Solving The Right Problem


Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and others who study how people actually think and make decisions (rather than how they should) have shown that most of us fall in the “plunging-in” decision trap where we don’t carefully question the problem we are solving nor how best we should approach solving it. As a result, we often make “satisficing” or “good enough” choices and lose the opportunity to make high impact ones. On occasion, we even make poor choices. This is especially the case when we make strategic decisions – consequential decisions that must be made in the face of uncertainty, ambiguity, novelty, and risk.

This recorded presentation describes a method that managers, business leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs can use to think better and make high impact decisions. The approach requires using evidence and reason to structure and frame the right problem to solve. The presentation covers:

  • Understanding a few decision traps with an emphasis on the plunging-in trap
  • A framework for structuring and framing problems
  • Simple but powerful ideas on how to ask the right questions to solve a problem effectively and efficiently

About the Presenter

Dr. Gaurab Bhardwaj is an Associate Professor and the Louis J. Lavigne, Jr. Family Endowed Term Chair in Strategy & Planning at Babson. His research, teaching, speaking, and facilitating expertise are in strategy, innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, and decision making in science-based businesses. In the above roles, he has worked with executives, scientists, and physicians from Biogen Idec, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, DuPont, Eli Lilly, EMC, Leadership Forum, Lucent Technologies, Merck, Orion Corporation, Teradyne, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and others. Gaurab teaches for Babson Executive Education. He also teaches strategy and competition courses to Evening MBAs and undergraduates, an elective called the Healthcare Ecosystem to MBAs, and an elective called Solving Big Problems to undergraduates. In his research, Gaurab is studying how people make complex decisions that are highly uncertain and ambiguous, and whose outcomes take shape over many years.