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Topic Title: Knowledge workers and problem solving
Topic Summary: problem solving
Created On: 03/24/2017 08:58 AM
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03/27/2017 03:49 PM
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ldaggs
lisa dagerman



Hello All!

Problem solving is a problem! We have successful problem solving for "widget areas", but we have broken problem solving for those areas where the process and work isn't consistently repeatable. Project management, marketing, learning and development.

Can anyone share successful stories of great problem solving in knowledge areas?

thank you in advance!
03/29/2017 08:37 AM
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MikeMcAteer
Mike McAteer



You can't go wrong using PDCA's for problem solving in any area of an organization. I have used PDCA's in all areas where asking 5 why's leads you to the root cause and then develop the counter measures to fix the issue.
04/12/2017 10:08 PM
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MattS
Matthew Spielman



I agree with Mike--the tools are the same. But often, the timeframes you deal with may be much longer: rather than minutes on a production line, it may be months for a marketing campaign or large project, because it may take that long to complete a cycle or get reliable feedback. I would recommend you look at existing books and other resources on lean product & process development, lean office, lean IT, and lean finance--and realize they speak to more than their immediate topics, but rather knowledge work and administrative processes, in general.
04/12/2017 10:08 PM
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pc2
P. Cartagena



As Mike points out, the fundamental concepts and processes of problem solving work for all problems, whether transactional or widget related.

The success you've had with making physical objects isn't in the physical widget, but in the human activities your people go through to make them. The objects are merely reflections of those human actions.

If you've had successes with your widgets, you've already had successes in knowledge areas.


pc
04/14/2017 03:08 PM
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oberkele
Owen Berkeley-Hill



I would be careful in using meaningless cliches like "knowledge workers".

If they are knowledge workers, why is it so difficult to improve their processes? Surely they have the knowledge to solve their own problems, so why do they need help?

The knowledge-free workers have a lot of untapped knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, the typical leader/manager/supervisor does not know how to, or even cares to tap this rich source. At a Lean conference in Cardiff in 2010, a presenter suggested that the average manager only harnesses around 20% of the capabilities of his or her people! With leaders like this, is it any wonder that Lean is floundering.
04/17/2017 09:46 PM
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MikeMcAteer
Mike McAteer



There is a saying that I was told once that took me a while to learn and utilize, "I should look at problems through different eyes." It is too easy to continue down the same path and constantly fight fires without solving the bigger or real issues to prevent re-occurrences no matter what our knowledge level is. I totally agree that it is a definite asset to utilize all people's knowledge in solving problems especially the people who actually perform the work. Our job as leaders is to teach our Team(s) to step back and systematically solve the problems we have by finding the root cause and providing the right tools to help them do this. This applies to all of our co-workers regardless of position or level within an organization and I would hope help us change utilizing only 20% of people's capabilities and become more successful.



Mike
05/22/2017 11:39 AM
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185931
Ian Clarke



Always remember "the hardest part of problem solving is - what is the problem?
Make sure you have a starting point(current level), a target and that it is timebound.
09/05/2017 08:45 AM
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mihaela
Muntianu Mihaela



Hello
I work for 2 weeks in a factory and there are many problems. Here is not implemented lean but it's necessary. I must have follow parts number are running on each CNC machine and I don't know how. There are many types of parts How can I start.
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