Spend more time identifying the problem to create a better solution.

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Zachary Owen Double Diamond, strategy, Career...

Albert Einstein once stated that “If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes defining it and 5 minutes solving it”. When thinking about problem solving, there is often a tendency to only focus on the creation of a solution rather than first attempting to define and contextualise the root cause of the issue. It is only by gaining a true understanding of the problem at hand that we can create long term solutions and avoid slipping back into the mistakes of the past. This is the particular challenge that is faced by digital consultants, identifying problems and creating long term solutions in a fast paced environment where technological advances challenge the very concept of longevity.

Heidi Theys, Conversion Talent’s Head of Consultancy places great importance on effective identification within the problem solving process saying that “the first step is always assessing needs and defining a strategy. It’s crucial to know what you’re aiming at before racing. Moreover, we don’t want our contribution to be a drop in the ocean, we want to make an impact”. In order to gain an in-depth view of the client’s needs as well as their priorities, Theys adopts a method known as the “Double Diamond Strategy”, a model originally invented by the British Design Council to ensure an exhaustive approach to problem solving is adopted.

The first step in the Double Diamond is to understand what has triggered a change or opportunity within the market. This is a divergent phase and requires those working on an issue to take a more holistic view of the field in order to identify what shifts are happening at a macroeconomic level. The next stage is to use the data driven understanding of the bigger picture to hone in on the specific problems that the company must address in order to move forward and utilise that market shift to their advantage.

Theys highlights this as the most crucial part of the whole process and what the success of a good consultant hinges on. An effective solution cannot be found without having first got to grips with the concept that you are working with, she states that the more time spent “focusing on the problem, helps to increase the chances of finding the solution in the end”. This is why it is so crucial to integrate the consultancy team within the existing structure of the company so that employees can tackle the problem at hand and learn from the process as a whole, leaving them better equipped in the long term to confront any similar issues. Consultancy should be a learning experience that helps to create a more refined and agile company. One that is prepared for the technological challenges of today and tomorrow.