Are you sure you’re setting out to solve your problems the right way?  The 4Box Problem solving Model suggests you need to analyse the type of problem you’ve got before you can even begin to solve it.

Box 1 – The problem is clear and there is a known solution – easy, then, just do it. No point making a meal of it. Efficiency is the key management here.

Box 2 – The problem is clear, but there is no solution ready to hand. Maximising creativity, ideas and options here is key. The team need to feel they are working well together to encourage positive contributions

Box 3 – The problem is unclear. Something isn’t working but it isn’t clear what. Complex. interconnected data from diverse communities needs to be explored and analysed for patterns, relationships and connections in order to diagnose the problem. Then our problem may become a Box 2 or Box 1 type problem. Hard thinking and rigorous pursuit of evidence, building and rejecting hypotheses is key. The most successful teams are diverse and highly collaborative, drilling down to what is significant, and why, to then apply the best solution.

Box 4 – The problem is unclear, and the solution is unknown. Data evolves and is transformed continuously, meaning that data capture is important but only if it is still current. Sense making is important to give shape to the questions that define the problem. Fast cycling of ideas and proto-typing is key here, with feedback mechanisms to enable scaling up or down, forwards or backwards in response to new insight.

Most training stops at Box 2. with problems presented as a clear objective. If you are interested in developing the behaviours, skills and team culture for the Box 3 and 4 situations, enabling others to perform in conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity, and operating in World 2.0,  take a look at Braintoffee’s activities. Braintoffee supplies its own for unique scenarios for groups to work with around the table, to develop the capacity to handle complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity, and to perform well in these challenging situations.