Credits for Website. Original web format/style designed by M. Nihat Gurmen SCPS web design implementation by Michael Kravchenko and Arthur Shih. [Matching item] Strategies for creative problem solving H. Scott Fogler, Steven E. LeBlanc [electronic resource] - 2nd ed. [Matching item] Strategies for creative problem solving / H. Scott Fogler, Steven E. LeBlanc with Benjamin R. Rizzo. - Third edition. Creative Problem Solving. Buddy D. Ratner. Engineer's Toolchest. Based, in part, on: Fogler and LeBlanc, “Strategies for Creative. Problem Solving,” Prentice.
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A set creative problem-solving tools for instructional purposes is discussed. The tools of companies to study problem-solving strategies. We also carried out an . A Systematic, Proven Approach to Problem Solving–Now Fully Updated with New Examples and Interactive Resources. Strategies for Creative Problem Solving. The course is based on intensive problem-solving exercises that illustrate various creative problem-solving strategies. Students gain.
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You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation? Why not share! An annual anal Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Note that Steelcase is not a high-tech firm but operates in a basic manu- facturing industry. An important lesson to learn from this reading is that innovation is applicable to most jobs in all kinds of industries.
The Innovative Edge in Action 1. One lesson to learn from this reading is how innova- tion can be applied in a service industry. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, there is a pyra- mid that symbolizes innovation and change. Like many large, long-established American corporations, Steelcase. Its closest competitor, Herman Miller, Inc. Miller is credited with creating the "open office" by using "systems fur- niture" based on movable panels and furniture modules, and with leading in the design of the "ergonomic" chair, which constantly adjusts to changes in the user's position.
In the s, Steelcase was just a follower. Seeking to increase its dominance of the market, Steelcase has ac- quired a number of small, high-profile design companies. It now has a line of wooden office furniture and the rights to furniture designed by architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. It has also rebuilt its physical facilities and reorganized its opera- tions.
Previously, the company's designers, engineers, and marketing per- sonnel were housed in separate buildings. Now they are grouped together to facilitate employee interaction, a necessary requirement. However, physical closeness alone drielliellt does not generate cooperation and innovation. The show- piece building is more than just a flashy shape. Steelcase's idea is that everything that happens there is work, from coffee breaks to board meetings. Every inch of the build- ing is dominated by a light and airy central atrium, called the town square.
There are exterior terraces where people can work or eat. Coffee-break stations have marker boards to promote open exchange of ideas, and there are "caves" where individuals can go for solitude. The new building is already inspiring its employees. The company has introduced a sleek new line of furniture, the Context line product innovation. In the words of James C.
Soule, vice-president of the international divi- sion, "The bottom line for us is whether we produce bet- ter products. A foot pendulum, computerized to follow the sun, has been installed as a symbol of the company's commitment to continuing change. A video about the firm touts its new innovative spirit marketing innovation.
Verespej, "America's Best Plants: Steelcase," Industry Week Octo- ber 21, , pp. Sheridan, "Frank Merlotti: Indeed, it is no longer really just the banking industry but the financial services industry. Commercial banks, savings banks, and credit unions now offer services in brokerage, in-. And because of the trend toward diversification, a "commercial bank" offering a full line of services, such as Banc One, finds itself in competition with domestic rivals such as Sears, American Express, and Merrill Lynch, as well as with global banks and insurance firms.
Banks now have to think of themselves as retailers. They have to create visual excitement, and sell to their customers when they come into the bank. Com- petition is increasing and the rate of change in the industry is accelerating. Banc One's operation in upper Arlington, Ohio looks a lot more like a small shopping mall than it does a bank these days.
It incorporates several small boutiques, an insurance agency, a real estate office, a travel agency, and a discount stock brokerage prod- uct innovations. Across from these boutiques, at the bank itself, are three tellers, an automated teller machine, and a new-accounts desk.
The impact of a high-tech decor is heightened by large, bright informational banners marketing innovations. It works hard to develop new products. For example, in , branches opened personal investment centers where customers can receive investment counseling product innovation. But, it innovates not only in products but in processes, marketing, and management as well. One of its principal strategies for success is bringing its unique version of tight controls to the banks it ac- quires.
