sell
## Selling Solutions vs Solving Problems

so a lot of the time when we first

interact with people and ask them to

come up with problems that they want to

solve

they often name a solution because they

have a preset idea of the solution and

hence they never really have thought

through to the problem to which this

that was a solution

so I teach dozens and dozens of students

and every year and one of the exercises

we have them do is try and formulate a

solution to a policy problem so we do

the exercise of start by writing down

the problem what is the problem that

you're trying to solve then we do the

exercise of write down one solution to

your problem that's easy they all can

write down one solution to their problem

and then comes the hard part of the

exercise that differentiates whether

you've really just written down a

problem or written down a solution which

is write down three other solutions to

your problem

so then I say okay now write down other

than the solution have written down

write down option a option B and option

C oftentimes they can't do this why

can't they do this they can't do this

because they have essentially drawn to

title link between the problem and the

solution so for instance they'll say

that my problem is that I have a lack of

trained teachers and therefore the

solution is to train teachers and then

if you think well what are the

alternative options to solving my

problem of lacking trained teachers you

realize well there aren't any other

solutions if I have defined my problem

as the lack of trained teachers there

aren't any other solutions

training teachers because I defined my

problem as the lack of my solution which

means I'm really not open to anything

other than business as usual and doing

the mimic thing now if we said wait a

second you really had a deeper problem

hiding somewhere which is you had

inadequate student learning and the

reason you wanted trained teachers was

that you didn't have enough you weren't

getting the student learning you thought

you could get and hence now I've pushed

my problem away from my solution to

where now if I frame the problem as lack

of student learning I can have lots of

different ways of imagining solving this

problem so our rule of thumb is if you

can't imagine at least three alternative

solutions to your problem you don't have

a problem you have formulated a solution

as a problem and if you start from the

formulation of your problem is your lack

of your solution you can never really be

creative enough to start to dig down

deep enough to get to where you can

solve the problem you really have