I was asked recently about helping to solve a problem that was quite perplexing. It was difficult for this group of people to wrap their heads around it because the problem seemed to be going around and around. In their view, it was circular. Much like the chicken and the egg problem.

Let's say the problem deals with international advertising. They want to build a web advertising solution that is for non-English websites. But they are picky with which language to support and having problem convincing potential advertisers that enough "eye-balls" are out there for them to reach. Web sites in the local languages are reluctant to use the web advertising solution because they not enough advertisers and therefore revenue. This limits the places where the ads can be shown. Which them limits the number of "eye-balls" or the audience numbers. Not enough "eye-balls", not enough advertisers. Not enough advertisers, not enough participation from websites and not enough "eye-balls". And around and around it goes.

To begin solving something like this,

So I asked the question: "Have you faced something like this before". The answer was yes. So what was the solution the last time, I asked? They went into detailed discussion on how they were solved, taking pains to point out that each solution was different. I asked them to describe it in more simpler terms. They did but I then asked them to simplify it further. I repeated the process until they couldn't do so anymore. The could not describe to me what they did in more simpler terms that they had already did. What happened was that there were details that they demanded to be included in describing the solution. However, I pressed them further to come up with a description that would explain most of the solutions in a single way. This went on until they became quite agitated. Finally, someone in the room said it, "We threw more money at it." That's it, I pointed out.

So I asked, "How would you solve this problem then?".

"Throw more money at it."

"Where would you throw the money at?" I asked. This brought about a lively discussion of possibilities. Different strategies were developed around the central theme of "Throw more money at it". Of course, this involved responsibly throwing money. Or spending money. I explained to them that justifying their solutions now should be easier because it was based the same successful premise that solve the other previous problem. They now realized that by paying websites to carry their advertising clients adverts, the number of "eye-balls" would increase. They called this 'investing'. I called it 'seeding'. The best part is, they found a way to justify spending money on improving translations.

I've purposely masked the issues and problem because I can't talk about it exactly. But my example here is very close. The takeaway is this:

Let's say the problem deals with international advertising. They want to build a web advertising solution that is for non-English websites. But they are picky with which language to support and having problem convincing potential advertisers that enough "eye-balls" are out there for them to reach. Web sites in the local languages are reluctant to use the web advertising solution because they not enough advertisers and therefore revenue. This limits the places where the ads can be shown. Which them limits the number of "eye-balls" or the audience numbers. Not enough "eye-balls", not enough advertisers. Not enough advertisers, not enough participation from websites and not enough "eye-balls". And around and around it goes.

To begin solving something like this,

**the main strategy****is to break the cycle**. When people see a problem as being circular, they may actually be seeing something as a cycle or cyclic. Like with the chicken and the egg question, most people go through the cycle looking for a solution. It is no surprise they ended back where they started. Try taking a step back and look at the cycle. If the cycle can be broken, where it can be broken safely is where the solution lies or where the solution begins.So I asked the question: "Have you faced something like this before". The answer was yes. So what was the solution the last time, I asked? They went into detailed discussion on how they were solved, taking pains to point out that each solution was different. I asked them to describe it in more simpler terms. They did but I then asked them to simplify it further. I repeated the process until they couldn't do so anymore. The could not describe to me what they did in more simpler terms that they had already did. What happened was that there were details that they demanded to be included in describing the solution. However, I pressed them further to come up with a description that would explain most of the solutions in a single way. This went on until they became quite agitated. Finally, someone in the room said it, "We threw more money at it." That's it, I pointed out.

So I asked, "How would you solve this problem then?".

"Throw more money at it."

"Where would you throw the money at?" I asked. This brought about a lively discussion of possibilities. Different strategies were developed around the central theme of "Throw more money at it". Of course, this involved responsibly throwing money. Or spending money. I explained to them that justifying their solutions now should be easier because it was based the same successful premise that solve the other previous problem. They now realized that by paying websites to carry their advertising clients adverts, the number of "eye-balls" would increase. They called this 'investing'. I called it 'seeding'. The best part is, they found a way to justify spending money on improving translations.

I've purposely masked the issues and problem because I can't talk about it exactly. But my example here is very close. The takeaway is this:

**look at what you did right in the past or what your team is good at, and then look for the basic thrust of past solution or the basic skill that makes your team better than others. Use that as a starting point to break 'cyclic' problems.**
## 0 comments:

Post a Comment