Learning From Mistakes

An event occurred this afternoon that required an immediate resolution. When asked whether we were going to pursue the root cause, I could only respond with this question: What’s the point of making mistakes if we’re not going to learn from them? This is likely the shortest post I ever published here, however, I think the simplicity of the message […]

The Invisible Gorilla

Just when you thought everything was under control, someone asks you about something that isn’t even on your radar.  Our perceptions can be deceiving and are not always as accurate or reliable as we think.  This is nicely documented and demonstrated in this article and video that we found on Yahoo today:  The Invisible Gorilla. If the above link doesn’t work, cut and paste the following […]

Solutions by Definition

The recent British Petroleum (BP) oil dilemma brings yet another problem solving opportunity to the forefront.  Fortunately, few of us have to deal with problems of this scope and magnitude. Problem solving is a daily challenge for many of us and, like the BP oil dilemma, rarely are they presented in clear and concise terms. Our ability to define and […]

The High-Velocity Edge Is Here!

Update:  Steven J. Spear has been awarded the Philip Crosby Medal for his book “The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition” according to a Press release from ASQ—the world’s largest network of quality resources and experts (Milwaukee, WI March 2, 2011). We have raved about the book “Chasing the Rabbit” written by Steven J. Spear […]

Foundations of Failure

The problem with many of the problems we find ourselves having to contend with at any given time is that we learn of their existence after the fact (when the damage is done) or after discovering that the results we were looking for simply didn’t materialize.  As we learned from Michael A. Roberto’s book, “Know What You Don’t Know“, there […]

Toyota: Managing Nightmares

The Nightmare Toyota continues to be plagued by recalls.  The current acceleration issues (either floor mats or “sticky” accelerators), braking issues on the Prius Hybrid, and now reports in the USA of steering problems with 2009 and 2010 Corollas.  While the majority of the news reports focus on the next steps to repair faulty vehicles, the real nightmare is the human tragedy that was and may still be […]

Agility Through Problem Solving: a Model for Training and Thinking

We tend to use analogies when we are discussing certain topics, introducing new concepts, or simply presenting an abstract idea.  Analogies are intended to serve as a model that people understand, can relate to or identify with, and, more importantly, remember.  Our challenge is to identify a simple model that can be used to teach people to identify and solve problems – a core competency […]

Using TRIZ for Problem Solving – Resources

In our first post on this topic, “Using Triz for Problem Solving – Introduction“, we provided a very basic introduction to TRIZ.  In the spirit of TRIZ, it is not our intent to rewrite or redefine the TRIZ process when excellent information is already available.  Our intent is to identify the few of the many excellent and exceptional resources that we have found. What is […]

Using TRIZ for Problem Solving – Introduction

Using TRIZ for Problem Solving – Introduction A famous quote from Albert Einstein, “The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.“, applies to the discussion of problem solving and more so to the topic of TRIZ, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, developed by Genrich S. Altshuller. TRIZ – Theory of Inventive Problem Solving […]