Problem solving tool kit LO25423

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 10/08/00

Gavin Ritz writes in LO25401:
> To date no best model covers all situations. If I want to solve a certain
> problem that has only a 1 year time horizon I would use the Kepner-Tregoe
> method. If I want to solve a problem at shop floor with a 3 month time
> horizon I will use the 5 Y's. If I have a 2-5 year problem I would use SSM
> or ST. If I have an accountability or structure problem I would use SST,
> if I want to look at recursiveness and take into account the law of
> requisite variety I would use VSM. If I had a shop floor problem that
> needed a 2 year time horizon I would use TOC. If I wanted to match
> environments to viable systems and utilize tensions I would use EKS.

This looks to me like the beginnings of something that could be quite
useful to a LO, or even someone in any organization trying to tackle a
particular problem: a taxonomy of organizational problem-solving tools.
Gavin addresses two dimensions here: time frame and the particular context
of the situation. I'll try to lay out the above to show it more clearly:

Time Frame Situation Model
---------- --------- -----
3 month Shop floor 5 Y's
1 year ??? Kepner-Tregoe
2 year Shop floor TOC
2-5 year ??? SSM, ST
??? accountability, SST
??? recursiveness, VSM
                requisite variety
??? SY-SU matching, EKS
                utilize tensions

Gavin, I apologize if I've distorted your intent.

Would anyone with experience in these or other tools like to add to this,
or perhaps disagree and offer a different taxonomy? (It would also be
useful to add references to the model names.) I can imagine this turning
into something that would be worth maintaining on the LO web site.

Best regards,

[Host's Note: Gavin has pointed me to his web site which includes a
diagram that helped me understand his views. See


Don Dwiggins "All models are false, but some are useful" -- George Box, "Statistics for Experiments"

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