Chapter 1: Love the Problem

I promised you that you will fall in love with the problem. I am no Love expert, but to fall in love with someone you should know a lot of things about them. Most questions which comes to my mind are favorite music and movies, Netflix or Running, Beer or Whiskey, Meat or Vegan.

But when you think about a problem you do not have these parameter to categories. We have aimless chains of thoughts about the root causes, and we all have realized that this is not the right way to be successful. The blog will help you in organizing your thoughts. This is your Stairway to Heaven.

The first step is to gather more information about the problem. What are the root causes for the problem? You can’t solve the problem if you do not know the root causes. Right?

But how can we do that in a simple way?

Fishbone Diagrams comes from the planet Krypton for your rescue. Created by Kaoru Ishikawa, Fishbone Diagram which is also known as Ishikawa diagram is a visualization tool for categorizing the potential causes of a problem in order to identify its root causes.

During initial phase, it is important to identify and categorize all potential factors which are causing the problem. Then you can focus on which categories of root causes are you planning to tackle.

One of the most popular example which I am sharing here is to find the root causes behind all the missed free throws during a Basketball game. After all, not all of us are Stephen Curry. Right?

It is best to have people from different industry or functions because they all think about a same problem in a different way. First, we should figure out all the major categories behind this problem. For a missed Free-Throw, it can be the player, the ball, the shooting style, the weather and the machines. Adding few more categories which not only change your fish to shark but also provide you a more detailed information about the problem. Second, you should add all the reasons or root causes under their specific categories.

A Typical Fishbone diagram looks like this —

Fishbone Diagrams: Missed Free-Throws in Basketball

This detailed analysis will help you decide which categories to focus on while solving the problem. I generally pick the root causes which I most of passionate about or I have more expertise on because the only I can build something meaningful. For example, someone from Adidas will focus on the ball or the player and a coach will focus more on the shooting style. So, it varies from your expertise, experiences and vision.

Great! After struggling for hours and thinking about all the causes, now you are a living Wikipedia about all the root causes behind the problem. Should we jump right into the building a product for the solution? NOPE!

You only have a glimpse of what the actual problem is all about.

The next step would be to verify the information and test your hypothesis. Why? You are not making this product for yourself, right? Well, then you should always understand the pain of those who will actually use your products. Who are they?

Customers! This diagram will help you in defining your vision. Once you know which category you are focusing on then you can think about your customers under that categories. Again back to the same example. If you are form Adidas then all the gaming organizers and retail stores are your customers. Being emphatic to your customers will actually help you understand whether there is any need for a solution or not.

The next steps are inspired by the design thinking methodologies which were developed by the Stanford d.School. Yes, Stanford has a school just for all the creative innovators. Talk about innovation.

Check out my next part Chapter 2: Design Thinking.


If you want to uncover few more mysteries behind all the success in Silicon Valley, please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn or GitHub and checkout my website viploveprakash.com.