Looking beyond the adequate

WHEN posed with a business problem, there is always a temptation to accept the first solution that adequately addresses the problem.

However, the “adequate” solution is usually not the only solution, and often not the best one.

Adopting the first solution that “works” may get us from A to B and, once we have a solution, there is a temptation to stop searching. However, this is just the time to ask more questions:

  • Is there a faster way?
  • Is there a cheaper option?
  • Can we make the journey more comfortable?
  • Could we include some entertainment?
  • Why are we going from A to B? Would it not be better to go from A to C?

If we are happy not to look for alternatives this means that we are happy not to think.

If we want to make progress, it is important that we continue to think, ask questions and look for alternatives. To quote an old Jewish saying:

If there are two ways of doing something, you should always take the third.

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3 Replies to “Looking beyond the adequate”

  1. Then you have to balance this with 80/20? i.e. it might not be worth your effort squeezing out the last bit of optimisation?

  2. Zezan,

    You make a good point!

    I actually borrowed the idea for this post from a thinking course written by Edward de Bono. He makes the point that you can get a good idea now, a better idea later, and the best idea … never.

    At some point you have to impose a deadline so that you can start implementing your ideas. Otherwise nothing will ever get done.

    By the same token, it is valuable to be aware of the importance of searching for alternatives.


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