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Safety Differently: Do you look at a problem as "right" or "wrong"? Instead looking at them in terms of how useful they are

Ron Gantt

I've been intrigued lately by the idea that perhaps instead of looking at different ways of seeing a problem as "right" or "wrong", instead looking at them in terms of how useful they are. 

For example, when an accident happens we can frame the problem as one of "human error", where people choose to be negligent or to willfully deviate from a standard. But that frame doesn't seem very useful, because it leads to solutions that aren't very effective (e.g., blame).  Alternatively, if we frame the accident as being an unintended side-effect of how the system normally functions that seems more useful. Then we can look at normal functioning, the gap between how we thought the system was functioning versus how it really is functioning, the processes we use to support functioning, and how we can improve it in the future. The solutions generated by this frame are richer. We have more options. 

So if you're dealing with a tough problem and don't really have a good idea of any solutions that may help, try reframing the problem in different ways and see if those prove more useful. 

November 10, 2017 @ 10:44 AM EST

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