How would someone in a similar role but in a different industry/company/project wrestle with this problem?

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– Analogous research

One of my favorite ways to approach a “wicked problem” is by imagining how a person in an adjacent industry or role might think about the same problem. Official called “Analogous research” in the design world, this sort of reframing has just the right amount of mutation to evolve a challenge into a more fundamental framework ripe for creative reframing and ideation. 

Example: An Instructional Designer might research the tools of documentary filmmakers, journalists, and FBI profilers to reframe the way they’re looking at a problem for call center training. These professions require empathy, storytelling, and a deliverable outcome that elevates understanding and behaviors worth taking action on.

This type of crafted mutation helps us evolve our skill sets and begin to overlap our methods into novel approaches that are more likely to produce innovative ideas and solutions.

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