Yet, unlike other acquisition oriented banks, it doesn't fire. I sta Ifs of the banks it acquires, rather it works closely with them to show them how the other banks in a group heca me successful, and it cajoles them into following suit management innovation. In a different area of control. It has even developed a video which it sends to delin- quent credit card accounts.
This video has resulted in increased payments and reduced delinquency rates pro- cess innovation. It is considered to have leading edge technological applications in several areas process in- novation. Finally, it has produced a series of clever ads touting its resources marketing innovation.
Many bankers are not prepared for such changes. They cannot utilize their computers fully and are not prepared to make creative decisions, having spent much of their careers in a regulated environment with almost guaran- teed returns on investment. With limited competition and no change, decision making was routine and pro- grammed. Largely structured, easy decision rules were available. That is not the case any more. The bank that intends to survive has to be creative and competitive.
Research has shown that a creative indi- vidual makes better decisions than one who is strictly rational.
This is as true of bankers as of anyone else. Banc One, Feb- ruary , pp. Hirsch, "Growing Ambition: Joseph Weber, "A!
Stephen Kreider Yoder, "Quick Change: Higgins, The Management Challenge: An Introduction to Management 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, Chapter 1; James M.
Higgins and Julian W. Vincze, Strategic Man- agement: Text and Cases, 5th ed. Dryden Press, Chapter 1. For example see: William P. Free Press, pp.
Porter; Competitive Strategy New York: Little found that 92 percent believed that inno- vation was critical to the future success of their firm — "Common Sense, Experiences Are Not Enough: Foster consultant , Innovation: The Attacker's Advantage New York: Summitt Books, p. Peters consultant and researcher , Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution New York: Knopf, pp.
Amal Kumar Naj, "Creative Energy: Al, A9. John G. Young, "What is Creativity? July , pp. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. Adapted slightly from their seven Ss model—strategy, structure, sys- tems, style, staff, skills, shared values culture. Peters, loc. Everytime a manager or leader directs people in producing a product or service, problems are being solved, decisions made.
Every time any member of an organization thinks of a new way to reduce costs, invents a new product or service, or determines how to help the organization function better in some way, problem solving is taking place. But, whether the problem solving occurring in these situations is truly cre- ative is another question, one that deserves a closer look. For individuals, the development of creative problem-solving skills is a necessity, not a luxury. The chapter be- by describing the traditional problem-solving process p rad iced by business people for many years.
It then dis- cusses how problem solving can be made more creative. It thus sets the stage for examining the aspects of problem solv- ing in which creativity may be used to its fullest extent. But in recent years we have come to realize that a strictly rational approach misses the whole point of problem solving.
Creativity is vi- tal to successful problem solving. The problem-solving pro- Figure 2.
Making Assumptions. Generating Alternatives. Evaluation and Choice. There are eight basic stages in the creative problem solving process: Figure 2. Determine Primary Situational Factors. These stages are shown in Figure 2.
The middle four of IIu m proNeni 'den t it i at ion and the select 1 Personal, non-work-related problem solving would follow the same stages. Both analytical and creative processes are applicable to all eight stages. Analyzing the Environment If you're not constantly searching for problems which, as defined here, include opportuni- ties , how will you know if they exist? And how can you solve problems or take ad- vantage of opportunities if you don't know they exist? Most strategists believe that firms must be prepared to respond quickly to problems and opportunities in order to be successful in the future.
Both internal and external or- ganizational environments must be constantly and carefully monitored for signs of problems or opportunities. In this stage of the process, you are gathering information. Infor- mation gained during the control stage of CPS is vital to this stage of the process.
See Figure 2. Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company spends millions of dollars annually tracking its competition and the economy, and learning about its cus- tomers, for just one type of information system—the strate- gic information system.
It also trains all levels of manage- ment to look for weak signals of environmental change. For ex- ample, spend a few minutes to look at your internal and ex- ternal organization environments. What is happening that might lead to problems or opportunities? It is from the information gathered in analyzing the environment that you will learn that a problem or op- portunity exists.
