Finding a specific objective will allow companies to adopt Simplexity and embracing the process leads to infinite possibilities.


As I learned the complexities of consulting with organizations who expressed an interest in adopting Simplexity, it became increasingly clear to me that the leader of the organization had to have a defined idea of the objectives for bringing me in. There had to be a clear-cut and measurable business need that they were trying to meet. When a leader asked me if Simplexity was adopted into their company, what would the return be and how would the results be measured? I would then tell them that, before proceeding, I would have to engage them in defining the exact business need. I knew a concrete objective was necessary before applying Simplexity, or any other new intervention.

There must be a real owner of the business need and this owner must be recognized as willing to take the risk of introducing such an unknown entity into his company; this leader must be engaged in installing Simplexity in its entirety to meet the objective. It was not enough to expect a miracle without a commitment to make it work or by thinking that training a lot of people would be sufficient. Finally, it would be important for the leader to engage a small group of committed colleagues to work with them and develop a plan to make Simplexity take root successfully.

To achieve buy in within the small group of colleagues, that would later extend to the entire company, the Creative Problem-Solving Profile was created as an instrument to quickly help employees understand the Simplexity’s process of innovation and how they fit in. The Profile also helped employees identify their personal style of thinking and problem solving and gave them the confidence that their style was equal to anyone else’s and all styles, collaborating, were essential for the process to work. The idea of the Profile evolved from my doctoral research and was scientifically sound. The power of the original Profile would be enhanced over several years of additional research and became an integral part of every Simplexity application.

This consulting approach was enhanced through experience and built a record of enviable tangible results across a variety of industries: healthcare, academic institutions, and other organizations. An important key was that every organization’s definition of innovation and every innovative result would be different, regardless of the business need. Getting involvement of the organizations employees was vital and the Profile accomplished this because it was very people-centric.

The Profile enabled people to learn which of the four thinking and problem-solving styles of the Simplexity System they favored and how they could collaborate with other styles.


The four Profile styles:

1. GENERATOR – finds new problems – gets problem solving started

2. CONCEPTUALIZER – understands and defines problems – makes sure the real problem is chosen before solving it

3. OPTIMIZER – evaluates and selects optimal solutions – creates a plan of action

4. IMPLEMENTER – puts new solutions into practice – gets results

The Profile helps to identify and understand how thinking and problem-solving preferences interconnect with the eight step Simplexity innovation process. Learning how to prefer to think and how to problem solve contributes to the development of teams with mixed styles that will innovate at higher levels with different problems. The Basadur Profile can be applied under any circumstances. If ever you are not sure what to do next, don’t worry, you have a proven process; a bulletproof shield that guides you to work your way through the steps to a successful result. The Simplexity process is the key. Dare to be different and use the process because it works. Unlike so many others who have difficulty grasping and understanding that innovation is a process and not an event.

To get innovation happening in a business setting, leaders must first get the organization into a problem-solving frame of mind. To establish this, leaders should engage employees in asking “what problems might we be having internally and externally?” This is a fundamental mind set shift that welcomes such issues as opportunities for positive change. There is also no shortage of problems to be found in any organization.


What do you want?

The Profile can also be used to excite employees to become involved with innovation, regardless of the size of an organization.

For Simplexity to work successfully, leaders must demonstrate real and sincere ownership of the desire to find innovation in their organization. For example, I experienced this in 1981 when I was invited by the leaders of Ford Motor Company who were looking to encourage employee engagement in improving the quality of their products, as well as improving customer satisfaction. Ford was a good example of leaders who were sincere in their desire to change the status quo of their company when facing stiff Japanese competition where they were losing the war. These leaders asked me to create a method of quickly enabling employees to work with one another in a productive and collaborative way to solve real problems that needed to be addressed.

The power of the Profile was demonstrated shortly afterwards when a problem developed at a newly modernized Ford plant responsible for making a major component of the company’s new front wheel drive automobiles. The plant was setting new records for quality and low cost, but one department was struggling with only one-third of its output meeting the company’s high-quality standards. The plant managers had tried several quick-fix solutions, but none had worked. A cross-functional team of 15 plant managers and supervisors was established to apply the Simplexity method to the problem. We set aside half a day for training in Simplexity and two and a half days to apply the process to the team’s fuzzy situation.

During the training, we asked the team members to first complete the new Profile, resulting in a very revealing insight. Of the 15 team members, eight showed implementer problem- solving styles and the other seven showed optimizer styles with not one team member preferring either the generator or conceptualizer styles. In other words, the team of 15 was comprised of people who preferred to jump quickly to action to solve problems without taking the time to define them. When these results were discussed, the team members were able to identify many other instances where they had mistakenly made assumptions about a problem, all leading to failed solutions.


With these facts in hand, these action-oriented individuals agreed to spend two days in generator and conceptualizer activities: identifying problems, fact finding, and problem definition; even though the whole exercise was against their nature! Although the team was comprised of individuals who wanted to act quickly to find solutions, because they took the time to fact find and look for problems, they identified three new problems they hadn’t even considered and proceeded to solve each of them, almost immediately. This was achieved because they realized that they had been making assumptions instead of finding out the facts of the situation.

