Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Emergent and Non-emergent Solutions and Learning

Posted on: 23 April '13

In a thoughtful comment on my last post, Anshuman pointed out that the “catalogue of available heuristics increases as one gains more experience”, and is an essential component of developing mastery. I am thinking about this as I warily face off my Taekwondo sparring partner, whom I am supposed to throw on the ground and twist his arm behind his back.

Now, my sparring partner is taller, with a ponytail of dirty blond hair and bulging, tattooed biceps, and easily weighs 1.5 times my weight. He drives a Thunderbird that he has restored himself (well, you get the picture). Those of you who know me will vouch that my strengths tend to be mental rather than physical!

I’ve been at this for 30 minutes now, and the best I’ve been able to do is move him a few inches, while I’ve gone down a dozen times. If I gained more experience, maybe exercised for a few months, I might be able to get him off his feet.

The instructor finally stops by and demonstrates the technique; an underarm hold, a twist and a pull. On my first try, my sparring partner goes down. In 30 minutes of practice, I can reliably floor him in seconds.

Now, back to business.

Back at my desk, I can’t help but draw a parallel between the sparring session and the big, hirsute, tattooed problems that we deal with in our programs that seem intractable. I tend to rely on getting together the smart members of the program to solve problems, but that assumes that the solution to all my program’s problems are emergent – that with sufficient thought and effort, a solution will emerge from the same group that is dealing with the problem.

Getting expert help is the last resort, because it doesn’t seem possible to determine a priori which problems have emergent solutions, and which do not; also, that every complex problem initially seems intractable. Added to this is the transaction cost of identifying the right experts, as well as the Not Invented Here resistance to solution adoption I see on many programs. We wait for too long and spend more time to find a solution to a problem that can be resolved in short simply by getting an expert to help with the expertise, tools and techniques needed.

How do we identify the optimum point where we decide that a solution is not emergent, and go outside for help? Your thoughts are most welcome.

Mindtree Blog Archives

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