Razor-Sharp Thinking: the What-Why Method

Charles Mingus as soon as stated, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” As a society, we sometimes make the difficult commonplace. This is especially true with reference to problem-solving as we add to the puzzle of complexity every day. My proposal is to introduce a brand new technique combining components from two easy (but highly effective) strategies to create an awesomely easy, but efficient problem-solving and clarification technique.

First, Terry Borton’s Development Framework (What – So What – Now What) because the logical clarification device. Second, the 5-Why approach utilized in root-cause evaluation (RCA) as the straightforward problem-solving device. Using Occam’s razor as my underlying precept, I suggest a brand new technique known as the What–Why Method.

Crazy Simple!

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Using the army for instance, we discover that quite a few problem-solving strategies exist inside the U.S. army. In the U.S. Army alone, we now have a smorgasbord of choices to pick from. From the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) to the Army Design Methodology (ADM) to Lean Six Sigma (LSS), we aren’t quick on choices. However, if we comply with the philosophy of Occam’s razor, we are going to discover that we will slice by way of the muddle and establish one easy technique.

Suppose you might have two potential explanations for an issue, Occam’s razor demonstrates that the only choice is usually the most suitable choice.[1] Occam’s razor has two elements which function the underlying precept of my What-Why Method.

  1. The Principle of Plurality. Plurality shouldn’t be assumed as a reality with out necessity.
  2. The Principle of Parsimony. The scientific precept that issues are sometimes linked or behave within the easiest method.

What – So What – Now What

Developed in 1970 by Terry Borton, Borton’s Development Framework offers us an easy and straightforward to know strategy to something.[2] This easy framework includes solely three questions, which might simply clarify any idea. The questions comply with the idea of Reflective Practice, which is the power to replicate in your actions to have interaction within the means of studying.[3] Reflective Practice holds three elements: Experiences (what occurred to you?), Reflective Process (what lets you be taught from the expertise?), and Action (what new perspective do you now possess because of your reflection?). Borton’s Development Framework possesses the next three questions:

  1. What? The expertise.
  2. So What? Analysis of reflection or means of reflection.
  3. Now What? Synthesis and new views from reflection. This is the place you identify what to do subsequent and what your subsequent motion might be.

5-Why Technique

Metaphorically talking, if we need to kill a weed, we should first discover the basis. A root-cause is an element inflicting nonconformance and needs to be completely eradicated. The root-cause is basically “the evil at the bottom” that units issues in movement inflicting the issue.[4] Let’s rapidly have a look at the construction of an issue and break down the definition of root-cause through Asq.org.

Root-Cause Defined

  • An element that prompted a nonconformance and needs to be completely eradicated.
  • An element that influences a consequence or end result.
  • Must be utterly eradicated or eliminated.

Let’s now flip our consideration to root-cause evaluation (RCA). RCA is a collective time period describing a variety of approaches and strategies utilized to find root-causes of issues. The 5-Why technique is one wherein we had been all consultants at once we had been youngsters. Essentially, the 5-Why approach is an iterative interrogative approach used to find out the root-cause of an issue by repeatedly asking the query “Why?” The approach was formally developed by Taiichi Ohno and was extremely utilized at Toyota. Furthermore, the “5” within the title comes from an anecdotal remark on the variety of iterations wanted to resolve an issue.

Simple Approach for Thinking

By utilizing my What-Why Method, we additionally discover that we’re in a position to transfer by way of Blooms Classification of Thought Process (in any other case often known as Blooms Taxonomy), the place we will rapidly perceive and describe an issue or subject. Additionally, my technique takes us by way of the Hierarchy of Learning together with Blooms Taxonomy.

When we carry all of it collectively, we discover that we now have a solution to rapidly resolve an issue and rapidly current or temporary info. It additionally affords us a solution to logically and simply categorize and current info, particularly if we’re posed with a troublesome and impromptu query.

Easily Explain Anything

Let’s see how my technique works utilizing an instance from the foster care system (go to my web site for extra info on the foster care system). By shifting by way of the questions within the picture above (What-Why Method), let’s see what we uncover.


So What?

Now What?

Lastly, John Driscoll matched Borton’s three inquiries to the levels of the experiential studying cycle and added set off questions.[5] By linking set off inquiries to Borton’s framework, we’re in a position to produce a transparent description of the occasion, an evaluation of the occasion (critical thinking), and synthesis of the occasion (creative thinking). Combining the What – So What – Now What framework with the 5-Why approach basically creates the only type of problem-solving in existence. As Wilfred A. Peterson stated,

See it large and maintain it easy.

Using the What-Why Method permits us to only that… See it large, but maintain it quite simple!


[1] Harold Lambert: How Occam’s Razor Works
[2] Physio-Pedia: Borton’s Development Framework
[3] Skills You Need: Reflective Practice
[4] ASQ: What is Root Cause Analysis
[5] Driscoll: Critical Reflection

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