This month one member of the SPS LinkedIn group asked a question central to strategy – What is more important to a strategist: Problem solving or opportunity finding?
The discussion provoked a variety of responses, including one member who thought both are needed for different objectives. ”Problem solving is more linked with understanding the core issue of the challenge we’re dealing with; while opportunity finding is usually a more advanced stage that is linked with alternatives analysis. The big challenge is to reframe the ‘threats’ approach to an opportunity approach.”
Another member argued that many problem solving approaches can be short sighted. “As a strategist I am continually fighting the ‘problem solving’ methodologies. Most managers know nothing else other than variations of empirical, fact based problem solving methods. Solving yesterday’s problems is by definition reactive. It is constant ‘problem solving’ that create most problems that we are in.”
A historical perspective was offered by one member: “Isn’t the question analogous to asking Churchill in 1941 whether it is more important to defend the British Empire or to attack Germany?”
Why not join in the debate, with over 6,000 members of the SPS LinkedIn group.