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A Deep Dive into the A3 Problem-Solving Approach

  • 11 mins to read
  • June 20, 2023
  • By Reagan Pannell

In today’s fast-paced and fiercely competitive business world, organisations must find ways to continuously adapt, evolve, and excel. Amidst the myriad methods and techniques for achieving improvements and driving continuous improvement, few have proven as profound and transformative as Toyota’s A3 problem-solving approach. 

A significant driving force behind the company’s rise to global prominence, the A3 process fosters a culture where problems are embraced as opportunities for growth and learning. In this article, we’ll explore the origins and underlying principles of the A3 approach and uncover the secrets to its success in unlocking the power of improvements.

Understanding the A3 Approach

The A3 methodology is an integral part of the Toyota Production System (TPS), a set of principles and practices that have shaped the company’s approach to manufacturing, management, and continuous improvement over the years. Named after the A3 sheet of paper that was historically used to capture the plan, analysis, and follow-up on a single page, the A3 process represents a simple, yet powerful, tool for addressing complex challenges and discovering lasting solutions.

At its core, the A3 approach is rooted in three key elements:

1. Thorough problem analysis: The foundation of the A3 process lies in digging deep to diagnose the true nature and root cause of an issue, rather than jumping to hastily devised fixes that merely address symptoms.

2. Structured documentation: The A3 report serves as both a communication tool and an iterative planning device, with each section building on the previous ones to guide problem solvers through a comprehensive analysis, solution development, and execution process. It’s the foundation of good continuous improvement.

3. Cyclical learning and improvement: Leadership and employees alike are encouraged to commit to hypothesis-driven inquiry, observation, experimentation, and reflection, leading to a culture that actively seeks and leverages opportunities for growth by solving problems.

How to Implement the A3 Process in Your Organisation

The Lean Thinking A3 approach can be distilled into seven essential steps:

1. Identify the problem: 

Clearly articulate and define the issue at hand, avoiding the temptation to jump to solutions or assume important facts to be self-evident..

When identifying the problem, it is important to ensure that all relevant stakeholders in the organisation are consulted. This helps to ensure that the issue is accurately described and understood from multiple perspectives. A thorough problem analysis should also include conducting research into possible causes or root issues, and clearly documenting any observed symptoms of the problem. Additionally, it is essential to identify any major risks associated with not finding a solution and recognise any constraints (both external and internal) that may exist which could limit potential solutions. Lastly, it is important to consider any potential opportunities which may arise from addressing the issue that may have been overlooked at first glance. This is the problem statement part which is a critical component that identifies the difference between the current condition and the target condition.

At this stage, we are not looking at how to solve problems being faced or at the potential solution to solving problems. It’s about developing a good understanding of how the actual results differ from the expected results and providing an in-depth systematic approach to process improvement and developing problem-solving skills.

2. Establish the context and background: 

Provide a high-level overview of the problem, describing the stakeholders involved, relevant data, and the broader organisational context in which the challenge has arisen..

It is important to ensure that all stakeholders are properly considered when identifying any potential solutions as their perspectives can play a vital role in determining an effective solution. All related data should be thoroughly analysed to understand the full scope of potential solutions. This includes resources, costs, timelines, and any legal or regulatory issues that may need to be considered. Additionally, it is important to consider how well-proposed solutions fit within existing organisational policies and procedures as this could impact implementation success. Finally, understanding how proposed solutions would interact with other initiatives or processes currently taking place in the organisation can help inform decisions about whether or not they are viable options. It may include conducting some value stream mapping to dig deeper into the current state.

It is important to fully explore any underlying factors that may be contributing to the issue at hand and ensure in-depth problem analysis. This includes looking deeper into existing systems, structures, and processes related to the problem in order to identify potential areas of improvement or optimisation. Additionally, it is essential to consider any relevant industry trends or external influences that could impact how the problem manifests within the organisation.

When analysing a problem, collecting data from various sources is important to get a more comprehensive understanding of how a particular issue can be addressed. This includes mapping the current process using the VSM, SIPOC, Process Mapping or Flowcharting techniques. Additionally, interviews and surveys can be conducted with stakeholders to gain insights into how they perceive the issue and their perspectives on potential solutions. Lastly, it is important to observe any real-world activities related to the problem to uncover key areas where time, effort, resources, money etc is being wasted. This is the time improvement that may not have been identified otherwise.


Get access to our free gb mastercourse classes, free course previews, lean six sigma green belt course, get 3-days free access to our online course, pivotal career course, lean six sigma green belt, get 3-days free access to our green belt course, accelerate your career, 3. set a goal:, now that you have identified the problem and outlined the relevant context, it is time to set a project goal or outcome..

This involves clearly articulating the desired state of affairs and any key deliverables of the proposed solution. Whether it is reducing operational costs, increasing efficiency, improving customer experience, or something else entirely – defining specific objectives with measurable metrics can help ensure that project teams stay focused and remain aligned on their ultimate destination.

At this stage, it is also important to consider how long it will take to reach the desired outcome. Establishing an implementation timeline will help safeguard progress and provide a framework for tracking results along the way. Setting milestones for achieving particular goals at certain points in time can be especially helpful in keeping teams accountable throughout the process. Additionally, having a plan for evaluating success after reaching the end target will allow stakeholders to gain further insights into how effective their approach has been in addressing underlying problems, as well as how well-proposed solutions have fared once implemented.

4. Investigate root causes:

Use a variety of techniques (e.g., the 5 whys, fishbone diagrams, pareto charts) to probe the problem’s underlying causes and avoid settling on proximate reasons..

The process of identifying root causes is essential when using data-driven tools. We always want to find the simplest root cause approach.

One of the most widely used methods for root cause analysis is the ‘5 Whys’ technique. This method involves asking a series of ‘why’ questions to determine the underlying cause of a particular symptom or issue. The goal is to keep asking “Why?” until you reach an answer that can provide insight into how to address the problem and prevent it from occurring in the future.

Another commonly used tool for root cause analysis is the fishbone diagram (also known as Ishikawa diagrams). This approach involves visualising all potential causes which could be causing a symptom or issue in a logical format, allowing users to identify patterns and uncover links between root causes and their respective effects. This technique can be helpful in identifying and focusing on key areas for improvement, as well as helping to identify interdependencies between components within an organisation’s systems.

Finally, Pareto Charts are useful for analysing data collected from surveys, interviews, observations, etc., concerning the severity or frequency of occurrence. This type of chart helps users quickly identify which factors are contributing most significantly towards an issue, allowing them to focus resources towards addressing those areas first and foremost. Additionally, Pareto charts can also be used to prioritise different solutions based on their estimated effectiveness in addressing an issue.

In conclusion, understanding the root cause of an issue through rigorous techniques such as 5 Whys, fishbone diagrams, and Pareto charts provides invaluable insight into how best to address it effectively while preventing it from reoccurring in the future. By leveraging these tools along with other data-led approaches such as process mapping and flowcharting, organisations can ensure that any proposed solutions are well-informed by both qualitative and quantitative data sources as well as ensure they are building consensus across the entire organisation.

