I’m at about 15 minutes and counting before I start my two day interviewing marathon. The interviews are for an internal project that, like all good consulting projects, I can’t discuss in detail.
What I can discuss is the need to ask good questions. Sometimes the answer is not as important as the question, especially when it comes to detailed problem solving. And, when you don’t care what about the solution, only that the solution is nearly optimal.
I’ve become a big fan of inductive problem solving since my introduction to it at b-school. The same thing as the scientific method or hypothesis based research.
Start with a hypothesis and some issues that have to be true for the entire thing to be valid. Then, think about what data is necessary to validate or refute the issues you’ve identified. Then, go find the data on the subject (without bias).
Scientists use this approach all the time. As do academics. What doesn’t seem to come through is a good way to teach this skill in most undergraduates, or from what I see in some b-schools.
Want two working examples of hypothesis lead problem solving: the TV show House and any Sherlock Holmes mystery.
Well, I have a theory that I need another cup of coffee before the show starts.
Let’s go validate.