“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

– Albert Einstein

The problem solving toolkit is the foundation of the success of every top-tier strategy consulting firm. While they hire the best and brightest, they all have extensive training regiments on core problem solving, which can be used in just about every project on just about every type of problem businesses face.

Problem solving is the ability to break down problems, intimately understand them, and develop highly effective and efficient solutions to them. Sounds simple enough, yet the fundamentals necessitate a high degree of conceptual, quantitative and analytical thinking. In this section, I’ll focus on the fundamental concepts and tools that are important to the conceptual aspect of problem solving, and then in the next section, I’ll go over the quantitative and analytical tools.

Much of this content may seem a bit esoteric. I like to compare to learning philosophy, where much of the material may be esoteric, but the concepts and tools are incredibly powerful and essential to learning the fundamentals of logic. Many “first principle” tools and concepts are critical to the strong logic necessary for problem solving. So, while you may think, “ah this doesn’t seem important, or that is so simple,” I urge you to be patient with the content and reflect on your problem solving skills and how these tools and concepts can help your strategic thinking and decision making.

In this section, I’ll cover the top problem solving tools and concepts, including:

  1. Prioritization
  2. Problem Statement
  3. Hypotheses
  4. Disaggregation
  5. Hypothesis Trees
  6. Deductive and Inductive Logic
  7. The Power of Questions
  8. Root Cause Analysis
  9. Brainstorming
  10. Voice of the Customer

Just like all of the sections on this site, you can pick and choose a topic or if you want a nice overview of a section read the topics in order.