The Framework: See
In the fifth segment, we’ll look at the framework element of seeing. We’ll discover the power of collective genius, solution sided thinking, and how to get to solutions quicker and make them more robust. You can listen to the audio below. There is also a transcript if you would like to refer back to this segment.
Your mission is too important and your resources too precious.
Work with ingenuity!
Transcript Below: The transcript below is not meant to replace listening to the audio, but serves as a reference for post-listening learning. Please forgive any errors due to the skill level of the A.I. robot that created this transcript.
The great statistician, George Box. When said this, all models are wrong. Some are useful. All models are wrong. Frameworks, models, ways of conceiving things. They’re all wrong. There’s no right model that hits every single element of what it’s trying to convey in a perfect way that gets the world and all of the elements of the world just write, probably because the world is complex. And there is no such thing as a perfect model. But as box points out, just because models are wrong, doesn’t mean that they’re unuseful. Some are really useful.
I hope the ingenuity framework is useful. It doesn’t conceive the world in a perfect manner. There are things about it, my guess, is 15 minutes after you hear it, you might be able to poke some holes in it or say, Yeah, but what about this? Or? Well, how about that? Yeah. How about that? What about this, all models are wrong, some are useful. That’s the first piece of wisdom I want to give you. When you’re considering the five elements of the framework. All models are wrong, some are useful, I hope this one is useful. The second thing that I want in a preliminary fashion, to say about the framework is this.
There is a tendency to look at the framework in sequential order, starting with the first see, and then moving around, see frame constrain connect name. There are times when designing solutions, where there is a kind of sequential path to ingenuity. But it’s far more valuable to look at the framework as a series of actions people are taking along the ingenious path. Sometimes, particularly early in the design of a solution, there can be a kind of sequencing to it, where it feels like you’re moving through them one at a time, or at least there’s some overlap.
But there’s still a kind of sequence around the the circle around the framework. But it’s far better to see these as five actions that are happening, sometimes a couple of them simultaneously, sometimes in sequence, and sometimes in a kind of randomness that we can’t control. Why, because they’re being done in complex systems by human beings. So the randomness of them, actually becomes part of the AHA, the serendipitous moment where something magical happens inside some of these actions, whether they’re happening simultaneously, or you’re really focused on one of them, or there is some kind of sequence to them. These five actions seem to show up on a regular basis when people are executing with ingenuity, whether individually, or as teams and organizations. So we’re going to look at them one at a time.
We’re going to start with C and move our way around in a sequence. But remember, that doesn’t mean the sequence is how they’ll work in your moment in your context, as you’re solving with ingenuity. Think of these as five lenses into or five elements that are moving around in a stew five ingredients in a stew, or five behaviors that show up that we want to make sure for the most part, we can keep our eye on as we’re trying to solve with ingenuity.
Think of these as important behaviors, important elements of solving with ingenuity of working with ingenuity. If they happen to flow in the sequence that we talk about them, you’re probably either early in design, or just kind of got lucky in one of the moments you’re in. It’s much better to think of them as five actions, people take that you want to keep in a mindful space, so that you can more deliberately and consistently solve with ingenuity. So here we go. The first element is the ability to see. What I’ve noticed over the decades that I’ve both worked in and on and for ingenious teams, and coached them in my practice, is that there is a kind of exploratory process, that ingenious teams use, and it often does begin with, but certainly includes throughout the process, the ability to delve into challenges and opportunities, with a kind of imaginative and what I call solution sighted thinking. They circle. They notice the challenge that has arisen in their system. And they begin a process of exploring and discovering solutions. Now.
Mediocre teams, teams that don’t act with lots of ingenuity, they do some of these things, too. But they have a different response that they bring to the table of seeing. So let’s talk a little bit about this. One of the first things I’ve noticed about a team that’s ingenious, is how they see the problem, challenge or obstacle as opposed to a team with lower ingenuity quotient. They see problems and obstacles challenges in a completely different way. The more ingenious team has a way of viewing challenges that is energizing, so consider the team with lower ingenuity first, when they hit a problem, they can hardly believe that they’ve hit a problem. Really, another problem? Are you kidding me?
How many of these are we going to have? And from there, it tends to degenerate either into whining, or complaining, or blaming, or some other clever strategy that keeps the team from actually engaging a conversation and a process to change the problem or obstacle to transform it. But on the other hand, a team with high ingenuity, they have this almost welcoming approach to problems. It’s not that they don’t whine and complain sometimes. But over all, they see challenges as part of the deal, part of the game. And actually because of their history of solving. They see problems and challenges as the raw material of that change. Instead of the the obstacle being in the way as Marcus Aurelius once said, The obstacle becomes the way it becomes the way forward, it becomes the problem, the first element in the ability of a team to be ingenious, but only if they’re welcoming of the problem. And they see it as material needed. The raw materials for change. Of this is important. Because the team with low ingenuity, get stuck on problems cited thinking. They’re hashing the problem again and again. And they’re hashing it in order to justify inaction.
