How to recognize problems


Key massage: Only when a problem is recognized it can be solved.


Why is a "sense of possibility" necessary to recognize problems?

"A sense of possibility ... imagines something that might be possible but has not been considered possible or even potentially possible so far. (... sense of
possibility is often used synonymously with imagination even though imagination is not the same as sense of possibility, for imagination also encapsulates the impossible)." (Dörner, D., & Funke, J. (2017). Complex problem solving: What it is and what it is not. Frontiers in Psychology, 8,1153, p. 7)


Today's world is becoming more and more complex, there is a multitude of new insights and a greater understanding of how different developments affect each other. This great complexity requires systematic thinking in order to identify new opportunities or threats as problems.


"Problems in the sense of the SE [Systems Engineering] mainly express themselves in a discomfort, a more or less well-founded criticism of an unsatisfactory situation, in the representation of a possible opportunity or an impending danger and the related questions. ... The problem can be formulated in a relatively concrete manner, or it may merely consist of vague assumptions about problems and their causes." (Daenzer, W. F. (1976) Systems Engineering: Leitfaden zur methodischen Durchführung umfangreicher Planungsvorhaben. Peter Hanstein Verlag, Köln, p. 41)


If a situation is unsatisfactory, then this is a clue to look for the problem that is causing this dissatisfaction. But even if a situation is satisfactory, it may be possible to improve it or it may change to the negative. It is necessary to look into the future and think of possible opportunities or risks.



Once we have recognized a problem, then we can start to analyze it.


Continue with the next step of the problem-solving process, which is about understanding a problem: How to analyze situations = systems