5. Countermeasures:

Identify the right countermeasures (corrective actions) to implement that will directly impact the root causes identified..

Brainstorming is a useful tool for identifying potential improvements. It involves coming up with ideas and solutions in an open and collaborative manner, without judgement or criticism. By allowing team members to share their thoughts freely, brainstorming can help uncover innovative solutions that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Additionally, looking at how waste reduction, flow and pull can be used to improve processes can also provide valuable insights into where improvement opportunities lie.

Brainstorm potential solutions that directly target the root causes and create detailed action plans for implementation, complete with assigned roles, responsibilities, and timelines.

Once the countermeasures are identified, it is important to design an implementation plan and assign roles & responsibilities. This will help ensure that all stakeholders understand their part in the implementation and can work together to achieve the desired outcome. Additionally, it is important to track progress along the way – setting measurable milestones that can be tracked against goals established during the initial problem-solving phase will help keep teams accountable and allow for course corrections if needed.

By utilising A3 Problem Solving Tools such as a template, organisations can easily document and share their analyses with relevant stakeholders throughout each stage of the project. Having detailed record-keeping like this also helps teams stay on target over time while providing insights into how proposed solutions may need to be re-evaluated down the line. This implementation plan provides the entire organisation with a clear project status on a one-page report.

6. Evaluate the results:

Measure the impact of your countermeasures against the problem, using well-defined success criteria, key performance indicators, or other relevant metrics..

Once the countermeasures have been implemented, it is essential to measure and evaluate their success. This can be done by tracking performance against the initial objectives established during the goal phase, as well as establishing key performance indicators to gauge how well the proposed solutions have fared.

Additionally, stakeholders should also consider conducting a post-implementation evaluation in order to assess how successful their approach has been in addressing underlying issues and determining what lessons can be learned from the experience. This will enable teams to identify strengths and weaknesses within their existing processes and make any necessary adjustments going forward. By understanding the outcomes of their improvements, organisations are able to gain valuable insights into how well they’ve succeeded in achieving their goals and ensure continued success moving forward.

Once the countermeasures have been implemented and their success measured, it is important to compare the results against the initial objective. This can be done in a variety of ways, including graphical analysis such as charts, process maps or flow diagrams. Graphical analysis helps to visualise the differences between results achieved before and after the implementation of new measures in a meaningful way. It also provides an increased level of clarity when assessing whether the desired outcomes have been achieved or not.

Process maps can be useful in understanding how changes made during the improvement phase have impacted processes within an organisation. By mapping out existing processes and then comparing them against those following implementation of countermeasures, teams can easily pinpoint where improvements were made and analyse how they led to improved performance overall.

Charts, on the other hand, enable users to quickly identify trends that may have emerged from data collected during the project. For example, if performance metrics are tracked before and after countermeasures are implemented, users can use charts and graphs to more clearly observe any patterns that may indicate an improvement or regression in performance over time – providing further insights into which areas need further attention or adjustment moving forward.

Finally, dashboard views provide an effective means of displaying results at a glance while highlighting any anomalies that might warrant further investigation. Dashboards allow stakeholders to gain access to important information quickly and easily while also helping them keep track of progress towards goals set out during initial problem-solving phases. Additionally, because dashboards support data visualisation capabilities they offer a highly interactive user experience which can help teams understand underlying trends with greater clarity and precision.

7. Standardise and share:

If a countermeasure proves successful, integrate it into the organisation’s standard operating procedures and share it with other teams as a best practice..

Once the countermeasures have been successfully implemented and measured against the initial objectives, these changes need to be integrated into the organisation’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) and shared with other teams as best practices. This will ensure that any improvements made during the problem-solving phase are consistently applied across all teams within the organisation.

In order to ensure that these improvements become part of the organisation’s long-term strategy, process maps should be updated to reflect the new improved way of working. Process maps provide a visual representation of how workflows are structured within an organisation, and by updating them in line with newly-implemented countermeasures, organisations can ensure that their processes continue to remain up-to-date and efficient moving forward. It may also be necessary to build a follow-up plan if not all tasks are fully completed as well as develop a Lean-focused PDCA cycle to ensure long-term effective collaboration on the solutions that were implemented.

Process documentation should also be updated in order to keep track of changes made during problem-solving. By documenting not just the solutions that were proposed but also why they were proposed, teams can gain valuable insights into their decision-making process which they can leverage for similar future problems.

Furthermore, it is important to update key performance indicators (KPIs) to accurately reflect any progress made during problem-solving. By tracking performance against objectives established before and after countermeasures were implemented, organisations will be able to identify any areas that may still need improvement or require further adjustment going forward. Additionally, tracking KPIs over time will help teams understand whether or not their current strategies are leading them towards meeting their goals in a timely manner or if additional measures may need to be taken in order to achieve desired results more quickly.

Finally, organisations should share successful solutions with other teams in order to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders throughout different parts of the business. This will allow for ideas generated through one team’s problem-solving efforts to benefit multiple departments – helping foster creativity and innovation while ensuring that everyone is on board with necessary changes being made throughout the organisation. The last step is key to Toyota’s PDCA management system designed for the entire organisation.

By breaking down the problem-solving process into these seven discrete stages, the A3 method offers practitioners a comprehensive, end-to-end framework for tackling complex challenges and driving improvements in any organisation.

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Training the team on A3

To get A3 started, everyone in the entire organisation needs to learn how to use this single-sheet or single-page document. This means training people across all parts of the company so that everyone knows how to use the A3 Problem Solving Tool and A3 template. Training will help make sure that everyone follows a structured approach when using A3.

Getting the organisation fully onboard with A3 Problem Solving is not an easy task and will require a dedicated effort to ensure its successful implementation. To this end, it is important to start with specific areas of the business – whether it be operations, finance or marketing – by setting up targeted training sessions for both operational teams and senior managers. This will help everyone understand how and why A3 is used, as well as the potential benefits it can bring to their business.

Once everyone has mastered the basics of working with an A3 template, companies should look to regularly review and evaluate its effectiveness. This could include setting up quarterly reviews or running workshops where teams discuss successes and areas for improvement when using the A3 tool. Doing this will ensure that any issues are identified early on, allowing the team to quickly adjust accordingly.

At Leanscape, we understand that transitioning to A3 Problem Solving can be a daunting task. With our team of specialists, we can provide your teams with the necessary training and coaching to ensure that they are able to adapt quickly and efficiently. Our comprehensive approach to A3 will equip your team with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully use this powerful tool for improving performance in all areas of your business.

We are committed to helping you develop a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation by teaching best practices and providing guidance through every step of the problem-solving process. Through our specialised training programs, we will help your teams learn how to use the A3 template more effectively, as well as how to interpret data visualisations quickly and accurately – enabling them to take action swiftly when required. Our experienced coaches will also share insights from industry experts on how best to integrate countermeasures into standard operating procedures (SOPs) and process maps, keeping up-to-date with industry trends in order to stay ahead of the competition.

