The Problem with Solutions

The value of a solution is a problem not worth repeating.

The 5 Why process is one of the many tools that serve to help us to state a given problem, identify a root cause, and ultimately derive a solution to resolve the concern.

One of the caveats that potentially undermines the effectiveness of the 5 Why process is repeatability.  The probability of arriving at a given solution is as varied as the participants in the 5 Why process itself.

The scope and description of the problem become the framework on which the solution is formed.  The questions that evolve through the 5 WHY process depend on the skills and expertise of the participants.  An effective means of deriving an effective solution is explained in our post “How to use the 5-Why approach.”

The problem with the solutions that evolve from the 5-Why process is the limited scope from which they were derived.  In other words, the application of a given solution is constrained by the very problem it is intended to solve.

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

~ Albert Einstein

The ideal solution will resolve the immediate problem and will also yield broader “best practices” at the system and process levels to prevent recurrence in other/different applications.

The knowledge and lessons learned throughout the problem-solving process should also cascade into the systems, processes, and methods that affect future successes and outcomes.  A problem solved is not repeated.

TRIZ is another creative problem-solving technique used to view problems and solutions from different perspectives.  TIPS, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,  is another acronym that may be used to describe TRIZ.  The following websites offer more insight into TRIZ:

The above sites offer insights into TRIZ and how it can influence our thinking to solve problems from new and different perspectives.  Learn more about “Resolving Contradictions” at

Until Next Time – STAY lean!







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