In an earlier post, I wrote about the challenge of staying in the problem space and not jumping to solutions too quickly. One should keep in mind that there are no easy or obvious solutions out there—if there were, they would have already been successfully implemented. Along with this, one should also be cautioned against generic, off-the-shelf solutions, particularly those sold by the innumerable management gurus whose books litter the (few remaining) bookstores. Generic solutions aren’t going to solve your problems—every organization has different processes and a different culture, both of which must be considered when designing solutions.
The most effective solutions will have two characteristics: they will be specific to the exact challenges faced by the organization, and the solutions will be a joint creation of the designer and the organization members. In my recent work, I’ve created an opportunity tree that’s helped me focus on the specific challenges faced in my organization. Armed with that detailed knowledge, I have reviewed ideas with organization members, to generate solutions that are desirable and workable in the context of the organization. Prototype testing of those ideas has allowed me to further refine and rework my solution, and with a little more testing, I hope to be able to offer a sustainable solution that is tailor-made to the context of my target population.