By leveraging Leanscape’s expertise in A3 Problem Solving, you can rest assured knowing that your team is in good hands. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the support needed for successful implementation so that you can achieve sustained performance improvements over time.

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The implementation of A3 Problem Solving provides a comprehensive framework for organisations looking to successfully address complex problems in an efficient and cost-effective manner. By breaking down the problem-solving process into seven distinct stages, users can structure their approach and track the progress of their countermeasures over time.

In order to ensure successful implementation, organisations should dedicate time towards training their teams on how to use the A3 Problem Solving Tool and A3 template. This will give everyone a solid foundation for carrying out future problem-solving activities more effectively, as well as provide insights into the effectiveness of certain countermeasures over time.

Through Leanscape’s specialised training programs, you can ensure that your team is fully equipped with the necessary skills to successfully adopt and incorporate A3 Problem Solving into all areas of your business. Our experienced coaches are committed to helping you develop a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation – providing guidance through every step of the process

Final Thoughts

The A3 approach is an invaluable tool for unlocking the power of improvements within any organisation. By leveraging its structured framework and cyclical learning approach, businesses can remain agile and responsive to ever-changing conditions, allowing them to navigate change more successfully and emerge stronger than ever before. Ultimately, this makes Toyota’s A3 problem-solving process one of the most effective ways to ensure long-term success in today’s fast-paced and competitive market.

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Deep dive in problem solving – route cause analyses.

  • by Markus Mattern
  • Posted on April 19, 2016 April 19, 2016

If you run into any kind of a problem what are you gone do? You will try to solve it. Later you experience the same or a similar problem. And again you will try to solve It. At least after a third time you will start to wonder…

What should you do now?

Find the real cause for these problems. The analyses for the route cause will help you to find it. Very often we look at problems very facile and try to solve the problem we see first. But this will not help to prevent the problem to occur again. If you look closer, the problem can sometimes be found in very different area or direction where you will not expect it.

So how can we find the causing issue? Using the route cause analyzes you will always challenge the easy and visible issue you found. Why did the issue happen and what can be the reason for it. Then you will ask again. Why? If this reason has caused the problem – why did it occur. Is there a reason why this situation occur. Asking these questions you will get closer to the real problem with every step. Some people know this method as the WHY-Method as you always ask the why question to look closer. The result can also be drawn on a chart leading to the real root cause. A good average would be to go into the 5th level of analyzing the issue. Sometimes you need 4 questions, sometimes 6. Somewhere round about that. So you will ask the why question 5 times in a row to analyze the cause of the problem. You will be surprised what will be offered as answers to your questions.

Identifying the root cause can help you to solve real issues in a very efficient way. This can solve a list of problems as they are very often related to the same cause. But be careful looking to these deep issues can lead to a very hard time as it visualizes problems where you will not expect it. But it will really help.

Try it yourself, take one problem you know and ask why.

One example could be, you order a pizza. The delivery is happening much too late. You complain to the delivery person receiving a ticket by the company. But is it really his fault? Looking closer can show you that it was not his fault. Why was it delivered much to late? – The pizza was prepared in the kitchen much too late Leading to a delay in the delivery process. But…. Why was it prepared to late? Their fault?

Looking in the background shows a problem at the order process. When the order was accepted they made a mistake communicating the order for fulfillment. Leading to a discussion causing a delay until the kitchen can start to make your pizza.

Improve the order process will solve the real issue.

This method can be used for small daily life problems up to economic and industry use cases where will also use the same way of analyzing. So always check for the reason why a problem occur. Ask why and check if you found the real problem. This sounds very easy and simple as it is really easy and simple. Try it!

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Problem Solving

Accidents are rare, and most divers will never experience any form of diving related accident. This is due to the fact that divers are trained to obey important safety precautions and avoid unnecessary risks.

Incidents, on the other hand, do occur and some occur often. For this reason it's important to know what to do in those events so no harm comes to you or your buddy.

Serious emergencies and accidents such as out-of-air emergencies and unconscious divers rarely occur. However, knowing how to react to these situations can save a diver's life, so it's important that all divers know how to deal with these situations.

This lesson covers only the basics of problem solving and diver rescue. The Rescue Diver and First Aid/CPR courses are excellent specialty courses, and should be part of your continuing education goals.

Responding to Incidents

Common diving incidents include lost buddies, entanglements, disorientation, seasickness, breathing problems, and gear problems. These problems are easily resolved when handled appropriately. When ignored or handled inappropriately, these minor incidents can develop into diving emergencies or accidents.

No matter what happens, it's important to remain calm and concentrate on solving the problem. The general response to all diving incidents is to:

  • Stop what you're doing, and signal to your buddy that something's wrong.
  • Relax and breathe normally.
  • Identify the problem.
  • Continue to relax and breathe normally.
  • Solve the problem.

Finding a Lost Dive Buddy

Buddy pairs occasionally become separated. This is usually the result of poor visibility, lack of communication, poor dive planning, or circumstances out of the diver's control. To locate a lost buddy:

  • Stop as soon as you realize your buddy is lost.
  • Swim back to where you last saw your buddy.
  • Ascend to a shallower depth and look down for your buddy or rising bubbles.
  • After 1 minute, if you still have not found your buddy, ascend to the surface.
  • If your buddy does not surface within 5 minutes, call for help.

These procedures should be discussed with your buddy while planning the dive. This ensures that you'll both follow the same procedure, which will increase the success of your search.

Underwater Entanglements

Kelp, fishing line, nets, and rope may create an entanglement during a dive. The initial entanglement is usually very minor, but can worsen if you try to struggle yourself free.

Gear entanglements usually occur around the cylinder valve and fin straps. If you become entangled, signal to your buddy that something is wrong and point to the entanglement. You and your buddy should then work together to free the entanglement.

If you cannot pull the entanglement free, it may be necessary to cut it with a dive knife. This is rarely necessary, and most divers never have to use their knife for entanglements. Regardless, a dive knife should be carried on all dives for this purpose.

Air Starvation

Air starvation is a scary situation where you feel like you cannot breathe, and is usually the result of overexertion or an air restriction in your equipment.

If you have trouble breathing, immediately stop your activity and concentrate on slowing your breathing rate. Watch your submersible pressure gauge as you breathe, and look for movement in the needle. If the needle moves as you breathe, the cylinder valve might be partially closed. Open the valve if you can reach it, or seek assistance from your buddy if you need help.

If equipment problems are not responsible for your air starvation, you've probably overexerted yourself. If this is the case, stop your activity and relax until your breathing rate slows down to a pace your regulator can handle.

Power Inflator Malfunction

One of the most common gear related problems is a stuck or leaking power inflator. This is usually caused by particles of sand preventing the inflator valve from closing completely.

In the event your power inflator sticks in the inflate position, immediately disconnect the low-pressure hose from the power inflator and deflate the BCD to prevent an uncontrolled ascent to the surface.

If you are comfortable using the oral inflator to control your buoyancy underwater, you can continue the dive. Otherwise, use the oral inflator to establish neutral buoyancy, and make a safe ascent to the surface.

