The design and adoption of modern IT solutions has become a major focus in 2020. Small to Medium Businesses (SMB) are looking for innovative ways to improve their collaboration, communication and value they deliver to clients. The success of these innovations however is commonly more about the organisations ability to problem solve and brainstorm rather than the technology itself.
There are many tried and true methodologies and frameworks for enabling teams to brainstorm ideas. From mind mapping to round tabling, these methods are useful for finding innovative ways to solve problems.
As a business stacked full of engineers, we are rarely short of solutions or suggestions to problems. One thing however that becomes abundantly clear to a business with ‘all the answers’ is just how easy it is to solve the wrong problem, or problems that didn’t need solving in the first place.
So how do you know if you’re solving the wrong problem? More importantly, how do you know what the most important thing you need to solve is? Our approach to this has been a game changer for our business, allowing us to focus our energy on high impact activities & solutions to challenges in our business.
Firstly, Separate the Emotion
Problems generally come to the table as a result of a catalyst, often via a high profile client or staff member. It’s important to first separate the emotion and status tied to it in order to measure the true weight of the situation.
Questions like, “if this was another client/staff member, would we feel the same way?” can go a long way in identifying whether or not you are placing disproportionate amounts of importance to the situation.
Secondly, Understand the Impact
It’s almost impossible to have a truly effective brainstorming session without first understanding the impact. What is the cost of doing nothing vs. the potential gain of the ‘perfect solution’. This delta can serve as a measuring stick for the length and breadth of your creative license. Something with limitless potential should be brainstormed without financial or resource constraint. Likewise, a problem with limited upside should have a narrower scope, allowing for conclusions to be reached quickly and efficiently.
Third, Always ask ‘Why’
As the saying goes, “sometimes the problem is just the symptom of another problem”. It’s important to drill down several layers by asking ‘why’. Questions like “Why do we want this opportunity?”, and “why will that help us?” will eventually lead to the core need or desire that could reshape your entire approach to a situation.
How does any of this relate to IT Solutions?
Dealing with the above ensures that round table discussions or other brainstorming techniques can have the most impact. Asking ‘why’ provides a purpose. Understanding the impact defines a scope. Finally, separating the emotion removes bias and enables true creative thought.
It is these three precursors that best enable SMBs to articulate what they are trying to achieve and facilitate high value discussions with an IT provider such as ourselves. Most importantly, understanding the impact and scope of an opportunity opens the door to true ‘out of the box’ thinking when it comes to technical innovation and changing the way businesses interact with their clients.
Spending $50,000 on an IT upgrade is an absolute no brainier when the solution has the potential to deliver a quarter of a million dollar impact to the bottom line. It’s this kind of clarity and collaboration with a mature IT partner that SMBs of today are beginning to actively seek.
There is no silver bullet or one size fits all approach. If however you would like to have a discussion about how you could better adopt these practices in your business we would love to get in touch. You can book a meeting directly via our website.