We live in a world where there is an endless amount of problems. Fortunately, we also served with endless possible solutions!
There is this quote about the problem solving that I love, it sounds like this :
"Beginner will come up with many ideas but the expert will know only a few of them work"
(I forgot how it was exactly written but that was the main point)
If you are unclear what this quote means, well it basically means a beginner will come up with so many ideas to solve a problem but an expert will know that only a few of those ideas work because the expert knows and has gone through a lot more experience to know exactly how those ideas will most likely turn up to be so they'll only come up with few solutions that are either completely new, or will work.
The reason why I brought up this quote is that I'm gonna tell you the art of problem-solving 💡
the reason why I wanted to bring up this topic is that I have read so many articles that were published to the media about people coming up with solutions on how to tackle the pandemic, the economy, and many other issues we are facing today.
I am no economist, neither a scientist.
But those articles disappoint me.
They are filled with obvious facts, solutions that are proven did not work, or stuff that we already know but not doing for certain reasons (which is actually another problem they should solve)
Even a dumbo dum-dum junior like me thought "ah, you don't say?" when I read those articles.
But hey, we can't really blame them! After all, some of the articles written on the internet are just there to make you click so that maybe they can get better ad revenue?
So, if you are a human who loves solving problems and inventions, I think you may benefit from this blog I am writing right now!
1. Stop being a spectator.
The spectator usually sits back and comments nonchalantly. They sometimes angry at people because they think "how hard it is to do that?" or "why didn't you do this?" and they get frustrated because whatever they are looking for is not going as simple as they expect it to be. But the reality is, the problem is so much more complex than it is seen by a spectator.
Most of the articles I read offer solutions that I am confident to say they are only going to work on certain people and certain people are...people like the writer him/herself!
As a designer, the saying that you are not the user makes a lot of sense.
In my opinion, being a spectator and suggesting a solution that you are not understanding the problem's complexity is plain ignorance.
We can't all the time propose a solution that definitely will work but at least you have to have enough effort to prove that a solution is worth trying.
2. Get out of your comfort zone!
The process of problem-solving involves moving outside of your comfort zone. Stop looking through your lens only and try other people's perspectives. What seems to be the source of the problem can be your lead. For example, if you are trying to solve school bullying, maybe try to see life from the perspective of the bully itself and see the real reason why they are so mean to other students. From there your journey might continue to probably lead you to something else, it could be their parents, their environment growing up, or something else.
So in this case, you kinda have to wear different hats. Maybe first the victim, and then the criminal, and then the source of the criminal.
I used to want to solve the school bullying problem because I was bullied so I thought I am well equipped! Until I realize I have to also look at the perspective of the bully itself as well, their family, the teacher, and so many others.
It is indeed difficult to actually see and understand many parties' perspective. But many problems don't solve easily and that is probably the reason why problem-solving is an interesting one!
3. Start looking at the environment.
You have done seeing perspective from humans, so now stop speaking or talking and start seeing, reading, and observing. All you have to do is just be quiet and try to understand.
Usually, at this stage, many people give up solving problems entirely because you might realize the problem lies within all humans interacting with the environment and creating an ecosystem. An ecosystem of problems, to be exact.
You have to have mental as strong as steel to be able to actually solve problems!
Sometimes just by looking, reading, observing, trying to understand the environment you will finally realize how humans interact and what makes people think, act, or speak and you might extract the typical accurate scenario. You might almost be able to accurately guess what will happen next after next.
I have shared 3 general steps on problem-solving, now on to the threat!
Threats of problem-solving may include :
1. Naturally egocentric human mind.
All these are difficult to do for us as a human because we human are naturally egocentric. We always think from our own perspective, we always want to know how we feel, we always want to know how everything will affect us. So to really be neutral, shut our mind, make our mind stop thinking about ourselves is just one task that is difficult to do! Especially since we have done it for our whole lifetime.
2. Comfort Zone.
The comfort zone is one thing that will really slow us down or even stop us.
When someone is already comfortable with their environment, they live in a nice house, have nice cars, eat well. It is hard to convince them to try to live in a dirty place, commute with public transport, and eat dirty food for a long time to truly understand what other people from other classes are going through. They kinda have to do it long enough to the point it alters their mind and personality. By changing one's financial class it may even alter the aspiration.
So all these combined and you add them up with millions of people having similar mind and behavior, you probably will soon realize where the problem is truly from.
When you will soon reach the peak of solving a problem you might experience the feeling of how big of a problem you actually deal with and how small you are. Then you might start to doubt yourself, "am I really capable of this?".
All I can say is the feeling of realizing you underestimated yourself is really a good feeling.
I think people, in general, are surprising. People are actually capable of solve problems because creativity is also one of human's natural talents. When used wisely, it will bring benefits to everyone.