April 01, 2011

Simple Problem Solving

This is a simple example of how problem solving is usually done.

Case: Late for Work

Let's do a quick survey. In Jakarta, 90% of late arrival case is blamed on bad traffic. Not many people feel that they need to do a further analysis on why they are late.

The truth is, our morning travel is a function of several inputs, like diagram 1.

Diagram 1
From the diagram, we can see that our arrival time is dictated by how far our workplace is, how fast we drive our car, and when we leave our house.

Arrival time is also affected by traffic condition and our method of transport.

It is also important to point out that traffic condition is not static - it is a function of several inputs, such as departure time, path taken, and location of our office.

Therefore, if we want to improve our consistency of on time arrival to the office, there are actually many factors that we can try to improve. We can experiment on departure time, picking different route to work to identify the one with the most predictable traffic condition, and we can experiment on various method of transport.

If we do these things, we will no longer be the victim of bad traffic and (what we think) random incidents, and we will have more control over our lives. Agree?

The truth is also true for other types of daily problems. We can coach ourselves to have a broader mindset, be more sensitive to these analysis, and learn.

P.S: If you have any other simple problem solving to share, please e-mail me.

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