Often, however, the problem solver has only a vague feeling that something is wrong or that an oppor- tunity exists. A gestation period seems to occur in which information from the environ- ment is processed subconsciously and the exist- ence of a problem or opportunity eventually registers at the conscious level. The firm simply wasn't saving as much money as it should from all of the automation and robotization that it had just completed.
He believed it was because robots were being used when human beings could do the job just as well, at less cost. Other top managers doubted him, but in the end he proved that he was right saving Toyota millions of dollars in unnecessary investment. Identifying the Problem The problem identification stage involves mak- ing sure the organization's efforts will be directed toward solving the real problem rather than merely eliminating symp- toms. The outcome of this stage is a set of decision criteria for evaluating various options.
Key questions to be asked include the following: What happened or will happen? Who does it or will it affect? Where did it or will it have an impact? When did it or will it happen?
How did it or will it occur? Why did it or will it occur? What could we do to be more successful? In asking these questions you are primarily interested in get- ting to the core problem or identifying the real opportunity. The benefits of doing so are aptly illustrated by the case of Frito-Lay, described in The Innovative Edge in Action 2. Making Assumptions It is necessary to make assumptions about the condition of future factors in the problem situ- ation.
For example, what will the state of the economy be when the new product is to be launched? Or, how will your man- ager react to a suggestion? Remember that assumptions may be a major con- straint on the potential success of a solu- tion, or may cause you to overestimate the potential of a particular alternative to solve the problem effectively. One of my assumptions in writing this book was that there was a growing number of people interested in innovation processes.
Theretore, this book would sell many copies. When I started in , my assumption was wrong. But by it was right. Profits grew at a compounded rate of According to group manager of prod- uct supply, Louis Kosmin, the heart of CPS is -not finding a solu- tion but finding the real problem. With CPS training,fi: VOrson learns methods for anticipating prob- lems, identifying prrthtems, generating alternatives, and initiating new projects.
The company views tfteneration of alternatives as a critical part of CPS. Historically, iagi at Frito-Lay focused on. I3reakage became a hot issue at one point. Typi- cally, each manager had defended his own turf on the issue. Plant managers blamed logistics for breakage, lo- gistics blamed the plant for poor quality containers and packaging.
Sales, which included retail unit servicers, was blamed by both for the rough treatment of items at point of display. By working together and by using CPS, this cross functional group discovered ways they could help solve this problem.
For example, they made changes in the way that products were stacked in the delivery trucks, and in the way products were stacked within containers. Both solutions were successful. Generating Alternatives Generating alternatives involves cataloging the known options a rational act and gen- erating additional options a rational and intuitive act.
It is in this stage that most of the creativity processes described in later chapters are very helpful. To the extent that you can clearly identify and formulate useful options, you can maximize the chances that a problem will be solved satisfactorily.
The purpose of generating alternatives is to ensure that you reach the selection stage of CPS with enough potential solutions. Creative techniques for generating alternatives can help you develop many more possible solutions than you might come up with otherwise. Generating alternatives is partly a rational and partly an intuitive exercise. It's rational in that you follow a series of steps. It's intuitive in that these steps are designed to unleash your in- tuitive powers so that you can use them effectively.
In this stage, you should be more interested in the quantity of new. For most people, creativity reache its highest levels in this stage of CI'S. When Apple Com- puter Corporation's engineers designed the "Newton," the firm's new personal digital assistant computer a small com- puter designed to help people in a wide range of jobs , they generated hundreds of alternative capabilities for the ma- chine.
In the end, several major ones were chosen over the others. Choosing Among Alternatives Decision making should be based on a system- atic evaluation of the alternatives against the criteria established earlier. A key, very ra- tional part of this process involves deter- mining the possible outcomes of the vari- ous alternatives. The better the job done in generating altep- natives and determining their possible out- comes, the greater the chance that an effective choice will be made.