They complain in order to justify the ability to remain in inertia. So when a team gets stuck talking about the problem over and over again, I’ve noticed that bias is split out. Well, they’ve you just don’t understand. I mean, this this is not solvable. We’ve tried this before. And I mean, there are no real options here. And biases that sprout lead to options that narrow to pretty soon there’s just no way forward. There’s there’s there’s no MacGyver, how do you spell MacGyver, I don’t even know who MacGyver was. And then energy wanes, there’s just, it’s just blah, who who wants to try to solve the unsolvable. Problem sighted thinking is an actual style of rehearsing the problem to such a degree that biases against solutions start to take hold. And once that happens, options, narrow energy wanes. Now, this doesn’t mean that looking at the problem and evaluating the problem from different angles, isn’t important it is. But there is a difference between looking at a problem through the solution and looking at a problem through the problem. Now, what does that mean?
Well, I call it solution sighted thinking, solution sighted thinking. And here when it comes to seeing when it comes to the process, the element the action of seeing, exploring solutions. In genius teams live on solution sighted thinking lane, they live to solve with ingenuity. And they start immediately by looking at the problem through potential solutions, rather than simply rehearsing the problem, and ending up with zero solutions. Now, the epic example of this comes from the Apollo 13 story, the real story, but it also is portrayed in the movie. And we’ve provided a link to a YouTube video where you can see this particular clip from the movie, just to sort of set it up, the astronauts now are trying to make their way back to Earth. But engineers on the ground, along with physicians on the ground realized they’re running out of breathable air, because they’re running out of the filters that take the co2 out of the air, so they can continue to breathe oxygen. So they have to do something. Now they have some other filters that could be used, except they’re the wrong shape.
Of course, they’re the wrong shape. Of course, one set of filters was square. And the other set for the command module versus the lunar module, the other set round. This is literally the square and round hole dilemma. So stop here just for a moment and watch the YouTube clip from the Apollo 13. Movie, which does a really good job of depicting this moment, as they were trying to get the astronauts back home. And then I’ll come back, we’ll come back and we’ll talk about solution sighted thinking. Okay, what a powerful moment. And it shows solution sighted thinking in spades. So the engineer, and all the other engineers of the tiger team come around the table. They dump everything out on the table. And he declares what I call the magic phrase. The magic phrase is a phrase that in some way is articulated by a team that is living in and working from ingenuity when they hit a problem. And they’re talking about what they need. They often use the magic phrase, it happens to be in the movie, but it happens to also be a phrase we say when we are hunting for solutions. And the magic phrase is this. We’ve got to find a way.
We’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to find a way to and then you fill in the blank. The magic phrase is what moves a group from getting stuck on the problem to flipping their mindset over to the solution side. We’ve got to find a way You listen to conversations at work or at home, and you will occasionally hear as people are talking about challenges, this phrase, and when you hear this phrase, we’ve got to find a way. What that means is at least in that moment, someone has flipped from simply harping on the problem to declaring the need for a solution. Solution sided thinking means that an ingenious team that’s facing a challenge hops over on to the solution side in their conversation and thinking, they are looking for a solution, we’ve got to find a way to and then they create a beginning solution statement, we’ve got to find a way the engineer said to his team, we’ve got to find a way to put this holding up the square filter into that holding up the round filter into that hole, using nothing but this.
I mean, if this is not ingenuity, right, this is just an epic example of it because using nothing but this will what’s the this will the this is anything up on the ship that they think they can use to inventively create the filter, because they can’t send anything up to create a filter or send more filters. There’s no FedEx up in space at this point, or now. So they’re going to have to make it with what they have on the ship. We’ve got to find a way. Now this statement has in it, all the elements that get people over on to the side of solving we’ve means tapping the the genius of the group, finding the multiple perspectives. Most of the time, unless a group is stuck in deep groupthink, people think better together about ingenious solutions. No one has enough view or enough wisdom or enough on their own. It is in the weaving together of perspectives that we find those magical, usable ideas, we tapping the genius of multiple perspectives, and then weaving those together into an Uber idea, that aha moment where Oh, my gosh, this is what we need to do. We’ve got to, there’s a kind of positive urgency, we have to rally around this. This is high stakes, it matters. We’re living in a complex adaptive system i In this case, it was a complicated system, right. But they still needed a solution, they needed an ingenious solution.
And it has to happen, now they are running out of air. And then find a way leverage what we have MacGyver, what we have create alchemy with what we have, in order to create the solution that is going to advance our mission, which in this case for the tiger team, was to keep the astronauts breathing long enough to get them home. We’ve got to find a way. When you are working with teams, and you are stuck on the problem side, just try this. Just say to the team, hey, somebody, I’m gonna somebody finished this sentence. We’re talking about this problem right now. Finish this sentence. We’ve got to find a way to what is it? We’re trying to figure out how to do here. What do we have to find a way to do and watch people flip to the solution side and start talking about solutions. Now, one more piece here that can be really valuable early on in solution design.
