The Art of Problem Solving: Matching Complexity with Method


In today’s fast-paced world, finding effective solutions to complex problems can make all the difference in achieving success. Whether you’re faced with a challenging task at work or trying to tackle a personal issue, the art of problem-solving is a skill worth mastering. However, sometimes the problem lies not in our ability to solve problems, but in the way we approach them.

The Lengthy Memo and the Over-Explained Video

Have you ever received a lengthy memo at work, only to find yourself struggling to stay focused while reading it? Or have you ever watched a video tutorial that seemed to drag on and on, leaving you more confused than when you started? If so, you’re not alone. Oftentimes, the problem lies in the mismatch between the complexity of the problem and the method of delivery.

Imagine receiving a 14-minute video explaining how to have a 10-minute brainstorming meeting. It’s clear that the length of the video is disproportionate to the simplicity of the task. The same goes for lengthy memos that drown the reader in unnecessary details. In these cases, a little bit of editing and brevity would go a long way.

The Instruction Manual with a Lack of Visuals

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve all come across instruction manuals that leave us scratching our heads. They might provide a step-by-step guide, but without clear visuals or in-depth explanations, we’re left feeling more lost than ever. This is another example of a mismatch between complexity and approach.

Whether it’s assembling a piece of furniture or troubleshooting a technical issue, the complexity of the task may require a more visual and detailed approach. Adding more photos, diagrams, and clear explanations can greatly enhance the user experience and make problem-solving a breeze.

Matching Complexity with Method

Know Your Audience

The first step in matching complexity with the appropriate method is to understand your audience. Are you presenting a concept to your team at work? Are you explaining a process to a group of beginners? Knowing who you’re addressing will help you tailor your approach accordingly.

Keep It Simple

When it comes to delivering instructions or explanations, simplicity is key. Cut out the fluff and get straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms that might confuse your audience. Instead, use clear, concise language that everyone can understand.

Use Visuals and Examples

Visual aids and examples can work wonders in simplifying complex problems. Whether it’s through infographics, diagrams, or real-life case studies, showing rather than telling can help your audience grasp the concept more easily. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Break It Down

Complex problems are often made up of smaller, more manageable parts. Breaking down the problem into smaller steps or components can make it less overwhelming and more approachable. By tackling one piece at a time, you can gradually work towards a solution without feeling daunted by the complexity.

Closing Thoughts

In the art of problem-solving, finding the right balance between complexity and method is crucial. Whether it’s a lengthy memo that needs editing or an instruction manual requiring more visuals, taking the time to match the level of complexity with the appropriate approach can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of problem-solving.

Remember to know your audience, keep it simple, utilize visuals and examples, and break down complex problems into manageable pieces. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance your problem-solving skills, but also improve your ability to communicate and collaborate with others. So, the next time you’re faced with a complex problem, stop and ask yourself: am I matching the complexity with the method?