The choice process is mostly rational, but very skilled decision makers rely on intuition as well, especially for complex problems. When Honda engineers pioneered the development of an engine that would get 55 miles per gallon, they had several alternatives to choose from.
Important to their decision of the technology they chose, were the impacts of the new tech- nology on the costs of production, compatibility with exist- ing transmissions, and so on. Each possible technology had to be evaluated for its impact on these factors. The product looked prom icing but development proved difficult.
He stayed with the product and eventually he was proven right. Implementation Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do and a plan for accomplishing it, you can take action. Implementation requires persistent attention. This means account- ing for details and anticipating and over- coming obstacles. Set specific goals and reasonable deadlines, and gain the support of others for your solution. Implementa- tion is a series of problems and opportuni- ties. The processes described in this book are applicable to each of these.
In addition, success stories were chronicled and dis- tributed on video tape to all restaurants. Control Evaluating results is the final, and often over- looked, stage in the creative problem-solving process. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine the extent to which the actions you took have solved the problem. This stage feeds directly into the environmental analysis stage, which begins a new cycle of creative prob- lem solving. It is important at this stage to be able to recognize deficiencies in your own solutions if necessary.
If you can admit to making mistakes or changing your mind without feeling defensive or embarrassed, you have acquired the skill of open minded.
It has 38, employees in plants around the world. It prospers through obsessive cost cutting and other actions to increase. Some of the actions it takes are classic in nature, for example, closing less productive plants and shifting work from union plants in the northern U. But the main program which has enabled it to make its U.
Employees routinely make decisions about how to improve produc- tivity throughout Eaton Corporation plants. They have bought into productivity improvement efforts, and have been empowered through teams to make the decisions necessary to enable the firm to become more productive. Eaton has opened its books to employees to help them make more informed decisions. And through plant wide gainsharing programs, recognition awards, and other reward pro- grams, Eaton has motivated employees to actively seek process inno- vations.
Esprit de corps is high. Teams with names like ferrets and worms meet regularly to solve problems. Many alternatives are gen- erated before final solutions are implemented. Examples of process innovation abound. For example, by making numerous small changes in production activities, one group of work- ers was able to cut scrap by 50 percent.
And workers have designed effective compen- sation programs that raise compensation as workers progress through stages of job knowledge rather than insisting that the company pay workers full wages to new hires before they are fully productive as would have normally happened in a union contract situation.
Thomas F. O'Boyle, "Working Together: Al, A4. At Federal Expre. For example when one team solved prob- lems related to sorting packages, they were required to track results and make further improvements.
Among them are the following: Creativity is not a major part of the problem-solving pro- cess for most organizations or individuals. People are not usually encouraged to be creative, either as individuals or as members of organizations. This means that creativity is discouraged in most organizations includ- ing families, schools and companies.
Few people really know the creative techniques that can be applied in the problem-solving process. Few individuals develop their personal creative problem-solving skills, but that is changing. It is evident that most people, as well as most organizations, can improve their CPS skills. Typical of the problem are the results of a competition held by General Foods for MBA stu- dents from six of the nation's best graduate business schools—Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, Northwestern, Michi- gan, and Columbia.
The task was to come up with solutions to this problem: The students had an entire day to develop their strategies. Each team was allotted twenty minutes to present its solu- tions. Judges from General Foods, its advertising agency, and one of its consulting firms evaluated these presentations over a five-hour period. The criteria used were: Ti n judges eventuollv inalofthes, named Michigan the winner on the strength of its strategic thinking.
Douglas Smith, marketing manager for beverages at Gen- eral Foods, comments, "There were a couple of ideas that were of interest but nothing we haven't looked at before. You might, for example, learn how to im- prove your intuitive abilities, or you might focus on chang- ing the organization's culture to make it more receptive to creativity. Those are the subjects of other books. The re- maining chapters of this book will describe creative tech- niques that, when used at the appropriate stage of CPS, can greatly improve the results of that process.
Techniques are described for environmental analysis, recognizing and iden- tifying problems, making assumptions, generating alterna- tives, making choices, and implementing solutions. The following table lists each of the techniques by problem solving stage. Techniques are presented in alpha- betical order both in the table and in the chapters. Techniques are numbered twice. The first number denotes the technique's position from 1 to , the second number is the technique's position within that section of the problem solv- ing model.