Water conducts heat from your body 25 times faster than air. This is why it's important to wear appropriate thermal protection for the conditions you are diving in.

Even if you're wearing the most effective exposure suit available, it's still possible to become chilled while diving. This can lead to a serious condition called hypothermia, which is a drop in your internal body temperature. Symptoms of heat loss include shivering, numbness in the hands and feet, cramps, immobility, and an inability to think clearly.

If you develop any of these symptoms, immediately exit the water and get warm. To get yourself warm, remove your exposure suit, dry yourself off, and wear several layers of warm clothing. Warm drinks are helpful, but avoid caffeine. Stay out of the water until you have completely regained your body heat.


As you'll learn very quickly, your exposure suit can be very warm when you're not in the water. If you're not careful, you can overheat and develop heat stroke before your dive begins.

Symptoms of overheating include pale and clammy skin, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. If you develop any of these symptoms, get wet as soon as possible to cool yourself down. If it's not possible to get in the water, remove your exposure suit and allow yourself to cool down.

The best prevention against overheating is timing. Wait to don your exposure suit until your buddy is ready to do the same, and get in the water as soon as possible.

Coughing and Choking Underwater

You may cough or choke if you accidentally inhale a small amount of water. You can minimize this risk by remembering to clear your regulator or snorkel before taking a first breath, and breathing slowly and carefully.

It's important not to ascend to the surface when you have any restriction in your airway. Doing so can prevent air from escaping your lungs and cause lung overexpansion injuries.

If you accidentally choke on water, remain calm and cough through your regulator. The water will eventually clear from your airway, and you'll be able to continue your dive.


Some people never get seasick. Others aren't so lucky and have to take special precautions. If you're one of those people, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid becoming seasick:

  • Avoid greasy foods before a dive.
  • Take non-drowsy motion sickness medications before you board the boat or begin the dive.
  • Position yourself near the middle of the boat. This area has the least amount of movement.
  • Look at the horizon. Motion sickness occurs when your body feels movement but does not see it. Viewing the horizon allows you to see the movement you are feeling.

If you become seasick while on the boat, vomit off the side of the boat on the downwind side, and do not dive. If you become seasick while underwater, vomit through your regulator, then switch to your octopus.

Underwater Disorientation

Disorientation refers to the sensation of not knowing where you are or even which way is up. The most common cause is sensory deprivation that occurs while diving in low visibility or at night. If you become disoriented, use a reference line such as kelp, an ascent line, or any other vertical reference to ascend. If a vertical reference is not available, follow your bubbles during ascent.

Out of Air Emergencies

As long as you plan your dives and monitor your air supply, you should never run out of air. But in the event you or your buddy has an out-of-air emergency, there are several methods available for surfacing.

You can share your air supply with your buddy by allowing your buddy to breathe from your octopus or another alternate air source. If an alternate air source is not available, you can share a single 2nd stage by using a method called buddy breathing. Both of these procedures allow two divers to ascend together while sharing a single air supply.

If you find yourself out of air and your buddy is not immediately available, you'll have to exhale your last breath as you swim to the surface. You can make it to the surface by using the emergency swimming ascent or emergency buoyant ascent.

The pages that follow explain the process for each of these methods.

Sharing an Alternate Air Source

Sharing air with an octopus or another alternate air source is the safest and preferred solution for an out-of-air emergency. To share air using an octopus:

  • Your buddy signals that he/she is out of air, and needs air.
  • Immediately locate your octopus and hand it to your buddy.
  • Your buddy accepts the octopus, removes his/her 2nd stage, and replaces it with your octopus.
  • Hold your buddy's right BCD strap with your right hand. Your buddy does the same. This leaves your left hand free to vent air from your BCD during ascent.
  • When you and your buddy are ready to ascend, display the ascend signal and begin the ascent. Continue holding onto each other, and remember to maintain neutral buoyancy by periodically venting air from your BCD. Perform a safety stop if your air supply permits.

Buddy Breathing

Buddy breathing was the procedure of choice before alternate air sources became standard equipment. This method requires both divers to share a single 2nd stage.

When you buddy breathe, the donor takes 2 breaths from the 2nd stage, then passes it to the other diver. As that diver takes 2 breaths, the donor must exhale small bubbles while waiting for the 2nd stage to be returned. This process continues until the ascent is completed.

Your instructor will teach you how to buddy breathe, but as long as you have an alternate air source, you will never have to use it. Because of this skill's complexity, it's considered dangerous to use in an actual emergency unless both divers have practiced and mastered the procedure in controlled conditions.

Emergency Swimming Ascent

The emergency swimming ascent is the safest method to use if you run out of air and your buddy is not close enough to provide you with air. The recommended maximum depth for this procedure is 60 feet, but ascents from greater depths may be possible depending on the diver's abilities.

To make an emergency swimming ascent, maintain an open airway by looking up and exhaling a continuous stream of bubbles. As you swim to the surface, vent air from your BCD as necessary to maintain a controlled ascent rate.

The air in your lungs will expand as you ascend. This will produce the sensation of an endless breath of air as you exhale.

Emergency Buoyant Ascent

The emergency buoyant ascent is the procedure of last resort to use when you fear you will not be able to maintain consciousness during an emergency swimming ascent.

To make an emergency buoyant ascent, remove your weight belt to establish buoyancy and allow your body to rise to the surface. Like the emergency swimming ascent, you must exhale continuously during the ascent to avoid overexpansion injury. You can slow your ascent rate by lying on your back and flaring your arms and legs out to the side.

Your Role as a Dive Buddy

As a buddy, you will be the first to provide assistance to your buddy in the event of an incident or emergency. Usually this will be a minor incident such as an entanglement, equipment problem, or exhaustion from a tiring surface swim.

In the rare event of a serious injury or accident, you may be the only person who is aware of the problem and available to provide rescue assistance. Knowing how to react to these situations may save the other diver's life, so every diver should know the basic skills of a scuba diver rescue.

Tired Diver Tows

Surface swims can become tiring when the conditions are too harsh for a diver's abilities. If you notice that your buddy is having difficulty swimming at the surface, you should provide assistance to aid the diver during the swim.

Your instructor will teach you several tired diver tows during the confined and open water sessions. These include the tank valve tow, do-si-do tow, and push tow.

Assisting Panicked Divers

A diver in distress at the surface is in serious danger of drowning and requires immediate assistance. After assessing the situation to make sure it's safe to respond, provide assistance by:

  • Helping the diver establish buoyancy.
  • Getting the diver to rest and breathe.
  • Providing assistance as needed.

A diver in distress will be struggling to stay at the surface, and this struggle intensifies as panic increases. For this reason, your first priority is to help the diver establish buoyancy. Your first attempt should consist of verbal instructions to the diver to ditch the weight belt and inflate the BCD.

If the distressed diver is unresponsive to your instructions, you'll have to perform these tasks for the diver. This requires precautions on your part, as the diver is likely to attempt to climb on top of you in an effort to stay out of the water. The best way to prevent this from occurring is by approaching the diver from under the water, and behind if possible.

