the video is one potential solution of many to the challenge of decreasing oil consumption, and is focused on reducing the amount of oil consumed searching for a parking spot.

The one thing I didn’t understand was why “HERE” was in English instead of Korean characters… (NOTE: I had to replace the video and the new one is in English)

But anyways…

What simple solution is hiding under your nose?

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Improving Education for 20 Cents a Student

I love examples of simple, inexpensive solutions that solve important problems. Solutions like the water bottle light, the gravity light, etc., and Mike Freeston was kind enough to send this most recent example that I will share with you today. Thank you Mike!

The video details the work of a Non-Governmental Organization (aka NGO), that was created as a Community Service Center for marginalized families in rural areas an urban slums. It’s called Aarambh, and they wanted to help students who don’t even have the basic facilities, to be more comfortable and productive at school.

Most schools in rural India have two basic problems:

  1. Schools don’t have proper desks, which leads to poor eyesight, bad posture and bad writing.
  2. Students don’t have school bags.

Aarambh came up with a solution which tackled both these problems with a single, thoughtful design.

Aarambh came up with a design for portable desks made using discarded cardboard boxes (aka cartons). This choice for raw materials is both economical, and easily available. The stencil design, when cut and folded, creates a desk suitable for use by students whom must sit on the floor AND it also can serve as a school bag.


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Harnessing the Global Talent Pool to Accelerate Innovation

In this webinar hosted by Innocentive I explore how organizations can utilize open innovation and crowdsourcing resources as an essential talent management strategy to drive their business.

You can engage me to create a webinar or white paper for your audience here.

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Innovation Quotes of the Day – May 11, 2012

“Framing and reframing the right problem is perhaps the most important attribute of success. No pain (problem), no gain (solution).?”

– Sanjiv Karani

“You must find a way to create resource flexibility. Organizations that want to continue to grow and thrive must staff the organization in a way that allows managers to invest a portion of their employees’ time into promising innovation projects.”

– Braden Kelley

“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”

– Peter Drucker

What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?

Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!

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Innovation Can Come From Anyone

Innovation Can Come From Anyone“Innovation can come from anyone, but it is required from everyone for an organization to remain successful.”

Or taken another way:

“Innovation can come from anywhere, but you must be looking everywhere to find it.”

Innovation comes from good listening, observing, watching, waiting, connecting, and synthesizing.

Innovation comes from the creation of a unique, differentiated customer insight that you can build your ideation, your experimentation, your collaboration, and your commercialization efforts around. The goal of course is to turn that unique, differentiated insight into solutions valued above every existing alternative. Solutions that not only create value, but that you also stand ready and able to help people access and understand the need for and relevance in their life.

It is because innovation can come from anywhere and can involve everyone in the organization in making innovation happen that I created The Nine Innovation Roles and my innovation value framework, to help people make sense of what is necessary to make innovation successful as they form their innovation project teams and process, and to give people a simple framework to hold close as they think about creating innovation success.

I hope you’ll check out both of these and let me know what you think!

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