The Problem is Not the Problem
People are fascinated with getting ahead and being successful in their personal and professional lives. Generally, this has to do with their ability to solve problems, identify obstacles in their path, and figure out how to move past them. Regardless of profession, each of us is on the hook to solve problems ranging from the trivial to the intractable. But “problem” is an overused word. We assign the label to almost every imperfect situation we encounter, then deal with all of them in roughly the same way: either we avoid them or tackle them head-on. Then we wonder what happened when, lo and behold, our kneejerk “solutions” turn against us. For all our efforts to conquer the skill, for all the value we place on those who do it well, we t oo often ignore a critical truth about problem-solving: problems are not always problems. More accurately, there is a range of problem types, and a range of different strategies appropriate for handling them. We just can’t tell the difference. In this talk, recognized design thinker Harry Max reveals a new model for diagnostic thinking, one that will forever change the way you envision problem solving.
Prior to joining Rackspace, Harry was an Executive Coach working primarily with Google, PayPal, and other global brands. He has been a founder or on the boot-up team of five start-ups and has worked with companies like Apple, O’Reilly, HP, SGI, and DreamWorks. An early pioneer in e-commerce and crowd sourcing, he was co-founder of Virtual Vineyards (the original wine.com), where he designed all the interaction concepts behind the first secure shopping cart; and the founder of Public Mind, the first Open Innovation platform for harnessing the voice of the customer. Although he is now an executive and leader in the technology sector, fundamentally he is a caring creative, driven to prove what is possible. His passion is helping people by getting to the heart of the matter. He advocates for clarity, freedom, transparency, and service. He has written a number of books and is currently working on another, which is the subject of his talk.