After establishing buoyancy, give the diver time to rest and catch his or her breath. Remain close to the diver, and provide words of encouragement to help the diver regain a state of mental comfort. Do not allow the diver to descend and continue the dive because a state of panic may reoccur.

Once the diver has had a chance to rest, assist the diver back to the boat or shore. If necessary, provide assistance by towing the diver during the surface swim.

Rescuing an Unconscious Diver

A serious accident or injury can lead to unconsciousness at the surface or underwater. The leading causes include drowning, lung overexpansion injury, and decompression sickness. No matter what the cause is, you must get the victim to the boat or shore, provide CPR if necessary, and contact emergency services.

If the diver is unconscious underwater, you must get the diver to the surface as soon as possible. To surface an unconscious diver:

  • Check the diver for consciousness by waving your hand in front of his or her mask.
  • Roll the diver onto his or her back, and remove the diver's weight belt.
  • If the regulator is still in the victim's mouth, hold it in place with one hand.
  • Ascend while holding onto the victim. Let go if the victim's buoyancy prevents you from controlling your ascent rate.

Once you and the victim are at the surface, the next priorities are to call for help, administer in-water artificial respiration if necessary, and transport the victim to the boat or shore. To transport an unconscious diver:

  • Establish buoyancy for yourself by ditching your weight belt. Inflate both your own BCD and the victim's.
  • Signal and call for help.
  • Begin towing the victim using the do-si-do tow.
  • Remove the victim's mask, and pull your own down around your neck.
  • Check for breathing and provide artificial respiration if necessary.
  • Continue calling for help.
  • As you tow the victim, remove both the victim's and your own BCD. This will make the tow easier.
  • Continue calling for help and providing artificial respiration.

Your instructor will demonstrate this process in more detail during your confined water sessions.

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  • Deep dive learning & Deeper Learning

Deep Learning

In an educational or business context, to conduct a form of deep learning means to perform an extensive analysis of a subject or problem. It is a term that was used by the IDEO group for rapid product development. There are strategies associated with deep learning – largely connected to the capacity to go into a topic with depth and speed. In a deep learning context, the same strategies and processes can allow the learner to go into a topic with a greater capacity to understand connections, context, and if a challenge, possible solutions (NB: DeepDive™ is also a commercial trademark).

From: Deep dive brainstorming technique for organizational development

DeepDive is a technique to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem-solving or idea creation. It is often used for brainstorming product or process development.

From: Wiki Deeper learning

‘Deeper learning’ is a term that describes a set of student educational outcomes including acquisition of robust core academic content, higher-order thinking skills, and learning dispositions. It is associated with a growing movement in the US that places special emphasis on the ability to apply knowledge to real-world circumstances and to solve novel problems . Deeper learning is based on the premise that the nature of work, civic, and everyday life is changing and therefore increasingly requires that formal education provides young people with mastery of skills like analytical reasoning, complex problem solving, and teamwork.

Originally developed by the IDEO group (a learning design company) for rapid product development, the DeepDive technique is now widely and increasingly used for innovation not only in product development, but process improvement and customer service strategies. The method used by IDEO was documented by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer (of International Institute of Management Development (IMD) business school), who latterly further enhanced the process and sold the rights to Deloitte Consulting in 2006. This approach to innovation often focuses on four distinct areas: Process, Organization, Culture, and Leadership.

‘ Deep learning ’ as an umbrella term for a set of educational outcomes, was first introduced by the William and Flore Hewlett Foundation in 2010. Specifically, this set of outcomes consists of six interrelated core competencies:

  • Mastery of rigorous academic content
  • Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work collaboratively
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Learning how to learn
  • Developing and maintaining an academic mindset

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The Deep Dive - IDEO

Web resources:

What is the IDEO Deep-Dive™ Brainstorming technique?

The Institute For Research In Schools


There are plenty of examples of research or projects where learners are deep learning and deeply immersed into projects at an age younger than tertiary learning contexts. Learnlife believes that there is far more value to learners if they are encouraged to apply deep learning when delving into various topics. Examples of this might include taking an idea through to the product stage and beyond. Other examples might be when learners join authentic research projects managed by external organisations.

An example would be in the projects facilitated by involvement in an organisation such as the UK-based Institute for Research in Schools: Higgs – an exciting development .

Deep learning is one of the  learning methodologies  in the  Learnlife learning paradigm toolkit . Learn more about the different ways to engage learners through the  different learning methodologies.  

Deep Dive into Hypothesis-based Problem Solving

  • Post author By Jason Oh
  • Post date June 24, 2023
  • No Comments on Deep Dive into Hypothesis-based Problem Solving

dive process problem solving

The hypothesis-based problem solving (HBPS) approach is a method employed by consultants to develop actionable recommendations for clients using a structured, evidence-based process.

As we saw in the previous article , the HBPS process has five key steps:

  • Define the problem
  • Define drivers and generate/refine hypotheses
  • Determine information needs
  • Gather and analyze the data
  • Draw conclusions and develop recommendations

In this post, we will explore these five steps in greater detail.

1. Define the problem

Goal : Create a problem statement.

A problem statement is a statement that describes the goals of the client project clearly and concisely. A clear problem statement makes it easier to establish clear boundaries for the project in order to prevent scope creep, ensures that you focus resources and efforts in the right direction, and makes it easier to regularly check back to make sure you are fully addressing the agreed problem. Clients often come to consultants with problems that aren’t well defined. As a result, consultants must make sure that they translate a general complaint into a client problem statement.

A good problem statement should be relevant, action oriented, measurable, and time-bound.

Here are a few examples of what the client might say compared with the real problem.

dive process problem solving

Notice how each real problem includes a specific target for improvement and a deadline. Without these, you won’t have a clear understanding of the scale of the problem to be solved.

It is worth noting that a problem statement should avoid including symptoms (e.g., Division X productivity is decreasing), methods for solving the problem (e.g., … by benchmarking industry best practices), or proposed solutions (e.g., … by employing more staff).

You must make sure that you agree on the problem statement with the client before proceeding any further. So, to create a robust problem statement you need to involve the client in your thinking to make sure your understanding of the issue aligns with theirs.

Here are some tips that will help you create a robust problem statement:

  • Understand who the key stakeholders are and speak to them to understand their views and priorities
  • Look at market information and investigate the firm’s previous performance
  • Seek to understand the current situation, the compelling reason for change, and previous attempts to resolve the issue
  • Understand the factors affecting key decision makers by reviewing concerns and issues and conflicting agendas that may exist
  • Ask the client early on ‘What project outcomes would represent success and added value for you?’
  • Confirm any project constraints for the client e.g., time, budget

Below is a template that you can use to gather relevant information in order to develop a robust problem statement. You can also download a word version of the template here .

dive process problem solving

2. Define drivers and generate / refine hypotheses

Goal : Identify the main drivers of the problem and identify possible solutions for each driver.

