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Innovative Mindset Challenge: Video 2: Frame the Problem

So, if you’re watching this video, ideally, you’ve got an issue in mind that you’d like to start getting some resolution on. Before you jump to a solution, it’s best to know as much as you can about the problem in the first place.

A smart man once said: 'If I have an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solution’ Albert Einstein You’ve noticed a problem, and luckily you have more than an hour to “solve” it. So let’s look at the problem.

The first activity in exercising your innovative mindset is to take the problem and look at it from all different angles, and look around the problem too.

In the large group physical training example I mention in the welcome video of the challenge, I was tasked to figure out how to put together a workout for a group of 300 people. To frame the problem, I started with the biggest snag I had with the task, the sheer number of people. Some people were deployed, some worked different shifts, some would have to be on duty to cover operations. I reasoned that the most I could expect at any one event would be 150 personnel. Even pre-covid, we would need to be outside if we were going to be working out together. It would have to be structured, planned, and there would need to be assistants. I looked at the goal of physical training in the Air Force at the time. It’s fitness test. Running, crunches, and pushups. The workout needed to be challenging but flexible for people with various fitness levels. As I looked at the problem more, it became less daunting and clearer. It became simpler.

Paloma Cantero-Gomez puts it this way, “If you cannot keep it simple probably, you have not reached the roots of it yet.”

Your challenge for this week is to Frame the Problem; assess the issue. Get as much clarity on it as possible. Ask others for input. Determine who is involved, figure out external influencers, the internal ones. Define and separate elements of the issue that you have control over, and those you don’t. This might mean you change or develop your problem statement as it becomes more defined.

Framing the problem correctly is an important step in overcoming any obstacle. But you don’t have to do it alone. Drop a comment or message if you have a question or want to talk through something. You can do it. Find a way to do it, not a reason why you can’t.

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