Not every problem can be solved with an off-the-shelf solution. The more that people can tailor or custom-fit a solution to a particular problem, the more effective the end product will likely be over time.

Why prescribe a solution that solves 80-90% of a customer’s problems? It’s easy, likely cheaper, and requires less effort than to install and service. What happens to the other 10-20% of your organization’s problems? You don’t worry about them, they may work themselves out over time, or focus is directed elsewhere.

The small problems are usually the toughest to sort out because they involve changing the way people relate to one another, cultural shifts, and a deep look at how an organization functions. The process of digging into the foundation of an organization may turn up things that people don’t want to see or hear.

I’m not suggesting that all of these small problems need to be worked through, but rather that you simply need to be aware of them.


Because small changes in the right spot and the right time can have major effects downstream or across your network of connections. It also might prevent you from spending quite a bit of time and money on a product that you don’t need or that doesn’t really solve your core problems.

Core problems are best addressed working from the inside-out. Call it design, a design-oriented approach, or design-thinking, it’s all about having a deep understanding of the context and the factors that affect how you do business. When you can see them, then you will be in a better position to create change.

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