By Ruth Hill and the Mind Tools Team
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The Problem-Definition Process

Developing the Right Solution

Four stepping stones.

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Understand your problem and its wider context.

When we try to solve business problems, we can often pressurize ourselves to find solutions quickly.

The problem with this is that we can end up only partially solving the problem, or we can solve the wrong problem altogether, with all of the delay, expense, and lost business opportunity that goes with this.

The Problem-Definition Process helps you avoid this. In this article, we'll look at this process and we'll see how to apply it.

Overview

Dwayne Spradline published the Problem-Definition Process in September 2012's Harvard Business Review.

Spradline is the President and CEO of Innocentive, an organization that connects organizations with freelance problem solvers. He developed the process over 10 years, while working with a community of more than 25,000 "problem solvers" such as engineers, scientists, and industry experts.

The process gives you four steps that help you better understand complex problems. These steps are:...

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