Three specific problem definitions emerged from this exercise and the group was able to create simple but specific solutions to each defined problem that could quickly be implemented. Within the next several months, all departments were now contributing uniformly to the plant’s high-quality standards and they continued to improve; all thanks to The Profile and Simplexity.

It is always interesting for me to reflect on Ford’s dedication to the Profile and Simplexity as it relates to the world-wide financial crisis of 2007. Of the big three American auto giants summoned to Washington, two were bailed out from imminent bankruptcy and one was not, Ford. Perhaps this distinction was due to Ford focusing on becoming skilled at finding and solving its own problems and making sure that they always had the right combination of people in the room solving those issues.

Self Sufficiency

True innovation success is achieved when the Profile and process are used long after the initial training sessions. To accomplish this, leaders must learn how to use Simplexity on an ongoing basis to achieve, sustain, and maintain innovation. Managers within the organization must be skilled in using the process, leading the process, and training others on an ongoing basis. Our world is in constant change, so the need for Simplexity is synonymous with evolution and always asking: How are we going to operate? What will give us results?


Another Simplexity “self-sufficiency in action” example happened when I worked with Frito Lay in Dallas, Texas. Overall, the company was doing well, but when I was contacted, the economy was experiencing great inflation. As a result, there were many new cost increases imposed by suppliers and, in the beginning, Frito Lay was accepting them and routinely increasing price to maintain profitability. The leaders realized that they were risking losing loyal customers to lower priced competitors, in spite of their important quality superiority. They needed to do something different.

I engaged two senior key leaders in a pre-consult to understand the situation and in two days developed a plan to engage employees, company-wide, to help solve problems in their own locations and within and across departments.

The plan considered that the company was loaded with highly talented individuals within their functional areas which led them to be very competitive with each other. Somehow, we decided to leverage their functional excellence to the company’s advantage so that they could work more effectively and efficiently, as a team. These functional leaders accepted this strategy which would engage people across functions by using the process to solve problems impacting the company’s overall bottom line. The plan set a 5-year goal that would improve costs by 500 million dollars and still maintain profitability.

Another part of the plan involved, before including employees, the top executives who would experience the Profile and the creative problem-solving process training so they would become team players, along with their staff. We used inter-functional teams to identify challenges connected with inflation. They all learned to work together, problem finding and identifying opportunities. As they clearly defined the challenges, it became easier to create and implement solutions. Innovation became a part of their daily routine.


I knew that the only way to make a lasting impact was to build self-sufficiency and an organizational infrastructure was developed that incorporated and involved all employees, including training internal facilitators and trainers. In addition, to build instant credibility, I was asked to intervene and facilitate several inter-functional teams who found themselves stuck. I guided them in following the process to collaborate to break their “log jams” and achieve concrete solutions. In the end, Frito Lay savings goal was achieved – one year ahead of schedule.

Innovative Results

Ultimately, adopting an effort to increase creative behavior in an organization is a losing proposition and a waste of everyone’s time, unless the organization is able achieve new and valuable solutions and more importantly implement the results. These solutions must be tied to an important goal, a business need, which is understood and accepted by everyone. The employees must know why they are being asked to be creative and why they are being involved.

What are your challenges that make you think you need innovation? This question always provides us with a springboard into creating a challenge map that uncovers what was wanted in the first place but what could not be articulated.

Obtaining innovative results requires a combination of:

  • Getting the right people with the right knowledge and the right combination of thinking styles in the same room.Having these people follow a consistent proven innovation process to collaborate, as a team, and this eight-step process is called Simplexity
  • Having these people follow a consistent proven innovation process to collaborate, as a team, and this eight-step process is called Simplexity.  The team must be trained in the skills needed to make each step of the process work. These skills include Diverging, Converging and Deferral of Judgment.
  • The team must be trained in the skills needed to make each step of the process work. These skills include Diverging, Converging and Deferral of Judgment.The team must use the right problem-solving tools. Examples of Simplexity tools include: Prompter Questions for Fact finding and Problem Finding, How might we? Challenge Finding, The Why-What’s Stopping? Analysis, Challenge Mapping, Telescoping, Unclumping, Brainstorming, and the How-What’s Next? Planning Grid.
  • The team must use the right problem-solving tools. Examples of Simplexity tools include: Prompter Questions for Fact finding and Problem Finding, How might we? Challenge Finding, The Why-What’s Stopping? Analysis, Challenge Mapping, Telescoping, Unclumping, Brainstorming, and the How-What’s Next? Planning Grid.The team must appreciate and use to their advantage, everyone’s style (Generator, Conceptualizer, Optimizer, and Implementer) to problem-solve collaboratively.
  • The team must appreciate and use to their advantage, everyone’s style (Generator, Conceptualizer, Optimizer, and Implementer) to problem-solve collaboratively.

When properly engaged, the process of innovation is deceptively simple. It begins with an open mind looking for what might be needed. Companies who ask for help are often unsure exactly why they need the help. This happens to be very compatible with our approach as the first step in the process is helping the company figure out the “why?” By defining the business need and then applying the process, a special plan is created to navigate through the end result of innovation.

Learn more about Simplexity and the Profile by CLICKING HERE.


Part 1 – I Was An Innovator, But I Didn’t Know It

Part 2 – From innovator to teaching innovation

Part 3 – Proof that anyone can learn to innovate