This reminds me of Laura Martini’s piece about the process and reality behind design thinking (Check it out!). In any field that aims to help people by creating new systems or services, even the best laid plans rarely survive first contact. Humanity is too unpredictable for that, with our habits, connections, needs, opinions and dozens of other similarly interesting and problematic features.
Part of what makes creating strong solutions possible is acknowledging that the problem we’re trying to solve is big, complicated, and unique — in other words, far beyond our direct control — and that this is fine and normal. Once you get past the initial shock value (How do you eat a whole elephant?), you find ways to make it simpler and more approachable (One bite at a time), by breaking it down into more manageable pieces.
We have a plethora of tools in our toolbox to take on big problems piece by piece. Different problems call for different tools, so it’s better to understand how (and why) to use many different methods for researching, analyzing systems, and creating solutions.