A problem is rarely ever singular or absolute, but exists in an ecosystem of interconnected issues. It’s important to distinguish between problems that can be tackled directly and those which contribute to the core issue at hand.
The problem reflects the gap between the current situation and a desirable future. How a problem is framed is critical in the innovation journey, as it shapes the ultimate actions taken.
Problems should cut across different systems, so they have both organizational and larger systems implications. They could also involve different time frames, posing immediate and long-term challenges. If a problem does not manifest across different levels, then it may not be suitable for systems innovation.
As organizations learn more about the connected problems, they must remain open to rethinking and reframing the problems. It is impossible to know all there is to know about systems, as much is hidden from view. What may appear to be one problem may actually be hiding other problems. And, by reframing the problem, new ideas may be uncovered.
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