The 6 Problem TypesAn overview


The core of this new model for problem solving came in the discovery of a surprisingly small number of problem types. After reviewing hundreds of client engagements across several decades, we realized that problems are not infinitely unique; they cluster around a limited set of types. The next discovery was even more significant. Upon reflection, we realized that each problem type required its own unique approach. What worked well for one type might be useful or even counterproductive for another type. We also discovered that each type required a relatively unique type of solution. 

The Significance of the Problem Type 
The consequence of identifying the dominant type(s) is
Although there
is a classic model of problem solving
that is widely accepted, it turns out
to be useful for
only one or two problem types, marginal
for most others, and counterproductive
for a few types. 

One and Only One Type? 
It would be nice if the world were so orderly that each problem would hold one and only one type, but we are not that lucky. Complex problems will often reflect two or more problem types. Even in these more complex cases, however,
there is almost always one problem
type that provides the best entry. That
is,
there is one problem type that structures
the most effective initial intervention. After
some progress has been made within that understanding,
it is then possible to shift the group's frame
to a second problem type. 

Exploring the Problem Types 
Click here for a quick summary of all 6 types. Use the tab along the top of this page to go to a more detailed description of a specific type. 