Why? is a method to to determine root causes.
Uses of the method
- Root cause analysis
- Problem solving
- Understand the underlying causes of an issue
- None but requires the use of other methods
Steps to complete
- Introduce participants to the issue you want answering.
- Ask them to answer the first Why? and then repeat the exercise 5 times each time asking them to peel the onion further.
- Discuss and summarize the participants ideas into priority order.
- Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear.
- Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
- Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
- Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
- State alternative hypotheses drawn with different assumptions and judgments.
- Consider what factors would likely change your mind through receipt of new information.
- Determine which factors could surprise and alter your judgment and the direction of the outcome.
- What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
- How might the future be different?
- How does A affect B?
- What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
- What are the likely outcomes?
- What and who will likely shape our future?
- Where could we be most affected by change?
- What might we do about it?
- What don't we know that we need to know?
- What should we do now, today?
- Why do we care?
- When should we aim to meet on this?
- Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue.
This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.
Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses. These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.
Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.
Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.
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