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拯救宝洁公司的三字经

How might we?是宝洁公司70年代提出的三字经问题,当时牛人Basadur的这个三字经问题拯救了宝洁公司。而且,至今还是谷歌和Facebook解决问题的宝典。全球顶尖的科技公司,也把它奉为指导原则,其中的原因就是:多数时间里,我们都试着想马上解决问题,然而,却没有思考真正的问题是什么。最重要的是退一步海阔天空,定义好问题是必要的步骤。像宝洁公司当初推出新款肥皂的故事,我们遇事也许也可以学着问自己How might we?

原文链接:https://amp.businessinsider.com/

抄录:

Google and Facebook still use the 3-word question that saved a $225 billion company in the 1970s

By Shana Lebowitz, July 19th, 2017

Anyone can ask them.AP
Min Basadur was working as a creative manager at Procter & Gamble in the mid-1970s when he got a call from a team in product development.

“We need some help,” Basadur remembers the team leader telling him. “We feel like a bunch of failures.”

For six months, the team had been struggling to come up with a product that could beat Irish Spring, a new and popular soap bar from Colgate. As Colgate’s market share increased, Procter & Gamble knew it was only a matter of time before theirs dwindled.

One day later, the team would have a creative breakthrough, thanks largely to Basadur and his use of three words: How might we?

Here was the issue: Irish Spring featured green and white stripes; a television advertisement showed a man showering with the soap bar in a meadow and feeling refreshed. The Procter & Gamble team couldn’t seem to come up with a soap bar that beat Irish Springs in a blind test of consumers.

Basadur arranged to hold a day-long session with the team. He started with the problem they’d been working on for six months: creating a better green-striped soap bar.

The key question, as the team saw it, was: How could they make a better green-striped bar? Then Basadur asked another question: Why might we want to make a better green-striped bar? The answer was that they’d lost market share.

Why else might we want to create a green-striped bar? Basadur asked the team. He encouraged them to think from the consumer’s perspective.

One person came up with an answer: “We’d like to make people feel more refreshed.”

“That was the ‘aha!’ moment,” Basadur told Business Insider. “We had redefined the problem — and that was the secret to the process.”

Now the problem was: How might we make a more refreshing bar?

That afternoon the team came up with around 200 possible answers to the question, and settled on the idea of creating a bar that reminded people of the beach or the sea coast.

Soon Procter & Gamble debuted their own soap bar, “Coast,” featuring swirly blue stripes. It beat Irish Spring in the blind test.

You can still find Coast and Irish Spring on the market today —along with many other, similar products from competitors. (You can read the full “Irish Spring story” on Basadur’s website.)

This process — specifically the “how might we” question format — has since spread to companies including IDEO, Facebook, and Google, according to The Harvard Business Review. Basadur, who is now a business consultant, has been teaching the overall process at organizations for 40 years.

As IDEO’s global head of talent, Duane Bray, told Quartz: “HMW [how might we] questions are freeing amidst uncertainty because they allow clients to mentally reset, and reframe a problem as an opportunity.”

 

Bill Smith/Flickr
Basadur told Business Insider why his process works: “What most people did and still do to this day is they jump from what we call a fuzzy situation immediately into solutions. They miss that internal step, which was: Get some facts about it and create challenges starting with the phrase, ‘How might we?'”
In other words, most of us try to fix a problem as fast as possible without stopping to think about what the problem really is.

Most importantly, Basadur said, when you take a step back before jumping into solutions, you’re “deferring judgment.”

When someone says “I’ve got an idea,” Basadur said, we often respond with, “That’s a good idea, but…” We’d do better to respond with, “I like that idea and I’d like to build on your idea and make it even better.”

Defining the problem is the third step in an eight-step process that Basadur uses in his work with organizations. The process runs all the way from problem formulation to solution implementation.

Defining the problem is somewhat similar to the second step in a process called “design thinking,” developed by Stanford engineers, when you ask yourself: “Which question are you going to answer?” The idea behind both is to pause and think critically before you leap into potential fixes.

Interestingly, Basadur said it wasn’t his deep knowledge of the personal-care industry that enabled him to help develop Coast.

“I didn’t know anything about soap bars,” he said. “But I just knew how to count” — specifically, how to count the eight steps in his process. “By leading them through that methodology, out popped the answer.”

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