TABLE 2. Comparisons against others: Workouts and other group approaches. What do you know? What patterns exist? Why-why diagram. Assumption reversal. Computer programs. Direct analogic. What if? TKJ method. Screening matrix for ideas. How - how diagram. For example set-: VanGundy, Creative Problem Solving: Quo- rum Books, ; Carl Ii. McGraw-Hill, Vincze, Strategic Management: Worth, Tex.: Dryden Press, , Chapters 1 and 3. David A. McGraw-Hill, ; Cowan, op.
The seventh is aimed at opportunity recognition and identifica- tion. Techniques foi Recognizing Problems. Techniques for Identifying Problems. Techniques for Making Assumptions. Such techniques can be applied at all stages of the CPS process: Many of these techniques involve the use of groups, which have been shown to be useful in raising levels of creativity.
The processes discussed in this chapter and ensuing ones were listed in Table 2. This chapter discusses the processes used in creatively analyzing the environment, recognizing and identifying problems and opportunities, and in mak- ing assumptions. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss techniques for generating creative alternatives.
Chapter 4 focuses on indi- vidual techniques, Chapter 5 on group techniques. Chapter 6 reviews creative approaches to choice, implementation and control. The lengthier discussions jrt these chapters focus on the best-known, more difficultlo understand, or most often used techniques. For longer and more complicated techniques, a summary of the steps necessary appears at the end of the discussion of that technique.
In this and other chapters, techniques are presented in alphabetical order within sections to make them easier to find. Remember that techniques are numbered twice. The first number denotes the technique's position from 1 to , the second number is the technique's position within that section of the problem solving module.
You can't be creative in gener- ating alternatives until you have a reason to do so. The ra- tional techniques for environmental analysis focus on stan- dard control processes and environmental scanning.
The following are recent, more creative approaches to environ- mental analysis. In benchmarking a firm compares its practices with those of the firm that is considered the best in its industry.
In best practices, a firm com- pares itself with the firm that is considered the best at certain practices, regardless of the industry in which it operates. The re- sults of these comparisons are used to mo- tivate change and as goals for improve- ment. Johnson created a fictitious supercompetitor with which to compare his organization. Why not hire someone to perform this task for you?
There are numerous futurists and other consultants who can guide you. They often bring a fresh perspective. For example, they may be able to see the forest for the trees, something someone close to the situation may not be able to do. Forecasters, clipping services, and networks can keep you informed.
You don't have to be limited to traditional sources. Try something new, like the manager who searches science fiction literature to find ideas that are applicable to his high-tech business. Try sim- ply reading about new trends and asking what this means to your business. The purpose of most control reports is to pro- vide such comparisons. People may recognize an opportu- nity when they become aware that they could exceed their objectives by choosing a certain alternative or taking advan- tage of a situation.
Frequently individuals compare current performance with prior objectives, prior experience, or last year's performance in order to determine whether a problem exists. When they see a difference between the current situation and what was previously thought appropriate, they recognize that a prob- lem exists. Continental Bank Chairman Thomas Theobald created the Bank for Business strategy, he realized that its success would depend on having killer closers — officers who can actually close a deal.
Recognition of this need prompted the bank to rethink its recruitment strategy. The revamped approach has been success- ful in meeting that goal, but it also has entailed making some. Although the new approach is costlier due to higher base salaries, the bank expects to offset those costs through long-term savings and increased revenue generation. After several meetings with psychologists, senior line manage- ment, and human resources staff, 6 skills were isolated that were believed to be a critical necessity for candidates: Once the skills were iden- tified, the bank incorporated them into its college recruiting evalu- ation form and included questions that would prompt interview- ers.
Todd S. This seems obvious, but few people actually do it. Creatively recognizing problems is important to solving a problem as The Innovative Edge in Action suggests.
