The ability to problem solve is critical to success in today’s business world.
But to stay ahead of the competition, innovation is equally—if not more—important.
Not everybody recognizes the difference between problem solving and innovation. In business-speak, many people interchange one term with the other.
But in reality, these two approaches to thinking are quite different.
Problem solving is more about reacting to a specific situation, such as a crisis. Its goal is to make up lost ground and restore the status quo.
In contrast, innovation is about being proactive, focusing on new opportunities, improving performance, raising the bar…and breaking through the status quo.
Reframing the question
Let’s say you work for a mid-range hotel that is experiencing 100% high turnover of frontline staff.
If you’re trying to solve the problem, you might ask yourself: How do we decrease turnover? This question narrows your focus and seems to address the immediate concern.
If you want to be innovative, you might reframe the question as an opportunity. Consider taking a more positive approach, such as: How do we increase retention?
Rewritten a few other ways, you may come up with:
Essentially, by reframing a problem so it focuses on opportunities, you can:
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