Min Basadur has always been an innovator. His career has been defined by a series of unique challenges that have all required a different approach – a willingness and the courage to abandon “the way we’ve always done it” and the presumed nature of the problem in environments where culture and structure were rigidly enforced.
At Procter and Gamble, Min realized that to effectively solve a problem he first needed to properly identify and define the problem – and to separate existing perception, opinion and conjecture. This was a challenge in mature corporate cultures. However, the inefficient approach to problem solving was costing organizations significantly in terms of poorly invested money, time and resources, often without effectively solving the problem.
Corporations were ready to listen to an alternative approach as they recognized that their present approach failed more times than it succeeded. Solving problems within complex organizations, burdened by protocols and corporate policy can often be counter productive. In many cases, the organization has already pre-determined the ‘desired’ outcome and any efforts to resolve problems and challenges are directed toward an outcome regardless of the real nature of the problem.
In many ways, the real problems may not be something the organization is prepared to admit to and accept. They may not be areas the organization is prepared to accept responsibility for and hold themselves accountable for being part of the problem and then to own part of the solution.
Many view admitting to having a problem that they can’t solve as a weakness. There is also a tendency to find blame for the existence of a problem – implying that it exists because of someone’s failure to do the right thing. Corporate culture creates a system of assigning accountability and in doing so, creates a system for assigning blame and for creating an out if the assigned person doesn’t solve the problem. This further complicates the process – full disclosure is necessary in order to fully solve a problem and if an individual or an organization isn’t fully prepared to face the situation and everything it entails, they will not be forthcoming, honest, open and transparent.
Most importantly, they will not invest themselves and their organizations in the process. Partially because they don’t want to, but also because they don’t feel they will actually be successful.
Basadur recognized the need to create a framework that encouraged, facilitated and supported unobstructed thinking – to enable an objective approach to problem solving that enabled participants to feel a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for the solution they would collectively identify. As importantly, if the process of finding the solution was a collaborative effort, the likelihood that the actual implementation of the solution would be carried by all increased ten-fold.
Early success at Procter and Gamble led to many opportunities across the organization to deploy the approach against problems facing the organization in real-time – from organizational and process driven requirements, to product innovation and development, to issues involving leadership, business operations and strategy.
Basadur proved his methodology in real-time, made adjustments in the same way an investor does through trial and error, until the process was refined and fine-tuned to a workable and adaptable platform.
Basadur has created a framework that introduces objectivity into the process of identifying and defining the problem. He has created a safe and non-threatening environment where participants can engage in uninhibited thinking – a free-range thinking process – that explores possibilities on the premise of “how might we” do something. The very approach eliminates that natural barriers and obstacles that get in the way of brainstorming solutions. It’s a very natural human tendency to identify all the reasons why something can’t be done, rather than explore the possibilities that surround how it can be done. This approach leads to innovation – problems are merely barriers to the potential for new thinking, activities and developments.
Real innovation is often the result of resolving pain of some kind – a problem that prevented an individual or organization to realize the potential that exists on the other side of it.
Given the difficulty, complexity and breakage that often accompany problems – few have the fortitude, tenacity and discipline to stay the course and see the problem through to resolution. This is the case for a couple reasons: (1) few understand how to resolve a problem properly and (2) the process of solving a problem will undoubtedly identify other problems that also need to be resolved in order to reach proper resolution.
In short, if the process is difficult, complicated and daunting – starting this journey may lead to years of unresolved activity, many of it unexpected and unplanned for.
Experience suggests that many problems remain unresolved after significant effort simply because the organization has lost the will or the desire to finish what they started. Basadur recognized the need to design a consultative process to augment and support the problem solving process he’d spent years defining – so that he could coach and mentor business leaders and problem owners to do what he’s learned to do.
It’s an altruistic approach – teaching others to do what he can do so they can become self-sufficient and rely more on their own abilities to resolve problems and issues and less on a high paid consultant. In this approach, Min harnessed a passion for teaching others, for enabling them to do more to help themselves than they initially thought possible or realistic – and embarked on a business model to help others solve problems. And in the process, created a consultancy that empowers people, not belittles them by playing on their inability to solve their own problems, and teaches them life-long skills that they will benefit from over and over again.
As a result, Basadur’s clients acquire the tools to become self-sufficient and instead of begrudgingly accepting the need to solve a problem, they will instinctively seek them out knowing they have the tools and the know-how to solve them. Basadur has shifted the initiation of problem solving from a reactive response to a proactive, ongoing quest for improvement. Workplaces and attitudes changes – problems aren’t demoralizing, they’re invigorating and motivating. Innovation is recognized as the opportunity that exists beyond the problem and a workplace that incorporates free-range thinking into its culture will increase the likelihood of realizing real innovation – the kind grounded in proactive searching and activity, rather than merely a buzzword with an empty mandate to brainstorm and come up with new ideas.
This is Basadur – Applied Creativity grounded in the quest to find simplicity in a complex environment. It is designed to teach, mentor and coach individuals and organizations to embrace the opportunity that lies on the other side of a problem. It provides a proven framework to solve problems that is sustainable and reusable. The true advantage of this approach is the ability for the participants to become self-sufficient.
The real business value of this approach is the ability to identify and resolve problems – and the opportunity to pursue the innovative possibilities that now exist as a result of solving the problem.
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