The following paragraphs describe more creative techniques for recognizing problems. Some are traditional approaches; others are new twists on approaches you may already be fa- miliar with. Several involve ways of analyzing the environ- ment in search of opportunities. What are the differences? Why do they exist? What problems or opportunities are suggested by the differences?
A number of checklists have been devel- oped for this purpose. Foust provide numerous checklists designed to improve situation analysis. Among other things, their checklists provide guidance in finding opportunities, recognizing certain problems, generating new-product ideas, generating promotional ideas, and evalu- ating ideas.
VanGundy has pro- vided a Product Improvement Checklist. VanGundy's list can also be used to generate creative alternatives and is discussed in more detail in Chapter 4. Inverse brainstorming is a variant of the approach de- scribed there. Whereas regular brainstorming begins with a problem and looks for a solution, inverse brainstorming be- gins with a situation and looks for potential problems, such as lack of motivation in the work force. People I can't resist poking fun, and when they do so, problems may be revealed.
I le rewrote the song along these line. We've got trouble right here in River City. It starts with an m and ends with a t, it's management. Yes sir, trouble right here in River City.
An inves- tigation followed, and two especially bad managers were replaced. See Chapter 5 for a description of brainstorming. Another version of this approach is to have employees list stumbling blocks that they have encountered. In some businesses this happens quite often. Stories abound of cases in which people have failed to recognize the poten- tial of ideas brought to them by others.
As noted in Chapter 1, George Lucas took the "Star Wars" idea to twelve movie studios before Fox decided to produce it. So Chester Carlson and his associates went into business for themselves and became multimillionaires. Listen to others. Envision the possibilities. You may role play with another person in an interactive learn- PROF, ing situation much like a play, or by simply imagining an- V. It may allow you to solve potential problems before they become real ones.
Imagine that you are someone else in the problem situation. Describe the problem from that person's perspective. Nov solve it from that perspective. What new insights did you gain? But such programs must be implemented effectively. Japanese firms have really good suggestion programs. Some U. The Japanese take their programs seriously. Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony, comments on his firm's suggestion programs, "We insist that all our employees contribute their thoughts and ideas, not just their manual effort.
We get an average of eight suggestions a year from each employee. We take most of these ideas seriously. Work- outs involve a three-day retreat in which managers and their subordinates gather to solve problems experienced by the work unit. It is a highly participative effort with a unique twist. Subordinates suggest the causes of the problems and recommend solutions. On the third day these are presented to their manager, whose superior manager is also in atten- dance sitting behind his or her subordinate but facing the employees.
The workout manager must choose among three responses to subordinates' recommendations: Yes, no, or let's examine it and make a decision by a specific date.
Deferrals are discouraged. Simple group discussion may lead to both recognition and identification. Problem identification re- quires careful analysis. A well-known set of identification techniques has been sug- gested by Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe, who believe that correctly identifying the problem is the most important step in creative problem solving.
Their approach, described in their book The Rational Manager, begins by asking what's different now than before; this is followed by what, where, when, how, and why questions. Kepner and Tregoe like to use the example of a ball bearing manufacturing facility that be- gan finding impurities in some of its ball bearings. The com- pany replaced the machine that manufactured the ball bear- ings, but impurities continued to appear. Eventually, after answering the "when" question, the company's managers de- termined that the impurities occurred only at periodic inter- vals.
After asking and answering the other questions, they discovered that an air-freshening unit was blowing impurities into the molten metal; the unit came on only at certain times during the day. SE Simply talking to someone else about a problem employs the idea that "two heads are better than one. Each of you can offer definitions and defend them un- til you find one that you can agree on. Among these are voting in a democratic manner and sitting in a circle and discussing the problem until a consen- sus is reached.
Creativity circles, described in Chapter 5, often begin by reaching a consen- sus definition of the problem. This process can also be used in generating alternatives. Because creativity is largely a right-brain function in right-handed people, the opposite in left-handed people , and the right brain is more visually oriented than the left brain, opposite for left-handers draw- ing pictures seems to aid the creative process.
If you can "see" the problem, you have a better chance of making cer- tain that you are solving the real problem. So take out a pen and a piece of paper and draw a picture of your problem.
