By Jami Gibson

I had been surfing for business topics when I came across an interesting video title: “Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast.” Making a piece of toast seems simple enough; first put a piece of bread down in the toaster, wait a couple minutes, then plate the toast, garnishing it with your choice of toppings. However, after watching this talk by Tom Wujec, there are, apparently, several ways to make toast.

Tom shared how something as simple as making toast varies from person to person. When asked to draw the process of making toast, each person has different steps (nodes) they take and processes to get to each step (links). When asked to conduct this same exercise using note cards, the process becomes more detailed and complex. Finally, when this exercise is conducted within a group, the process goes through several messy revisions before resulting in a unified systems model.

So how does this apply to problem solving in business? When faced with an issue, it can be beneficial to map out solutions to the problem in order to have tangible, movable action items. Teams can then work together to add or take away steps in the process, revamp the process order, and find the most efficient and effective way to bring about the preferred outcome. This “collaborative visualization” can help align an entire organization, ensuring everyone is engaged in its problem-solving strategies.

Check out the video below!