The Art of Problem Solving in Web Projects |

Opportunity, Creativity, and Strategy Go Hand-In-Hand

Your boss returns from a conference, calls a meeting with the marketing department and says “We must Tweet”, “We must track Web stats”, “We must be Social” and a campaign is hastily assembled. Sound familiar? Truth is, he may not know why he wants you to Tweet, track web stats or engage in Social media.

ideal-frameworkAll he knows is that, suddenly, new tools and apps and engagement mechanisms are popping up like crazy. These are things we’ve lived without for years-Tweets, Social business pages, tracking Web stats for every possible move on the online chess board–and now, suddenly, your boss feels pressured to be everything to everyone. He’s worried that by not doing these things it is putting

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the company’s future in jeapordy…though he might not put it so dramatically. Still, there’s fear.

At this moment, everybody in the room is experiencing something that looks like neurological pinball. Your boss just realized that the company is missing out on possible advantages. He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know how. That’s not his job. He just knows it’s got to happen. The amygdala, the part of his reptilian brain that tells him to fight-or-flee, has been triggered. Unfortunately, now your fight-or-flee

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mechanism has been triggered because you have to ’save the company’ (not that anyone is expressing it that way, that’s just how it feels in that moment). But what your boss is asking you

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to do is to solve a problem and develop an online marketing strategy. You do this by engaging your pre-frontal cortex, the part of your brain that solves problems rather than running away or fighting.

Unfortunately, if everyone responds to their

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neurochemical signals and launch into a campaign to “fix it,” they’re not identifying the real problem.

We’re big fans of John D. Bransford and Barry S. Stein’s, “The Ideal Problem Solver: Improve Critical Thinking, Improve Learning and Memory Skills, Solve Problems Creatively: 2nd ed”. When you’re faced with a problem, the first step to solving it is to see it as an opportunity to do something creative.

So when your boss says, “We must Tweet”, “We must track Web stats”, “We must be Social”, by leaning your perspective toward solving a problem creatively, there’s actually a change in the way your brain responds to the situation. The part of the brain that evolved to solve problems works with the part that get’s stressed in a much more harmonious way.

I - Identify the problem and explain how it can be an opportunity.

D = Define at least 3 different goals for your problem-solving task.

1. Goal 1

2. Goal 2

3. Goal 3

E = Explore possible strategies and new information that could help you accomplish each of the important goals listed above.

1. Strategies and information to accomplish Goal 1

2. Strategies and information to accomplish Goal 2

3. Strategies and information to accomplish Goal 3

A = Anticipate the outcomes of different strategies to help you decide which ones you will act on.

Strategy 1 (List possible positive outcomes / List possible negative outcomes)

Strategy 2 (List possible positive outcomes / List possible negative outcomes)

Strategy 3 (List possible positive outcomes / List possible negative outcomes)

L = Look back and learn.

1. After acting on your strategies, what did you notice about the problem you identified?

2. After acting on your strategies, what did you notice about the goals you defined?

3. After acting on your strategies, what did you notice about the strategies you explored?

4. After acting on your strategies, what did you notice about your ability to anticipate their effects?

Capture your chosen strategy into a Web project checklist that will make it easier to follow through,

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look back and learn.

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