Define Your Problems for Better Solutions

Problem definition is often the most underrated, overlooked, and even avoided step in the problem solving process – despite it’s ability to make a huge impact on the success of a solution. The emphasis on this step in design thinking is one of the main reasons it is so effective at developing powerful, innovative solutions.

Human brains don’t like uncertainty; we’re literally hardwired to do whatever we can to immediately alleviate the stress inflicted by an unsolved problem. However, by stepping back and taking the time to reframe and identify the root of your problem, you may be able to take your solutions to levels you never imagined.

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How to Discover & Empathize for Innovation

It’s human nature to want to solve a problem as soon as it arises, but in order to provide the best, most innovative solution it is absolutely essential to start from the beginning – and that means gathering data, including talking with users and stakeholders. Why? Here’s an example. When I was working in the Colorado School of Mines’ first and second year design program, we had a group of students who were tasked to design a device that would prevent packages from being stolen off the front porch. They were given a set of specs by the client to make sure the device could accommodate typical package sizes, and they gathered information on why and what types of packages are typically stolen. However, the team felt that they knew what the end user would want, and instead of talking with them, they moved straight to designing a solution. The result? A large, black, three foot by four foot lockbox of sorts that was to be placed outside the front door.

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What is Design Thinking?

Years ago, when I was just starting out at Stanford, I sat down with my academic advisor to figure out what I wanted to study. After some conversation, he strongly suggested that I consider a Product Design major, which at the time was incredibly confusing since I had never considered a career as an engineer and didn’t want to be anywhere near math or science.

Flash forward: I now use design thinking nearly every day in my sports/entertainment and consulting career, and have even worked in design thinking education for engineers and scientists (despite my original inclination to stay as far away from STEM as possible). I am not an engineer. I don’t design physical products. But I do brainstorm, problem solve, and innovate in every project I work on. And I bet you do too. That’s where design thinking comes in, and in hindsight what my advisor was picking up on – my interest in and desire to solve complex problems with creative, user-friendly solutions.

So what is design thinking?

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Welcome to My New Site

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new website! After years of asking countless questions, working in a multitude of incredibly different industries, and having the privilege of learning from some of the most brilliant people in the world, I decided it was time to start sharing some of that knowledge with others who may be interested in picking up a tip or two on how to define, chase, and achieve success.

While I plan on addressing various business related topics, the main purpose of this blog is to provide you with some tips and tricks that may help you clearly define who you are, what makes you happy, and where you want to go. This includes both getting your outward life in order, such as figuring out your personal brand, as well as your inward life, such as your mental and physical health.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and I hope that one day you find a piece of wisdom here that helps you cultivate a life of success and wellness.