Are Your Lights On?
My take: great book - short, easy, uses parables. Applies to all facets of life. A little corny and dated at times.
What Is The Problem?
What is the problem? Figure it out. Don’t rush to a solution, but don’t jerk off defining the problem either.
Mentally shift gears from problem solver to problems solver. Problems are often faceted and curing one can create others.
Who has a problem? What is the essence of each person’s problem?
A problem is the difference between desired and perceived
Don’t mistake a proposed solution for a problem definition - especially your own!
Moral issues tend to melt in the heat of a juicy problem - beware.
Don’t be so sure you have a correct definition, even after the problem is solved. Never stop trying to get a definition.
Whose Problem Is It?
The Endless Chain
Each solution is the source of the next problem
The trickiest part of some problems is just recognizing their existence - some solutions make hidden problems appear.
Think of at least 3 things wrong with a solution - if you can’t do that, you haven’t thought hard enough.
Problem displacement: making the solution other peoples’ problem. Huge issue for designers of products they don’t use.
Test your definition on a foreigner or child: does it hold water?
Be very careful & explicit with words & problem statements. Misunderstandings are often the source of bad solutions or shitty problem definitions.
Don’t solve other peoples’ problems when they’re capable themselves.
If it’s their problem, make it their problem. Also try blaming yourself and making it your problem, if only for a moment to get a better understanding.
Where Does The Problem Come From?
Most of the time, problems come from you - empathize and sack up.
Bureaucracies and processes, themselves usually created to solve a problem, have a tendency to generate and invent new problems.
Do we really want it solved? Quick solutions are sometimes ignored because solving is fun.
People seldom know what they want until you give them what they ask for.
When you do want the solution, be prepared for side effects
Try to see the now “invisible” things that might get broken/called out by your solution. We’re habituated to things being a certain way, and startled by their reminder or absence by some solutions.