2.1 Define key drivers

The consultants will need to identify and prioritize the main drivers of the problem by breaking the problem statement down into smaller chunks. Drivers are things that impact the problem you are trying to solve and can be formulated in four different ways:

  • Engaging in a group exercise (e.g., mind mapping)
  • Adopting different lenses to look at the problem (e.g., a business analysis model such as Porter’s 5 forces / 4 Ps / value chain analysis )
  • Brainstorming (i.e., ‘blue sky’ thinking)
  • Drawing on past experience (i.e., knowledge of the client’s organization and sector based on previous experience with similar clients)

It’s critical these drivers are kept at a manageable number (around 3 to 5) by clustering them into broader themes. Only include drivers that have high potential value, are worth exploring, and are described in a way that is MECE (i.e., mutually exclusive – don’t overlap each other, and collectively exhaustive – cover all areas relevant to the client).

The drivers need to be broken down into sub-drivers until you can directly define hypothetical answers to the driver question. Identify the relationship between the drivers and order them accordingly. This will help you plan your work, generate hypotheses, and structure your recommendations.

2.2 Generate / refine hypotheses

A hypothesis is a possible solution to a problem that you can test with data and analysis to validate – prove or disprove. Creating good hypotheses is a vital stage in this process, because the wording of the hypotheses will direct the type and amount of data gathering and the analysis that you will subsequently undertake.

In general, a good action-oriented hypothesis should be phrased in the form: “if you do this, you get that”.

To be able to validate a hypothesis, it should have the following five components:

  • The expected business impact of the action
  • Who it will impact
  • How much impact
  • After how long

The four golden rules for a hypothesis are that it should be:

Generating hypotheses for possible solutions in a structured way usually involves the following steps:

  • Break the problem statement into smaller chunks or drivers
  • Cluster the drivers into 3-5 themes
  • Make sure the drivers are described in a way that is ‘ MECE ’
  • Arrange drivers in a logical sequence
  • Develop hypotheses that answer the driver question
  • Trim the hypothesis diagram in order to prioritize

After you have a list of the ostensible drivers of the problem, hypothesize solutions for each driver and prioritize them based on impact and ease of implementation.

Lastly, trim the diagram to ensure a manageable workload. That is, remove any low value hypotheses, consider cost and risk. Normally, a 2×2 effort-impact matrix can help you prioritize.

The end result of this process should be a manageable group of high impact hypotheses that you can prove or disprove with data and analysis.

Below is a summary of a good hypothesis diagram:

dive process problem solving

3. Determine information needs

Goal : Build a work plan for the data that you need to collect.

After you have produced a list of testable hypotheses about possible answers to the client problem statement, your next step is to create a workplan. A workplan’s purpose is to help you gather the right amount of data to prove or disprove the hypotheses you have developed.

A workplan has three key benefits:

  • Keeps your work closely linked to the problem statement
  • Provides a big picture of all your work modules that is easy to share with your team and the client
  • Ensures focused and efficient data gathering

To begin with, work out what analysis – or end product – you need to produce in order to validate the hypotheses. This will then allow you to determine what data you will need to gather. Make the workplan details specific and complete, which will help when you start gathering the data. Collaborate with the client to help identify the right types of data for them and how to gather it most efficiently.

Other top tips include:

  • Make sure you are gathering just enough data, and no more, to be able to validate the hypothesis
  • Prioritize work according to the value to the client, availability of the data, and time to gather and analyze
  • Review and revise the workplan as needed, as you gain new insights. Keep looking at the ‘big picture’
  • Use the workplan to continue to build up the storyboard for your recommendations

Remember the end product for this step is a piece of analysis that can test the hypotheses.

Traps to avoid:

  • Don’t focus exclusively on quantitative data. Qualitative data is just as important, especially to compare with the quantitative data. Aim for the right balance
  • Don’t define an ‘analysis required’ in a way that is not sufficient to prove or disprove the hypothesis. For example, if your hypothesis is “Eliminating duplication will save $1M in 12 months”, then your analysis required should not be something vague and generic like “Process analysis”.
  • Don’t make the end product an outcome instead of a deliverable. e.g., ‘20% cost savings vs. gap analysis of administration costs’
  • Don’t create the workplan just based on data that is easily available. Focus on what you need to be able to validate the hypothesis

Below is a good template, with illustrative inputs, of a well-structured workplan to help you organize and plan the analysis and data required to validate your hypotheses. You can also download a word version of the te mplate here .

dive process problem solving

4. Gather and analyze data

Goal : Analyze the data, and develop insight from the analysis in order to be able to prove or disprove each hypothesis

In Step 3 of the hypothesis-based problem solving process ‘determine information needs’, you identify the data required to prove or disprove each hypothesis. In Step 4, the aim is to collect the data set out in the workplan and analyze it to produce the required output.

dive process problem solving

You will need to apply a broad range of skills to collect data effectively, such as:

  • Cleaning, manipulating, and simplifying numerical data
  • Questioning and listening skills when gathering facts and views from people
  • Managing biases about what you want to prove or disprove

Once you have gathered the necessary data, you will then need to perform appropriate data analysis, such as:

  • Exploring data sets to identify patterns and relationships
  • Comparing qualitative and quantitative data to validate conclusions or identify contradictions
  • Modelling different scenarios based on the data
  • Determining whether the data proves or disproves the hypothesis
  • Determining if the data suggests that the hypothesis needs changing
  • Determining if more data is needed

Each part of the analysis should do something useful and be linked to the overall value or benefit delivered to the client. As you analyze the data, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep revising the hypothesis diagram and workplan. Does your work support the aim of validating the hypothesis?
  • Be as ready to disprove a hypothesis as you are to prove it
  • If your data proves the hypothesis, you can move on to exploring the course of action
  • If your analysis disproves the hypothesis, you’ll need to revisit and restructure it and possibly carry out more analysis
  • Keep evolving the storyboard for your recommendations report as you gain new insights

5. Draw conclusions and develop recommendations

Goal : Consolidate your findings to answer the client’s ‘So, what?’ question. Interpret your results to come up with insights and clear recommendations.

You have collected the data and analyzed it. You have probably proved or disproved some hypotheses and identified some interesting facts that weren’t known before. Should you just present the results of the analysis to the client?

Remember, consultants bring value to clients through insights, conclusions, and recommendations. Think commercially about the results of the analysis by asking yourself the ‘So what?’ questions. What does this mean for the organization? What will create the most value for them?

Below are some important things to remember about drawing conclusions and developing recommendations:

  • Clients pay for the insights and ideas that consultants provide, not just for data analysis
  • Drawing conclusions and developing recommendations requires a mix of drawing logical conclusions from the analysis and creative thinking
  • You need to put your analysis together into a powerful and coherent story. You don’t merely want the client to understand the recommendations, you need to excite them to want to take action
  • Make sure you get the right people involved. Test your conclusions with subject matter experts or other client stakeholders who can give you an independent view and perhaps spark new ideas. Don’t be afraid of having your conclusions questioned
  • As you generate insight, keep going back to the storyboard for your report, update it, sense-check it, and see if your story still has any gaps
  • The insights you generate may cause you to go back and review your hypotheses and even the problem statement if you no longer think these are correct. This is part of the iterative nature of HBPS

Typically, you will communicate your recommendations through a report or presentation to the client. How you do this is just as important as the recommendations themselves. You can come up with valuable insights and actionable recommendations for your client, but if you don’t communicate them clearly and effectively, you will not achieve the impact that you are being paid to provide.