What insights do you gain? It involves putting problem solvers through an experience that causes them to understand the problem better and therefore generate more and better solu- tions. It is a sort of combination of role playing and idea triggers.
The experience kit involves participants in the prob- lem. For example, IdeaScope provided detergent brand 7. Several of the spots on the shirts wouldn't come out. All of the experiences provided the brand managers with new insights into the problem. The latter will be discussed near the end of this chapter. The fishbone diagram, sometimes referred to as the Ishikawa diagram, was developed by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa of the University of Tokyo.
This is primarily a group problem identification tech- nique, but it can be used by individu- als as well. This process is called the fishbone dia- gram because of the unique way in which the information gathered is arranged visually. When the problem and its causes are recorded, they form a diagram that re- sembles the skeleton of a fish.
The problem is written down and enclosed in a circle on the right side of a sheet of paper. A straight line is drawn to the left and appears much like the backbone of a fish.
See Figure 3.
The next step involves drawing stems at a 45 degree angle to the backbone line. At the The causes should be listed with the least complicated nearest the head of the fish and the most complicated at the tail, with those in between listed on a continuum from least to most complicated. The fishbone diagram can be brainstormed over more than one session.
Ishikawa describes the process as one in which "you write your problem down on the head of the fish and then let it cook overnight. When the diagram is completed, the individual or group begins to analyze the stems and the branches to determine the real problem or problems that need to be solved. If sim- pler problems are examined first, they can he removed from consideration before more complicated problems are tack- led.
If the problem solver s decide that certain causes are more significant than others, these will be given more atten- tion in the alternative generation stage of CPS. The fishbone diagram is extremely useful for identifying problems for several reasons: It encourages problem solvers to study all parts of a prob- lem before making a decision.
It helps show the relationships between causes and the relative importance of those causes. It helps start the creative process because it focuses the problem solver s on the problem.
It helps start a logical sequence for solving a problem. It helps problem solvers see the total problem as opposed to focusing on a narrow part of it. It offers a way to reduce the scope of the problem and solve less complex issues rather than more complex ones. Draw a straight line to the left; this is the "backbone. Draw stems at a 45 degree angle from the backbone.
Brainstorm all the causes of the problem and place them at the end of each of the stems. Draw additional stems and substems as necessary. List more complicated causes at the tail of the fish and less complicated ones at the head of the fish.
A simi- lar game can be used as a problem identification tech- nique. Just as in the game, once someone has knocked another person off the mountain, he or she must get on top of the mountain. His or her ideas are then attacked until another challenger succeeds in becoming "king of the mountain. Perhaps this will help you see it in another light. Imagine it from the perspective of someone who is less familiar with it.
Say the new definition aloud. Perhaps you'll hear something. Try to determine how you feel about it. Pretend that you don't know what the problem is but do know some of the vari- ables involved. If you were a member of another profession, how would you view the problem? How many different ways can you express this problem or opportunity? Now go back and examine what you have done.
Do you see the prob- lem any differently? The following exercise can get you started in applying this technique. Think of a problem or opportunity and restate it five different ways: For example, if your prob- lem is to increase productivity, this might be restated as: You squeeze a problem to find its basic components.
You stretch the problem in order to discover more of its scope. Stretching a problem allows you to see how much there re- ally is to it and what other facts relate to it. Why am I doing this? Because I want to. Why do I want to? Because I have been told to by my boss. Why does my boss want me to do it? Because her boss wants her to do it. To stretch a problem, ask a chain of questions begin- ning with the word "what.
What is this problem about? Learning financial analysis. What is financial analysis all about? Accounting and relationships among accounts. What is learning all about? Discovery, developing, etc. What is accounting all about? Giving meaning to the transactions of an organization. Continue with these processes until you have a better un- derstanding of the problems.
Once you recognize that a problem exists, simply writing down what you know about it might help. List all the char- acteristics of the situation. What suspicions do you have? What kind of evidence do you have to justify those suspi- cions, and how good is it? What did you learn? Look at the available information. Do you see any patterns or relationships, causal or otherwise? Draw a diagram show- ing the interconnections among the facts you have uncov- ered. Japanese managers frequently use diagrams to dis- cuss problems.
