Start with solutions, you’ve got a problem.

Start with solutions, you’ve got a problem.

When you start with solutions, you’ve got a problem.

Einstein once said “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.” Imagine that: focusing 92% of our energy on identifying the problem, and 8% on the solution. 

That’s not – for the most part – how things are done today. We’re a nation of “cut to the chase”: we talk in headlines, and exclamation marks, rather than in root causes and question marks. Vast sums of money are spent on solutions: “we need more brand awareness”, “our social media isn’t working”, “we need a lead generation plan”: solutions that are based on a presumption of the problem.

So, let’s start at the beginning from now on. Let’s start with an open discussion about problem identification. There are a variety of problem identification techniques: Root Cause Analysis (RCA), fishbone diagrams, cause and effect analysis. For marketers it can be as simple as using Sakichi Toyoda’s “Five Whys”:  ask “why?” five times and you will begin separating symptoms from problems.

There’s probably no better argument for problem-based development than some of the poorly thought out quick COVID fixes that have been tossed around. Let’s all slow down, spend more time defining the problem, so we better understand why a solution worked. 

Imagine how much different marcom would be if RFP stood for “Really Find the Problem.”

That’s our opinion. What’s yours?  

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