Problems; something that seems to be the focus of all dialogue and marketing to businesses, and the subject of an earlier blog on people having problems, not businesses. And whilst there is strong compelling evidence that negative marketing is effective it is all a bit …well … negative.
When business and people are always presented with a dialogue of problems it can be very difficult to see how and where to find creative solutions. How many problems go unsolved because a solution can’t be found?
Charities are usually good at not properly solving problems. Why? Because they only ever look at other charities for a solution. This is the key; you won’t find a solution if your search only includes the same organisations as your own, or the same groups that are also experiencing the same problem.
Years ago, I suggested that a sector group I was involved in reach out to different sectors (Finance and Retail I think) and get them to present some data innovations that the we could use. I wasn’t suggesting we invite a prolific serial killer along, but this was the reaction I got. Perish the thought that we should seek help or input from someone who wasn’t ‘one of our own’.
However, more recently at an event there was a neonatal team presenting the way they had solved a problem. They had an issue moving one of the neonatal pods from one place to another because all the leads and equipment. They thought about who had similar issues. Who did they come up with? Formula 1 teams.
The neonatal team stood back and thought about the problem not the context. It didn’t matter the equipment was not neonatal support or even medical, the crux of the problem was moving a mass of individual items that had to be moved together and at speed.
See, Formula 1.
Context really does muddy the water, stopping you from properly seeing the problem. It’s irrelevant what your specific business is, your problem is probably not unique and is likely to have been solved by someone, but you must be open to who that someone is.
Think of it like dating; if you always go for the bad boy with the same history of philandering and devil-may-care attitude that’s all you’re ever going to get. It’s only when you start to look at the back-runners that you’ll find the funny, dependable companion you’ve been after. It’s just thinking outside the box or more precisely accepting there might be something outside the box and being prepared to take a look.