The lens or the problem?

We often see problems through the lens that we’re used to using. The banker sees a solution around money, the activist might see an opportunity for social justice. The technologist figures that a computer and more data might help, and the bureaucrat is looking for a system to put into place.

If a lens is working, that’s terrific.

If it’s not, perhaps there’s a mismatch between the tool we’re used to and the one that will actually work.

Two useful approaches:

  1. Name your lens. If you have an instinct that you rely on when solving a problem, naming it is a helpful way to bring it on when needed, and to set aside when it’s not.
  2. Name the other lenses. If there’s someone else in the world who solves problems differently than you, perhaps you could bring their point of view to the table, even (especially) if it doesn’t come naturally.

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