Skills that will help you draw conclusions and develop recommendations include:

  • Critical thinking skills to challenge your thinking
  • Creative thinking skills to come up with more insights
  • Looking at the ‘bigger picture’ e.g., How will your recommendations affect other parts of the organization? How realistic are your recommendations?
  • Appraising different recommendation options to decide which is of the most value to the client
  • Structuring the arguments to support your recommendations
  • Powerful writing skills

The bottom line

The hypothesis-based problem solving approach is how a strategy consulting engagement is generally structured and executed. It is an iterative approach. It will usually take several cycles of the HBPS process to arrive at the final answer. Be just as ready to disprove a hypothesis as to prove it. If the hypothesis is disproved, then go back and develop new hypotheses.

Jason Oh is a Senior Associate at Strategy&. Previously, he was part of the Global Wealth & Asset Management Strategy team of a large financial institution and served EY and Novantas in their strategy consulting business with industry focus in the financial services sector.

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Deep Dive Definition and Examples

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Deep Dive is a method where an individual or team conducts an intense, in-depth analysis of a certain problem or subject.

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The Deep Dive technique can be used by a single person or a group in order to brainstorm, problem-solve, or engage in idea creation. When someone performs a deep dive on a certain problem, they conduct an extensive and thorough investigation into that problem. The deep diver will be certain to explore how the problem originated, what effects the problem is having on its environment, possible solutions for the problem, and how the possible solutions will further affect the problem’s environment. A deep dive is conducted after a short analysis has proved that there is need for further investigation. There are three main reasons to deep dive:

  • Deep Dive to explore a problem – when a business has a problem, a deep dive may be conducted to investigate the issue and to mitigate its negative effects in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Deep diving allows the business to be sure of their solution so they can operate in the most risk-adverse way possible.
  • Deep Dive to explore a situation – when a business needs to explore a new situation, environment, or market they can conduct a deep dive to learn how that situation currently operates, and what role their business can play in the situation.
  • Deep Dive to explore an idea – when brainstorming ideas, a team can deep dive on a particular idea that they have interest in acting upon. Deep diving on an idea consists of mapping out how the idea will come to life, the costs and setbacks associated with the idea, and the positive impact the idea will have on the company once it is completed.

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What is the IDEO Deep-Dive™ Brainstorming technique?

08/05/2018 by Mike Morrison 56 Comments

Deep-Dive™ is the name of a technique used to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem-solving or idea creation. This approach is often used for brainstorming product or process development.

History of Deep Dive

Originally developed by the IDEO group (a learning design company) for rapid product development, the Deep-Dive technique is now widely and increasingly used for innovation not only in product development but process improvement and customer service strategies. The method used by IDEO was documented by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer (of International Institute of Management Development (IMD) business school), who latterly further enhanced the process and sold the rights to Deloitte Consulting in 2006.

This approach to innovation often focuses on four distinct areas: Process, Organisation, Culture, and Leadership.

The key to a successful Deep-Dive session(s) is for participants to arrive with information about the needs of their customers – and most importantly an open mind of what they can offer and how they can meet clients needs and expectations.

Often Deep-Dive sessions are run off-site; this has the disadvantage of helping to ‘educate’ the participants that they can only think ‘off-site’. To help support and engender a spirit of creative thinking, it is recommended that all Deep-Dive sessions occur on-site.

Deep Dive as a team development process

Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique – IDEO

Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique – IDEO

In the current economic climate, it is simply not good enough for an individual team to achieve results. The application of the Deep-Dive methodology can enable an organisation to improve the performance of teams across the organisation.

Not all teams are equal, and not all are effective. Ineffective teams can often result in lost opportunities and negative bottom-line impact for the organisation.

In the situation when an organisation is undergoing significant ‘change’, frustration with team performance has encouraged many organisations to employ “quick fix” solutions. Deploying quick solutions will often mean engaging additional resources from outside the organisation (new staff, consultants, interim etc.) to facilitate training and development activities as well as to make improvements in technology and available facilities. Despite these well-intentioned solutions and the potential for substantial payback, truly high-performing teams are rare (Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith).

These quick-fix solutions focus on Maslow’s hygiene factors rather than on what it takes to engender a high performing team. Providing the team with the latest technology, an agenda, a facilitator, a timekeeper, a leader, and a sense of mutual respect does not necessarily mean that they will achieve the desired results. A clear goal, resources, expectations of success, and developing that sense of synergy working towards Maslows “Self Actualisation” for the team and all of its members. This is what the Deep-Dive process is designed to do when operated and integrated into the organisation as a whole.

Deep Dive – A five-step process

  • Understand the market/ client/ technology and constraints (internal & External SWOT analysis , PESTLE analysis and PRIMO-F analysis )
  • Observe real people in real situations
  • Visualise new-to-the-world concepts and ultimate customers
  • Evaluate and refine prototypes
  • Implement new concept for commercialisation

A typical Deep Dive process

  • Creation of Hot Teams to work on the opportunities/ problems (these teams work the process end to end)
  • Brainstorming of ideas and options in the context of customer needs
  • Rapid Prototyping of potential solutions
  • Observing & Listening from Customers (internal and external)
  • Thinking of products in terms of verbs, rather than nouns

Hot Teams in a Deep Dive process

  • Create teams to run the process through from beginning to end
  • Named Hot Teams – having a name builds identity
  • Multidisciplinary – this is about collaboration and participation
  • The group leader is assigned based on their abilities to work with groups. – leadership is the cornerstone of success in this context

  Effective Brainstorming Technique

  • Clarify the focus of the event
  • One conversation at a time
  • Stay focused on the task
  • Encourage wild ideas
  • Go for quantity
  • Defer judgement
  • Build on the ideas of others
  • Number your ideas – allows indexing later
  • Build and jump – use flip-chart carousels – staying in one place too long limits ideas
  • The space remembers – what had happened in it, going back from when it was constructed
  • Stretch your mental muscles – challenge – get outside the box
  • Get physical – keep moving, use AVK resources

Six ways to stop a brainstorm session

Producing new and good ideas, even in an ideal environment, is hard work. Here is a critical list of techniques to avoid stopping the process in its tracks:

  • Let the boss lead/ speak first
  • Give everyone a turn and time equality
  • Ask the experts only – they know best
  • Go off-site – if you need a creative environment…
  • No silly stuff- keep it business-like and ‘straight’
  • Write down everything – something important might get missed

Rapid Prototyping

Once the idea generation and capture phases are completed a number of ideas should be ‘prototypes’ to see how they may or may not work. An idea should not be progressed to implementation until it is been prototyped and tested along with a number of other ideas. This is a common mistake in many brainstorming processes.

