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Friday, August 20, 2010

Creative Solution

Will Marshall of Marshall Strategic Marketing  has been getting some spectacular results for his clients. We were talking about how that happens and I realized he is doing something I learned about 30 years ago, finding the Creative Solution.

It’s difficult to positively define the creative solution. I get irritated when I am looking for one. I know what I want and it’s aggravating I don’t already have it. It can take days, weeks, or months, when I am sorting through information defining the best way to proceed.

The negative definition of creative solution is quite common. I collect them.

Ted Long, the former mayor of San Bruno, California said, “No matter how hard you try the wrong thing it never quite works.”

Tony Byrne of The Real Story Group once told me, “Never buy software that is too sophisticated for your organization to maintain.”

The positive definition is a little harder, and it is found across industries.

In the construction trades, a high accolade for one who consistently gets the creative solution is, “He is a ‘mechanic.’” Bob Harold observed that a young industrial plumber will wear out three pairs of boots a year. A mechanic wears out a pair of boots every three years and gets more done every day before lunch than his younger counterpart does all day.

Anon variously said, “One good programmer can do the work of five, a hundred, a thousand programmers.” What I see is many programmers spend their morning tearing up what they did the previous afternoon. Also called one step forward and two steps back.

Clay Christensen told me that a hospital has three businesses, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. When initial diagnosis is wrong, the chance of successful conclusion is greatly reduced, costs soar.

On the Architecture/Design/Execution/Evaluation model the creative solution is not any one of the stages. It occurs before that process starts and at each stage.

I find project management professionals are consumed with running efficient projects with wildly varying results. I would rather have a slipshod effort aimed at the right target than an immaculate execution going the wrong way. Starting with a creative solution is easier to fix.

Please share your experience with “creative solution” below.

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