Effective Problem Solving

The best ideas and solutions come from proper problem analysis and testing ideas thoroughly. I know this may sound boring. All you want is to get on with your idea and implement it. Though I can’t stress enough how important going through the right process is. In this article I’ll be focussing on how problem analysis will help you in discovering forceful solutions. How often I’ve seen marketers skipping this important step of the process. I think we’re all probably a bit guilty here. We think of this amazing idea and want to put it to action as soon as possible. But instead, let’s take a moment. Have you considered if there is really a need for this idea? What problem are you solving? And, if you are solving an important issue, are you sure you understand the core of it?

Even Facebook get’s it wrong sometimes

I always love to illustrate with an example. This subject reminds me of the Facebook “like” button. Remember when there was a time when Facebook only had a “like” button? Well at some point, users of the platform pointed out that sometimes this button was quite inappropriate. As you know, posts are not always likeable, but can also evoke feelings of sadness or anger. Of course users still wanted to interact with the piece of content. They wanted to be able to dislike content.

As Facebook designed this new interaction, it didn’t feel right. Being able to dislike something didn’t quite cover what users were trying to express. No matter the way the button was designed, it didn’t cover the issue. So, the developers went back to the original problem. Users had pointed out they wanted to be able to dislike something, because they couldn’t really express how they felt. The initial request of the users isn’t about creating a dislike button. It’s about being able to express their feelings. With this new insight, new interactions were designed as we know them today. You are now able to express yourself with “like”, “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” and “angry”.

This example illustrates how important it is to first look at the real issue. In this case the issue wasn’t that there was no dislike button. The issue was that users couldn’t express their feelings. I’m all for thinking in solutions, but please, let’s analyse the problem first. Then, the best ideas and solutions will follow.

Effective Problem Solving in 4 Steps

To make sure you rise above and beyond, working on your next problem, I’ve created a step by step guide to get to the best solution. In just four steps you’ll be able to unravel the true issue, explore opportunities and finally implement your idea. Let’s get into it.

Effective problem solving process

Step 1: Analyse the problem

As discussed, it is important that you start by analysing the issue. Often they arise from customer feedback or insights. When analysing customer feedback, you will, at some point, encounter feedback that already suggests a solution. For example: “The information on the product is not clear enough. There should be more photos”. Here the user provides a solution next to addressing the problem. Easy, right? Well, before you add more photos to your product pages, you may want to dive a little deeper. Try contacting your customers, for example through a website survey. How would they like to be informed? Where do they want to find this information? What information is most important to them? By posing these questions, you are able to gather valuable customer insights, which will help you discover more effective solutions.

Step 2: Explore possible solutions

Now that you are familiar with the issue, let’s think of some solutions. Organise a brainstorm with your team, analyse what your competitors are doing and always try to think from a customer perspective.

Step 3: Put your solution to the test

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of testing. Testing is critical when optimising your business. Therefore, you want to test your solutions. Don’t worry if something doesn’t seem to work out. Focus on what does work and go with that. If you repeat this process, you will come to the optimal solution. Here you can read more about A/B testing, if you’re interested.

Step 4: Time to implement

Finally, now that you’ve tested your solution, you are ready to implement it. Before, a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) was good enough for testing purposes, but now it’s time to deliver. Develop your solution into detail and launch the best version possible.

If you follow these four steps in the right order, I’m positive that your next project will be a success. Just remember great solutions come from great analysis and problem understanding. Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *