LinkedIn suggested some useful content to me (as it often does).
This time it was about a questioning technique called the 5 Whys.
It sounded somewhat familiar, and indeed Wikipedia confirms it’s been incorporated in approaches such as e.g. lean manufacturing.
I then wondered how this questioning technique would relate to the Six (or rather Seven) Thinking Hats method, which I blogged about earlier.
In my view, the 5 Whys are particularly useful to direct Black hat thinking, helping to identify root-causes of issues, risks etc. A hypothetical example:
- Why do we have a problem with our profitability? Because our revenue is too low.
- Why is our revenue too low? Because our revenue per customer is too low.
- Why is our revenue per customer too low? Because they are not aware of our full services portfolio.
- Why are they not aware of our services portfolio? Because we haven’t told them.
- Why haven’t we told them? Because we didn’t think of that.
Conclusion: Our revenue is too low because we forgot to do something small, yet important.