How to find the right problem to solve and create the right solution to solve it.

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To be caught in the swell of an idea is something almost magical. It’s no secret that there are a myriad of problems that exist in wider society and that potentially millions of people would live better lives if these problems were solved.

The drive to create these solutions is what inspires scores of businesses and entrepreneurs to push boundaries and strive for a better tomorrow with the solutions that they devise.

However, with every new idea comes risk, and the deadliest mistake in the world of creating solutions is that all too often, the solutions created don’t end up ever solving any problems.

Which is why to truly create lasting solutions, a strategic approach should always be taken. Humans are naturally driven to solve issues, it’s a key part of what has led to countless centuries of successful existence.

But don’t jump in headfirst and expect to be carried by your unfaltering will to best your chosen problem.

Instead, think carefully about whether this is really the problem you want to solve in the first place.

It could be financially enticing, or it could be a purely altruistic goal. The personal reasoning for why you want to solve a problem doesn’t matter here. What does is whether this problem, above all others, is the one that you really want to solve.

Thousands of outfits before you may have failed to solve this problem, what’s going to make you any different than all the rest?

Your mission and framework for approaching the problem may be better than those in past, but problems have a habit of ensuring that even the best-laid plans go to waste.

Think about whether you’re willing to see this problem through to the end and meet every challenge that it may bring.

Understand that the problem itself may be relatively minor in relation to other problems where your skills would be equally well put to use.

Is there a chance you’ll realise mid-way through creating your solution that it’s better fitted to another problem and jump ship? Or will you accept the potential losses and pursue your original problem in the face of this?

Solving a problem is as much about those who intend to solve it as it is about the issue itself. While an open mind is encouraged when approaching a problem, a fixed gaze is mandatory to the success of solving it.

Next, think about whether your true intent is to solve problems, or merely create solutions.

Where once the struggle revolved around an abundance of problems that lacked solutions, the modern age is permeated with too many solutions not attached to any real problems.

Everywhere one looks, businesses, educational providers, social media platforms and entrepreneurs are all offering solutions.

Yet to stand in front of the majority of what they offer and consider it deeply for a moment, the question that arises is often “are you actually solving a problem at all with this solution?”

Which is why the key to understanding your own intent is to never let the provision of your solution take precedence over actually solving the problem you set out to challenge.

Then, if you’ve settled on a problem even after all this, take a step back and think about what happens if you manage to solve it.

While there may be time for a congratulatory pat on the back, the point to be made here is that problems may not remain solved forever.

However adaptable and futureproofed your solution may be, it’s a fool’s error to ever think that it’s capable of fully encompassing what the future holds in store.

A solution has a limited shelf life, as soon as it fails to solve a problem it reverts back to simply being an idea, no matter how much work has been put into bringing it into existence.

Never underestimate the human element of your problem as well as its ability to outright reject your solution. Humans are naturally resistant to change, especially if it stands to alter the way they go about their everyday lives. Even the greatest solutions to problems face the risk of being ignored if they can’t be properly communicated to those who would stand to benefit most from their acceptance.

Lay the proper groundwork in how you both explain the problem and provide your solution to fix it. The most successful problem solvers are always the ones whose solutions are properly realised and understood by those whose lives stand to be enriched by them.

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Mindhive | ex — Eidos, Boilerhouse, Basement, Margaret Marr | Speaker, Author | Bringing the shared economy to problem-solving #collectiveintelligence

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