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Reframing problems to think differently

Reframing is a crucial for changing your thinking and opening your mind to new possibilities. Look at the example below:

Employees working in a high-rise office building complain that the lifts are slow and frame the challenge as:

  • How can we get a faster lift? (expensive, disruptive and likely to be rejected)

Is that the right problem to solve?

Reframing might be:

  • How can we spread lift usage across the day to avoid bottle necks at rush time? (staggered worktimes, lunch breaks – doable and likely to be accepted)

To reframe the questions, try the following:

  1. Flip the question: How can we change the workday times so that people aren’t using the lift at the same time?
  2. Expand the question: How can we spread usage of the lift throughout the day?
  3. Make the user the subject: How can we get employees use the stairs?
  4. Change the context: How would other organisations deal with this problem?
  5. Make it unlikely: How can we eliminate the need for lifts?

Try asking different questions about your challenges and see if you can reframe your problem.