Their use of visual aids often helps them simplify complex situations. Visual representations help stimulate not only insight but creativity as well. So give dia- grams a try. It is used to identify the cause s of a prob- lem in a systematic way. There is no backbone; instead, this dia- gram is designed more like a traditional decision tree with component stems identified to the right of the prob- lem statement.
Branches may also be iden- tified to the right of each stem.
One moves from the problem statement to the stems and branches by asking the ques- tion "Why? Figure 3. Not Sleek Enough. Inadequate Small Promotion Sales Force. Failed to Identify Target Market. This technique offers many of the same benefits as the fishbone diagram. In particular, it helps problem solvers explore many more possible causes and relate them to the overall problem, rather than focusing on a single narrow cause.
In fact, the why-why diagram probably leads to a more thorough analysis than the fishbone diagram. Notice the differences between Fig- ures 3. The latter is a more rational layout of prob- lems along the more traditional lines of the marketing mix— product, promotion, price, distribution, and target market. State the problem on the left side of the paper. Create a typical decision tree of causes to the right of the problem by asking a succession of "whys" regarding the problem and each of the possible causes.
Continue this process until a sufficient level of detail has been achieved. PROBLEM STATEMENT At the end of the problem identification stage, by using the various techniques described here, in addition to more tra- ditional analytical approaches, you should have identified the causal problem and be able to make a more accurate prob- lem statement than you might have otherwise.
Various approaches to stating the problem exist. Generally, the more specific the problem can be stated, the easier it will be to solve that problem. Thus if the problem in Figure 3. Assumptions set constraints on your solutions.
People frequently force solutions into the shape they want by manipulating the underlying assumptions. One man en- tered the restaurant business after hours of computer spread- sheet manipulations, assuming that the revenues would be sufficient to justify the investment.
Two years later he was out of business. His assumptions about sales were wrong, as were his assumptions about food costs and his own abil- ity to motivate low-wage workers.
I know of only one creative technique for making assump- tions. It's called assumption reversal. Now reverse them and try to solve the problem. You can also use this process to get new ideas for solving the original problem. Sometimes you can use it just to get new ideas. Suppose that your problem is to gain additional market share. The original assumptions are that another firm is dominant, you can buy market share through advertising, and you have a superior product or service that no one really knows about.
Now reverse those assumptions. No firm is dominant, adver- tising doesn't seem to help, and you have an inferior product that everybody knows is inferior. What are you going to do? As many as 4, packages a month were still missing their flights, even though addi- tional employees had been assigned to the "minisort"—the frenzied last effort to get packages.
A team of twelve minisort workers was chosen to solve this problem. A manager, Melvin Washington, headed the team, but he served primarily as a facilitator. The team met mostly on its own time, usually over breakfast, after spending long hours sorting packages on the night shift. The team interviewed many fellow employees, managers of other divisions, and staff personnel and discussed nu- merous possible problem areas. They used a four-step creative prob- lem-solving technique that Federal Express had taught them in con- junction with a total quality management program.
After many hours of hard work, the team determined that several factors were contributing to the problem. First, there were too many people working on the minisort, which only added to the confusion. Second, many of those workers didn't know what they were supposed to do. The team recommended that the number of minisort workers be re- duced from to 80 and that steps be taken to improve workers' understanding of their 0 tasks.
For example, sorting codes had been relatively easy to memorize in the beginning, but as the firm had grown, more and more codes had been added, making memorization im- possible.
The team recom- mended that codes be posted so that workers could see them. Hwy also worked with other sorting departments to in- crease their quality control efforts, thereby reducing the number of packages sent to the nightly minisort. Finally, a "traffic cop" was appointed to direct the tractors carrying sorted packages to the right planes. The results were impressive.
The time spent on minisort dropped from more than an hour a night to 38 minutes. In one year, the number of packages missing their flights fell to about 1, a month. The hardest part was selling it to everyone.