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Often, when we are asked to facilitate brainstorming sessions, clients ask us to work with their teams and partners to solve a problem.

But as you will hear in this YouTube video by Kevin Systrom, the Founder of Instagram, the majority of the time … the problem is finding the problem … not the solution!

Most organizations aren’t sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they’re attempting to solve, and articulating why those issues are important.

How many times have you seen a project go down one path only to realize in hindsight that it should have gone down another? How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem?

Many organizations need to become better at asking the right questions so that they tackle the right problems.

So … what are the RIGHT questions?

They are questions that dive deep below the surface. The ones that continue to ask WHY. The questions that make zero assumptions.

We like to use a system called ‘The Five Whys’.

It’s remarkably simple, when a problem occurs, you drill down to the root cause by asking WHY five times!

The technique was formally developed by Taiichi Ohno and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies.

For kids, ‘why’ questions help them make sense of the world around them that they are just beginning to learn about. These ‘why’ questions also help spur and accelerate learning.

Once again we can learn from our kids … and WHY NOT!?

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The problem is the problem