Create a Paradigm Shift to Solve Problems

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in Problem Solving | 0 comments

Our beliefs can sometimes limit our ability to think creatively.  We have trouble coming up with a creative solution because we get stuck in one way of thinking about a problem.  We’re use to seeing a problem handled in a certain way and we end up with a “tunnel-vision” perspective on the problem. 
Paradigms are ways of thinking about, perceiving, and understanding the world around us.  We often share paradigms because they are based on a shared based of knowledge.  For example, before Galileo proved that the sun was the center of the solar system, people throughout Europe believed that the sun revolved around the earth.  But after Galileo proved that the earth was not the center of the universe, the Western world underwent a serious paradigm as people realized the universe was designed differently than they had imagined.  People had to look at and understand the world and their place in it differently.
Paradigms tend to be static and difficult to change.  We hold onto them even when they no longer match the reality of the world around us.  Paradigms often cause you to look at problems in a limited way.
To create a paradigm shift you need to change one of the three elements of the problem:  the current situation, desired situation, or the key facts.  Doing this will force you to think about the problem in a new and different way.
Here’s an example.  A client of mine was having a problem in their relay manufacturing process due to contamination.  Their paradigm was contamination was caused by operators not following their procedures.  I began to show them that contamination was entering the process from other sources, i.e., the parts supplied by their suppliers and by the process itself.  Once they corrected these issues, contamination was reduced by 80 to 90%.    

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