Data, Debate and Solving Problems

The situation is this. You have a big problem. You set out to tackle it, starting with facts and data. Then you pit two people against each other in a debate. And like a debate, they argue the toss – informed by the same set of facts and data – until there’s an obvious winner and a solution to your problem. The approach is used by Google and was recently highlighted on KMBZ.

But it’s not always the Google way – another approach is to make a decision when it’s simply the right thing to do, and the data comes later (because data isn’t everything).

The two-pronged approach to solving problems strikes a balance between structure and creativity, creating an environment that fosters the development of ideas and solutions that are outside of the square.

It’s also similar to my philosophy on solving problems – big decisions with heart, little ones with head. Now, of course there’s no sure-fire method of ensuring you’ll always make the right decision, no matter what your approach – but that’s what business is all about. The wrong decision? Never. Learn from it and move on.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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