Youtube: The problem solution ratio

Apols for second post today, but want to share latest video…

It’s on why we get stuck on describing problems in great detail rather than thinking up (and getting to work on implementing) solutions, all in 2 and a half minutes. Ironically (i.e. hypocritically), the problem to solution ratio is 4:1, whereas I recommend 1:3. So it goes… (Of course, I should deploy some of that Freud/Jung projection and shadow stuff to *really* explain why we want to blame Everyone Else. But that would be a longer and less preachy video. Can’t be having that…

This comment by Johnnie Moore on his site (thanks for the hat-tip!) is spot on…

I’m a bit cautious about setting a problem-solution ratio. We can admire the principle but I doubt people can agree on what’s a problem and what’s a solution. For example, the man suggesting National Service as a response to riots think he’s in solution territory. Others will think he’s actually making the problem worse.

We’re familiar with the axiom if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. But it’s easily arguable that if we can’t acknowledge our own part in any dysfunctional system, there may be no progress. As someone tweeted a while ago, in this case, if you’re not part of the problem, you’re not part of the solution.

In fact, we might do better to loosen our hold on this binary idea of problems and solutions.


About dwighttowers

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3 Responses to Youtube: The problem solution ratio

  1. Antonio Dias says:

    Wrote this down last evening:

    Striving for answers presupposes that we know what the question is. We jump to that conclusion at our own peril. Stay with the question.

    This applies here, not by substituting “solutions” for “answers,” etc, but by realizing that jumping to see everything as a problem is already jumping to answers.

    Ah, I’ve got a problem with lumping Freud in there with Jung…

    Yes, looking at the shadow would get in the way of a good problem complaint session!

  2. leavergirl says:

    Good point, Antonio. But if the problem is well formed, yada-yadding it to death is just more of using people. How many books are written blathering on and on about the problems that we’ve known about for years? And provide some lame stuff pretending to get a crack at problem solving, at the very end, in a few pages.

    Would be nice if all book reviewers kept this in mind to include in the review. The ratio. Yes. And that applies when responding to articles on the web that make room for discussion.

  3. dwighttowers says:

    Thanks for both your comments. I think we need to define what we mean by ‘problems’ more – some are amenable(ish) to straightforward ‘solutions’, others are messier etc.
    Love the idea of making problem-solution ratio part of book reviews!!

    More to say on all this soon because a) yesterday we freed a deer whose antlers were hopelessly tangled up in twine and a vine – the only other option was to shoot it and b) today I have had various epiphanies while doing one jigsaw (300 pieces) with wife and niece and starting another (1000 piece one).

    Anyway, this comment was left on the youtube page itself by this person, and I think it’s crackin’ good.

    On the details solution – here’s my one to three problem/solution with the video.
    Problem is, we can and do give prestige to people who have tacit or practical knowledge which aids problem-solving – and this in itself is actually desirable.
    The solution to knowing the difference could be:
    a) structuring meetings by having a set agenda to avoid drift into disasterbation,
    b) minuting agreed actions (to avoid the creation of new problems to talk about), and
    c) crediting people for actions they’ve taken

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