Don’t Focus on the Problem – Focus on the Solution

I always find it interesting how, as a society, we tend to complicate things. Here are two good reminders that when you find yourself in a dilemma or under time restraints to just “kiss” (keep it simple, silly).

When NASA began launching astronauts into space, they found out that the pens they toolFocus on the solution - not the problem would not work in zero gravity because ink wouldn’t flow down to the writing surface. It took them one decade and $12 million to solve this problem. They developed a pen that worked in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.

What did the Russians do?
They used a pencil.

One of Japan ‘s biggest cosmetics companies received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty.  Immediately management isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department.  They found that one soap box had gone through the assembly line completely empty. Management looked to its engineers to solve the problem from happening again. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch to make sure all the soap boxes that passed through the line were full. They worked hard and they worked fast but they spent an extensive amount of time and money to find a solution.

But when an employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution.  He bought a strong industrial fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

Remember to always look for the simplest possible solution that solves the problem.

Do you ever find yourself focusing too much on the problem and not on the solution?

Author’s Bio
Suzanne Scales is the Executive Director of the CollegeAmerica Flagstaff campus. Suzanne has been employed with CollegeAmerica since 2002.  She started at the Denver campus as an instructor and has served in the roles of lead instructor, Associate Dean, Interim Dean of Education and Associate Director.  She moved to Flagstaff in August, 2008 and absolutely loves it there.  She brings to the table 13 years of experience in education, and 8 years experience in the field of healthcare.

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