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"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

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« Age of Conversation: Take 2 | Main | Are You Using Your Ears to See Your Company’s Video Story? »
Monday
Oct272008

Isn't the Problem Defining a Solution?

Ultimately, yes.

But first, it's about defining the problem.

Let's say you're starting a new video project. You might be solving the wrong problem by spending too much time on the solution (the video) and not enough time defining the problem. Then you might wind up with a mismatch on your hands. Oops!

For most of us, it's a lot easier to jump to solutions, isn't it?

"Let's do this." "Let's do that." 

Defining the problem accurately may be more challenging than coming up with solutions; and it takes more time.

What does this have to do with your video story?

During initial conversations with your filmmaker, the solution may get a lot of attention.

It's tempting to focus on the solution

It's natural. It's like someone is focusing the spotlight on the "solution" while the "problem" goes wandering off the stage. And yes, I still fall into that trap, too. :)

Solutions are solutions because they solve a specific problem

Seems obvious, but you can't create a solution until the problem is clearly defined.

Move off the solution

If, at the beginning of a project, you find yourself focusing more time on the solution than the problem, move off the solution. Ask yourself: "What exactly is the problem I'm trying to solve?" Defining the problem clearly gives you a direct path to your solution. 

The problem isn't defining the solution.

The problem is defining the problem

Then the solution is right around the corner. :-)

What do you think? Do you first start with solutions? Or do you start with defining the problems? What works for you? Drop me a note.  

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Reader Comments (2)

Tom, this is great. One of my favorite quotes in the world comes from Einstein: "If I had only an hour to save the world, I would spend 50 minutes defining the problem, and 10 minutes executing the solution."
October 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Martine
Hi Michael! That's a great quote, indeed!

Thanks for swinging by. :)
Tom
October 27, 2008 | Registered CommenterThomas Clifford

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