Great problem solvers spend more time understanding the problem than they do brainstorming solutions. The solution is evident if you truly understand the problem. A problem solver’s greatest leverage is directly related to their understanding of the problem. The real problem.
What’s the real problem?
You can apply the same logic to problem-solving. We are often alerted to a problem by a surface level event or experience. Creating solutions based on a single event may create a temporary fix, but will often result in a repeat of the problem. The Iceberg Model is a four-step approach to evaluating a problem. Your ultimate goal is to identify the root causes, underlying structures and mental models that trigger problematic events.
The Iceberg Model
- Events : First, observe and describe what has happened or what is happening.
- Patterns & Trends : Then, determine if this event or similar events have happened before? What are the patterns of occurrences? What trends have you seen?
- Structures & Systems : Finally, identify the things, procedures or behaviors that contributed to this event. Why is this happening?
- Mental Models : What are the beliefs and assumptions that created and shaped the system?
Employing The Iceberg Method to problem-solving will lay a foundation for creating long-term, sustainable solutions.