December 24, 2022

Accidents, problem solving and systematic approaches to social issues

Accidents happen. E.g. a bus crashes into a metallic protection and people die.

When accidents happen 

it's important:

1. To be outraged, in order to mobilize resources.

But then it's also important:

2. To cool down, 

3. Identify root causes, 

4. Identify potential solutions,

5. Analyze the impact and cost of potential solutions, 

6. Prioritize and plan the implementation of these solutions,

7. Implement selected solutions.

Because there is no single cause, and no single solution

This is why:

3. for root-cause analysis we use tools like Ishikawa / fish-bone analysis.

Because each problem has multiple causes, and each cause has other causes.

Direct causes include driver fatigue, architectural and design problems, construction issues, signage issues.

Underlying causes include lack of professional standards and processes in construction and road design, lack of professional expertise and training of those responsible, societal cultural issues (disrespect of laws, misapplication of penalties, low standards and expectations), corruption, legislation, and political populism.

4. Identifying potential solutions can be done with solution solving techniques. Decomposition, brainstorming, Delphi, design thinking, design cycle.

There are lots of possible solutions for each of the causes.

5. You cannot solve all causes by implementing all possible solutions. But also, solving only one cause is probably not enough.

This is why causes and solutions must be prioritized. This is done with tools such as Paretto (80/20) and cost-benefit analysis.

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