Why Problem Finding Is More Important Than Problem Solving

Solving problems, that’s what entrepreneurs do. But, more importantly: they identify, recognize and find problems worth solving.

This is where it starts, finding problems worth solving.

Problem solving refers to the process of identifying and resolving a problem that has already been identified. It involves using existing knowledge and skills to analyze the problem, generate potential solutions, and implement the best course of action.

Problem finding, on the other hand, refers to the process of identifying new or previously unseen problems. It involves actively seeking out new problems and opportunities, and requires a different set of skills and mindset compared to problem solving. Problem finding often involves creativity, curiosity, and a willingness to challenge assumptions and think outside the box. It is usually considered as the first step in the innovation process.

While problem solving is important for addressing current issues, problem finding is essential for generating new ideas and driving innovation. Both are critical for organizations to achieve their goals and stay competitive. Problem finding is more important than problem solving, for if we don’t define the most important problems clearly, we can end up promoting a single solution to every issue, i.e., I’ve got a hammer so everything looks like a nail.

5 Reasons Why Problem Finding Is More Important Than Problem Solving

Problem finding is more important than problem solving for several reasons, here are 5 of them:

  1. Innovation: Problem finding is the first step in the innovation process, it allows organizations to identify new opportunities and create new products, services, and processes that can give them a competitive edge.
  2. Adaptability: Problem finding helps organizations anticipate and proactively address potential issues, rather than simply reacting to problems as they arise. This allows them to be more adaptable and resilient in an ever-changing business environment.
  3. Growth: Problem finding is essential for business growth and expansion. Identifying new problems and opportunities can lead to new markets, products, and revenue streams.
  4. Creativity: Problem finding requires creativity and a willingness to think outside the box, it encourages employees to challenge assumptions and come up with new ideas.
  5. Continuous improvement: Problem finding is a continuous process, it allows organizations to continuously identify and address new problems and opportunities, which can lead to continuous improvement and business success.

However, it’s worth noting that both problem finding and problem solving are important for organizations, problem solving is necessary to address current issues, while problem finding is essential to generate new ideas and drive innovation.

With that said, how can you get better at finding problems worth solving?

Here are 10 ways:

  1. Stay curious: Keep an open mind and look for new and different perspectives. Be curious about the world around you, and always question assumptions and the status quo.
  2. Research and gather information: Research the industry and market you are working in. Gather information from different sources, including customers, employees, and competitors.
  3. Network: Network with people from different backgrounds and industries. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives that can help you to identify new problems and opportunities.
  4. Encourage diversity: Encourage diversity in your team, and actively seek out perspectives and ideas from different people.
  5. Stay informed: Stay informed about the latest industry trends and advancements in technology. This will help you to identify new problems and opportunities.
  6. Take calculated risks: Be willing to take calculated risks to test new ideas and concepts. Learn from failures and iterate.
  7. Challenge assumptions: Challenge assumptions and question the status quo. This can help you to identify new problems and opportunities that others may have overlooked.
  8. Collaborate: Collaborate with other teams or departments within the organization to share ideas and perspectives, and to gain new insights.
  9. Empower others: Empower others in your organization to drive problem finding, Create a culture of continuous improvement that encourages people to identify and solve problems.
  10. Practice: Practice problem finding regularly, by making it a habit, you can improve your ability to identify new and important problems.

Bottom line: For innovation, problem finding is more important than problem solving!