Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Solving Complex Problems

The Catalyst

David Moncur posed a series of questions to me yesterday:

  • How do you solve problems?

  • What is your process?

  • How do you solve them differently?

He pushed me quite a bit on the topic and I could not precisely articulate the process, this is one of the reasons I decided to create the blog. I tend to operate much better by providing examples, rather than conjecture.

The Metaphor

After our meeting, I recalled one of the first times that I remember being rewarded for my non-conventional problem solving.

I was 12 years old and all of the kids in the stands at the Buffalo Bill Cody Stamped Rodeo were invited into the arena to participate in a contest. The objective of the contest was to grab a ribbon off the tail of a calf. The individual who ended up with the ribbon won a case of Snake River Sarsaparilla.

Snake River Sarsaparilla

Well there were a whole lot of kids in the arena, probably 250. When the rodeo clown blew his whistle, all of the kids started running directly at the calf. The calf ran to the fence and started running around the perimeter. I quickly realized that I was not going to catch the calf by running with the crowd. I thought for a moment and began to run in the other direction. I knew that the calf was running along the fence of the arena and if I stayed on the perimeter, the calf was bound to run right to me. The calf did in fact run right to me and I was able to grab the ribbon.


I thought this story was a great metaphor for my problem solving process. I encourage you to add your own stories and look forward to your feedback.

No comments:

Post a Comment