John Cowen

John Cowen

User Experience • Design • Creativity

Embrace the Problem


I’ve been reading the book Gamestorming - which is essentially filled with games that businesses can play to help planning, identify problems and find solutions. It’s full of some great stuff and we’ll be playing two or three of the games at the UX Design Games workshop next month.

There’s one game in the book called Speedboat. It’s a short game to help identify issues in the business (anchors slowing down the boat).

In the game summary at the end is the following:

be aware of the fact that many groups have a tendency to move immediately toward analysis of an improved state. They shift into problem-solving mode ... So, if you hear the players critiquing or analyzing the content, gently tell them that problem solving is for another game—try to keep their attention focused solely on description, not solution.

This really grabbed my attention. It’s not something I’d ever really thought about before, but something I can certainly relate to.

Our goals are always based on finding solutions and fixing problems. Simply identifying the problem is rarely given much credit. Because the ultimate goal is fixing the problem we want to get to the ‘solution’ stage as quickly as we can. This means there is a danger that the problem isn’t analysed as deeply as it possibly should.

There can be a notion that a problem is easy to identify because we know it exists as we are experiencing it. However, the perceived problem might be symptomatic of a different, less obvious, problem. By putting more value on the process of finding problems - there is more incentive to properly assess them and identify the true source of them.

At which point, our solutions should be more relevant and successful.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading.

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