I’m a product designer now, but back in my seminary days there was a discipline I was taught that has stuck with me and become foundational to how I approach problem-solving. 1) Observe: ask lots of questions, get to know everything you can about your subject, and when you think you’re done go back and look some more. 2) Interpret: you’re intelligent; use your mind. Be honest and rigorous in evaluating what you’ve discovered, then draw your own conclusions about what it means. Only after that should you look at other people’s thoughts to see if there’s a perspective you missed. 3) Apply: go do something with your conclusions.
It’s easy to make the mistake of skipping to #3 because it feels more productive, but very often that leads to efficiently doing something not worth doing.