How can we increase our profitability? Why is our product underperforming? How can we provide clean drinking water to all? Complex problem solving requires both specialist and generalist skills.

Much of our training at university and other places helps us develop specialist skills. Much less enables us to develop our generalist skills, that is, our strategic thinking. These, the thinking seems to go, we can acquire on the job, by trial and error.

But training by experience can be expensive. As an alternative, this site provides ideas to help you become a better strategic thinker.

1. Frame

Problem solving starts with framing the problem—or defining it—that is, ensuring that you are focusing on an appropriate problem, not on just a symptom or a less critical problem.

2. Diagnose

Second, diagnose the problem; that is, uncover its root cause(s). Diagnosing helps you understand your problem more in depth and might lead you to reframe it.

3. Explore

Next, explore (or identify) potential solutions before comparing them and deciding which one(s) to implement.

4. Implement

Finally, implement your chosen solution(s): Convince your team/boss/client that you have selected a good solution, implement it, monitor its effectiveness, and adjust as needed.