The complexity of the world around us has increased considerably. All of us not only cope with the immense complexity around us every day, but we thrive in it. We have developed sophisticated internal mechanisms to enable us to do so. However, when it comes to dealing with complexity in business context, very often we find ourselves using methods and vocabulary from the past. In this blog, I will explain three strategies that are crucial for dealing with complex problems. But first off, for the sake of common understanding let’s define what complex problems are. Complex problems are characterized by a large number of interacting variables and a large number of unknowns, and we cannot convert them into determinate problems in a feasible time frame. The three strategies that help us design our way out of complex problems are as follows:
Old management textbooks tell us that the first step to solving a problem is to ‘define’ it. But as we see from its definition, we cannot actually ‘define’ a complex problem. Instead, we ‘frame’ a workable problem out of a complex situation. One notable difference between framing and defining is that, unlike defining, framing has a personal angle to it, which means a designer or a team frame a problem based on their worldview, and there is no absolute right or wrong. The below video underlines the importance of framing in dealing with complex problems.