You get people over on the solution side in their thinking this is such an important switch to where we are not sitting around trying to come up with ways to justify that this is unsolvable. We are sitting around looking for the ability to weave together a solution through multiple perspectives. The genius of the team that will get us going Get us in the game of solving this challenge, whatever it is, and that mindset shift. And that conversational shift is immense.
We’ve got to find a way to fill in the blank is the magic phrase that moves people from the problem side to the solution side. Now, I have had numerous people over the years, as I’ve taught this, ask me, Well, Dave, but does that mean you don’t ever talk about the problem? Because if you don’t talk about the problem, how are you ever going to have a robust solution? I mean, even if it’s temporary and vulnerable? Don’t you want your solution to actually fix some problems? Some challenge? So don’t you want to talk about the problem?
I mean, are we just sort of in a pollyannish? Way, creating a solution and ignoring the problem? Absolutely not. It’s just the angle from which you’re going to examine the problem. Problem sighted thinking starts and finishes. On the problem side, there isn’t any thinking about solutions, or if there is thinking about solutions, it is quickly shut down in favor of a bias that narrows our options, and wanes, our energy. Solution sided thinking gives us a beginning point to not only consider what a solution might be, but then to make that solution better by pushing on the solution through the problem. So here’s how you can do this with your team. You’ve got a challenge, it comes up in genius teams rally, they rally together, they welcome the problem.
It’s still hard, but they do not sit around and complain, really another problem. Instead, they say, Well, of course, another problem, what were we thinking that they weren’t going to be any more? So they rally? And they quickly flipped to the solution side? What is it we need to do? What is it we need to find a way to do what do we need to figure out and this is high stakes, whatever it is, in our world, it’s high stakes, we’ve got to find a way to what, and then they create an initial solution statement, we’ve got to find a way to put this in the whole of this using nothing but that except it would be whatever their solution is, they would write a solution statement out or they would talk about a solution statement. But eventually, they would get that solution statement out on a whiteboard somewhere. And then they would start to push on that solution through the problem by doing two very important actions. And this is what ingenious teams do when they’re creating a solution.
They they first of all, they get a solution. And then they start pushing to make it better by bringing up different elements and angles of the problem. So they focus on two main conversational pieces here, they get a solution statement out, and then they justify it and clarify it. So they the questions are, why will this work? Why will that solution, solve that problem? And then they dig in, and they push? Now what if you ask the question, Why will that work? Then you know, you’re going to be talking about the problem? Because someone’s going to say, Well, I’m not sure it will, because one of the things we’re going to have to figure out is and what will they say next something about the problem.
So it this is solution side of thinking is not about ignoring the problem. It’s about positioning the problem for solution. And staying on the solution side, as you talk about the problem. You justify it in the justification process. That solution statement is likely to change become clearer, more robust, better able to actually address the problem that needs a solution. We’ve got to find a way to do better marketing. Well, that’s kind of broad. So let’s try to actually clarify that what is it that’s that’s happening right now?
Well, and now listen, this we’re gonna get to the problem now. What is it that’s actually happening? Well, we are not bringing in new customers are our ongoing customers love But we are not doing a good job with new customers. And if we don’t build our new customer base, we’re going to have a problem. If old customers go away, we’ve got to have the pipeline coming in on the front side. Now, we’ve already identified more of what’s needed in the solution. We’ve got to find a way to do better marketing, once we actually started pushing on that and clarifying that, and doing that by looking at different angles of the problem. Now we know we’ve got to find a way to increase new customers, new segments of customers.
Okay, now, we could keep going here and getting more and more precise, what if we found out that it’s new customers is still too broad, that we have noticed that for our product, the 18 to 25 year old is really the person really the profile of the person who, who gets our product and wants our product, we’ve got to find a better way to market to new customers in the 18 to 25 year old age group. Wow, there’s some clarity there. And that comes from starting on the solution side. And the magic phrase can help us do that we’ve got to find and then pushing on it to justify why it will work. And to ask, Have we really clarified? Is it really precise enough? Are we really there yet. And this is where the problem will help you out.
Once you have an initial solution statement, man, push on it. like nobody’s business, from the problem side. But for the purpose of refining the solution, not for just wallowing in the problem. I like to suggest that people actually choose a couple people on the team to be the entrepreneur, like, they’re going to really go for selling the solution statement that has been written and everyone else is going to be like the investors on Shark Tank, and they’re going to push on all the problems that the solution may have when they’re looking at it through the problem side. But all of that is done to get a better solution. Not to create more inertia by saying, Oh, well, you know, sucks to be us.
I guess there’s no solution to this problem. It’s all about hopping on the solution side, so that you can better look at the problem, let the problem refine the solution, and then move on, move on. Start the process of executing the solution. But that process starts often and over time as a solution and a process works itself out. It starts and includes something that is so often missed by low, ingenious quotient groups. They miss something important as they’re beginning the process of execution of a solution. And that leads us to the second element