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Play freely with the problem statement, rewording it several times.
A rich vocabulary plays an important role here, so you may want to use a thesaurus or develop your vocabulary.
Every problem — no matter how apparently simple it may be — comes with a long list of assumptions attached.
Write a list and expose as many assumptions as you can — especially those that may seem the most obvious and ‘untouchable’.
That, in itself, brings more clarity to the problem at hand.
The good news is that getting different perspectives and angles in order to clearly define a problem is a skill that can be learned and developed.
As such, there are many strategies you can use to perfect it. When a Toyota executive asked employees to brainstorm “ways to increase their productivity”, all he got back were blank stares.
While such an assumption may seem true at first, try challenging it and maybe you’ll find some very interesting business models (such as one restaurant in which customers bring dish ideas for the chef to cook, for example).
Each problem is a small piece of a greater problem.
If each problem is part of a greater problem, it also means that each problem is composed of many smaller problems.
It turns out that decomposing a problem in many smaller problems — each of them more specific than the original — can also provide greater insights about it.‘Chunking the problem down’ (making it more specific) is especially useful if you find the problem overwhelming or daunting.