The common approach to solving problems is to get a team together, brainstorm, and agree on a prioritized approach to get to the solution. Spending time in solution space can be both fun and energizing. This is what we were trained to do as kids in school after all – solve problems.

But, as I look back at the many occasions in which the solution space failed to yield a solution that worked. I realize that it wasn’t because of the intelligence of the team or the effectiveness of time spent in the solution space. It was because of a poorly defined problem.

While good problem solving is undoubtedly important, we get the opportunity to make disproportionate contributions when we hold back these natural impulses to jump to the solution space and, instead, take the time to define the question.

Problem space >>> Solution space.