Solving complex problems – Data – Focus – Change

You will not be able to solve these types of problems during one workshop and instead, you have to lead a longer change process to move forward. To be able to find a change you want to try out you need to have a focus and a way to see if things get better. To find a focus you need to dig deep into all the data you have to find patterns and create insights.


The first step is to dig into the data, visualise it, talk about it, discuss it, take a break from it, and then come back to it. Look at it from different perspectives. When you start to find some patterns and get some insights then write them down and look some more. Don’t spend too long though. The most important thing is that you find a first thing you want to improve and see if that helps.


Your focus is one part of the problem you are trying to solve at the moment. Try to phrase it as a question in the form of:

How might we …..?

It is a very powerful question from the design thinking world and I like how it gives people the possibility to think big and small at the same time. The next part of your focus is to find some way to measure if things improve. In some cases you can find a more objective value that you want to measure but I have found it is equally powerful to ask the people involved to evaluate it subjectively:

On a scale from 0 to 10, how satisfied are you with…?

Is another amazing question that can be used to measure anything. It was taught to me by Daniel Sa Nogueira in one of his coaching courses and I now use it for everything. When you have these two questions you can now start to find a lot of ideas for improving your focus and finding one concrete change you want to make.


The change you are creating must be so concrete that people know what to do and give some leeway so it does not get to stifling. B.J. Foggs Behavior model⁠1 is a great way to check if your change will actually take hold. He says that a change will only happen if

  • Motivation – People are motivated to do it
  • Ability – People have the time, resources, and competence to do it
  • Trigger – People are constantly reminded about the change in behavior.

I use the model by asking about the first two things to check if it is at all possible, and then I ask the group to create a way to remind themselves about the new behavior. When you have decided when you will evaluate the change it is just to start implement it.


The biggest mistake I see people making are when they start evaluating how well they implemented the change, it is important to know if you actually did something, but that is not what is most important. It is to check if your Focus has improved. Check if the measurement has improved and if the focus feels better to people. Are they more satisfied? If they are not more satisfied then it is time to find a new change or improve the one you implemented the last time. If the focus has improved then you can either decide to try new changes to try to improve it more or it is time to dig into the data again to find a new focus.