What is your problem? Really.

Most of us agree with Captain Jack Sparrow. Sure, your attitude towards your problem is your first step to solving it. But have you ever asked yourself – what’s your problem? Often times when we jump into solving problems, we forget the first step – are we solving for the right problem. Confused? Let us tell you a case about how it’s important to first define your problem before you start doing anything about it.

The Premise:

FIIB is a 25-year-old B-School that believes in practising what it preaches – an experiential learner’s mindset. With a culture of listening and understanding, FIIB solves its messy challenges by encouraging the buy-in of all of its stakeholders. One problem that came up in one of those many conversations was that there was an increase in students reaching late to their morning classes. Now, how would you decrease that? 

If you have jumped on to the solutions like – starting classes a little late or bringing stricter rules for late coming… Let us stop you right there. You aren’t wrong in thinking so, most of us would do that. 

But here’s the twist – what FIIB’s Academic Affairs department did was dig a little deeper, be human-centric, in this case, try and understand the reasons why students are being late. What followed were some anonymous surveys where it was found that since a lot of students missed breakfast in the morning to attend classes, a) they spent extra minutes either in the cafeteria or the tea stall outside to quickly eat and get to classes b) due to morning rush, there were delays in the cafeteria. 

That changes your perspective, right? 

It sure did for FIIB’s stakeholders. To be able to solve better, the only way was to understand the user (students) problems better. What followed was a Design Thinking approach understanding all perspectives, posing all questions the user might have, coming up with various solutions, and in the end picking a feasible solution. 

The Solution:

The team came up with a solution, Refreshments To Go – healthy breakfast for all the students and employees that is both on time, zero effort, complimentary, and bonus benefit serving as a place to catch up with everyone informally at mornings!

While you design think, your problems can entirely change and likewise the perspectives based on who you’re solving for, so before jumping into solutions, please stop and ask – What’s your problem? Really.