Rapid prototyping involves putting brainstormed ideas together and building or trying out ideas, concepts or processes. Trying or testing involved participants walking through or role-playing customers, suppliers and other parties to test or explore the merits of the proposal.

At the centre of this approach, prototyping is an act of visual and interactive brainstorming. By making something, be it an object or a physical experience, you can ‘see’ and experience it in a new way. This approach suddenly makes ideas more tangible, making your goal closer at the same time it highlights issues that weren’t obvious when it was merely just a good idea on a board or flip-chart.

Once you have decided on an idea to develop, it is time to start prototyping! This means making a quick model, a 3D sketch, to illustrate your idea.

Rules for Rapid Prototyping in innovation:

  • Get solid quickly – many people can understand concepts better when presented with a solid model
  • Start Simple – it does not have to be production quality
  • Work Rapidly- this is about concept – not accuracy
  • Make it rough – the ‘neater’ it looks the more opportunity to criticise the ‘look’

Allow 30-45 minutes to make your prototype model

Observing & Listening from Customers (internal and external) Customers count – if they do not want your idea, product or service, why invest time effort and money in developing it?

So many products are invested in and developed when it is obvious (to those observing) there is no real need – just watch the typical ‘Dragons Den’ programme.

Customers need to be involved right from the start – your real ‘experts’ are you customers…. not your ‘specialists’.

Think of products in terms of verbs rather than nouns We talk about phones, TV’s, computers, Blackberry etc.

What we need to do in order to be more innovative is think about these objectives as.. Mobile Phoning, watching interactions, computing, mobile emailing etc.

To focus on the verb rather than the noun enables us to look at the process and outcome as one, rather than objects and tasks.

Process – Organisation – Culture – Leadership

  • Fail often in order to succeed sooner. Enlightened trial and error usually succeed over the lone genius. Prototyping facilitates learning about the product, service or process.
  • Prototype multiple ideas on a small scale to demonstrate, build on something you can see, feel and experience.
  • Market research – engage end-users – deadly if your customers are taken for granted; also immerse yourself in the associated product environment.

Organisation – Flat structure focused on learning. No type-casting allowed.

Culture – Trust in team members is vital and central to this methodology. Don’t always listen to the ‘boss’. Do the contrary!

Leadership – The team leader only facilitates, they are not the expert. Their role is solely to coach the process, but not involved in ideas. This allows freedom. This process is consistent.

Being innovative in a corporate environment

Robert Sutton in his book ‘Weird Ideas that Work’ states the following as approaches to explore in the development and journey towards being an innovative organisation:

  • Hire ‘Slow Learners’ (of the organisational code)
  • Hire People Who Make You Uncomfortable, Even Those You Dislike
  • Hire People You (Probably) Don’t Need
  • Use Job Interviews to Get Ideas, Not to Screen Candidates
  • Encourage People to Ignore and Defy Superiors and Peers
  • Find Some Happy People and Get them to Fight
  • Reward Success and Failure, Punish Inaction
  • Decide to Do Something That Will Probably Fail, Then Convince Yourself and Everybody Else That Success is Certain
  • Think of Some Ridiculous or Impractical Things to Do, Then Plan to Do Them.
  • Avoid, Distract, and Bore Customers, Critics, and Anyone Who Just Wants to Talk About Money
  • Don’t Try to Learn Anything from People Who Seem to Have Solved the Problems You Face.
  • Forget the Past, Especially Your Company’s Successes

Resources for innovation

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Kelley, Tom. Doubleday, 2001

Weird Ideas that Work: 11½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation. Sutton, Robert I. 2002. New York: Free Press

Creatrix and the Innovation Equation Notes

The ‘Deep-Dive’ methodology is ™ and © Deloitte Consulting since they purchased the IP and © from IDEO.

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About Mike Morrison

Mike is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance. Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. Check out his linkedin profile MikeMorrison LinkedIn Profile

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What is the Deep-Dive™ Brainstorming technique? #Creativity #innovation

Deep-Dive brainstorming technique | RapidBI

RT @rapidbi: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique, what is it?

RT @rapidbi: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique, what is it?

RT @rapidbi: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique – IDEO #ux #design

Useful Blog post: #hr

Useful Blog post: #biz

RT @RapidBI: Useful article from our site-

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i am impressed with this Deep Dive methodology.attended a presentation by Mr Reymound at The Innovation Hub and it was realy good,mind blowing,it expanded the way i think now when brainstorming

[…] IDEO, el gigante de innovación industrial,  hace al menos 50 sesiones de generación de ideas (llamadas Deep Dives)  por semana. Empiece pequeño, haga una prueba piloto y vaya creciendo, marque su propio […]

[…] resumen de la metodología deep-dive propuesta por IDEO,que es la que se describe en el vídeo objeto de este […]

[…] tank for my cubicle at work, and I'm looking for brainstorming (or what we call at work a "deep dive"). Here's the requirements: 1. It can't be huge. I might be able to get away with ~20 gal. if […]

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Delicious: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique | RapidBI – Rapid Business Improvement: [Research]

RT @Competia: Strategy analysis: using deep-dive techniques Tks @crid #em #innovation

Strategy analysis: using deep-dive techniques Tks @crid #em #innovation

Deep-Dive brainstorming technique: Pour analyse de marché, concurrent, technologie,…

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Delicious: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique | RapidBI – Rapid Business Improvement: [IDEO]

Stuck? This creativity technique might be useful. Works well w/group involvement. #IN

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Stuck? This creativity technique might be useful. Works well w/group involvement. #IN [link to post]

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What is the Deep-Dive™ Brainstorming technique?

[link to post] The Deep Dive Brainstorming Technique — lots and lots of good ideas in here. #creativity #innovation

The Deep Dive Brainstorming Technique — lots and lots of good ideas in here. #creativity #innovation

[…] Deep-Dive brainstorming technique – IDEO » RapidBI-Mgt, Leadership, Business Improvement Articles Deep-Dive™ is the name of a technique used to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem solving or idea creation. This approach is often used for brainstorming product or process development. (tags: brainstorming design_process) […]

RT @prwpmp: RT @chuckfrey – What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique? [link to post] #creativity #innovation

RT @prwpmp: RT @chuckfrey – What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique? #creativity #innovation

What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique? [link to post] #creativity #innovation

RT @chuckfrey – What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique? [link to post] #creativity #innovation

Highly valuable technique! RT @chuckfrey: What is the Deep-Dive Brainstorming Technique? [link to post] #creativity #innovation

Includes nice #brainstorm and #prototype tips RT @IDSA: Understanding IDEO’s deep-dive brainstorming technique: [link to post]

Understanding IDEO’s deep-dive brainstorming technique: [link to post]

RT@rapidbi Deep-Dive brainstorming technique – IDEO: Deep-Dive brainstorming technique is often used to rapidly im… [link to post]

New blog from friend Deep-Dive brainstorming technique – IDEO [link to post] I hope it is useful

RT @neilryder: New blog from friend Deep-Dive brainstorming technique – IDEO [link to post] I hope it is useful

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