Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why throw away the baby with the bathwater?

Too often ideas are too quickly rejected because they are not quite perfect. And that's a pity.

A pity because it ignores the human aspect.
A pity because an idea can often be made al lot better with a little effort.
A pitty because it is a missed learning opportunity.

Within the Theory of Constraints (TOC) there is this beautiful technique to handle this in an interactive and well-communicable way. This technique is called Negative Branch Reservation, a mouthful and therefore according to good use abbreviated to three letters: NBr.

For people who have ever studied TOC, the human aspect is often suppresed by the ratio. Although the NBr has this pitfall in it, it does not need to fall into this pitfall. Indeed, by observing the human side, including the non-verbal reactions, the NBr becomes much stronger to use.

An important principle of the NBr is:

the proposed solution or idea is not questioned
unless the negative effects are inadequate to solve

The energy is invested in trying to improve the idea. When this happens you'll have a stronger solution. If not, then it is much easier to 'let it go' and move on. The NBr is not about finding the best idea, the NBr is about making the idea good, make it work for you. In other words, a very pragmatic approach.

If you've never seen an NBr (or something similar), then it is good to know how to read these kind of trees. The YouTube video below shows how to read these "trees" from bottom to top.

The NBr consists out of two parts, constructing the NBr, the negative branch. And then the clever 'pruning' of the negative branch. The method allows to use it on your own or in a group and in both cases it can be facilitated. The technique does not change.

An NBr can be constructed in six easy steps. Other ways are also possible. If you're more adept, a more organic approach is sometimes more convenient than this linear process. On the other hand, rarely you can go wrong if you follow the six steps. The advantage of following the steps is that you can concentrate on  the content, the process will get you where you want to be.

An NBr is a powerful and strong visual way to communicate. And this in itself is often quite beneficial. Sometimes just communicating the NBr is sufficient to trigger ideas on how to make the solution better. In other cases it is better to go about it in a methodical way. This is done by 'pruning' the NBr. And here are the four convenient steps to do this.

Both for the construction and the pruning questions are used. These questions are carefully chosen and refined through time. These questions might be seen by some to be obvious questions or repetitive. This is done intentional. The aim is not to 'speak to the conscious of someone, but to the subconscious. The conscious is already convinced for some time that the idea is not good. The unconscious is a lot more creative and uninhibited. It is these simple questions that make the NBr extra powerful. Does it work always? Of course not, but this is no reason to throw away the baby with the bathwater either!

No comments:

Post a Comment