Recent Developments in Kepner Thinking and Tools

Kepner-Tregoe Problem-solving
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Tim Lewko
Consultant, Canada

Recent Developments in Kepner Thinking and Tools

🔥NEW Here's some further background on Dr. Charles (Chuck) Kepner and recent developments.
Dr. Kepner and some of the consultants working with the traditional Kepner processes started to experience that the original process did not always fit current company problem situations.

This necessitated Kepner to improvise his approach while ‘Thinking on his Feet’. The result was a customized process to fit the type of problem situation being experienced by the client.

Today the KandF™ thinking technologies have evolved to be faster, easier and more modular for individuals, teams and organizations use. Benefits of these next gen KandF™ tools from a user standpoint are:
  1. MORE FLEXIBLE – Emphasising both lateral and logical thinking styles.
  2. EMPHASIS ON COLLABORATION – Knowing what question to ask to whom to arrive at the right answer - first time every time.
  3. UPDATED DECISION ANALYSIS TOOL – Max4 is a unique proprietary solution-finding process for quick and informed decisions when data is hard to come by.
  4. SIMPLER – Each core Problem, Decision, Risk and Priority Setting process has been distilled down to one page and three visible steps.
  5. CUSTOMIZABLE – More options to customize the tools without having to be process pure.
The quick modification of his thinking process was made possible by the well-known natural thinking approach governed by the principles inherent in the Divergent and Convergent Thinking Model. The model reduced the problem solving thinking into four basis steps:

1. Identify the Problem Issue (Divergent Thinking)
2. Gather Problem Data (Divergent Thinking)
3. Analyze the Data (Convergent Thinking)
4. Develop Solution (Convergent Thinking)

Divergent Thinking is about gathering data about the problem situation, which could be a root cause to be identified, solution to be generated or a risk to be avoided. The key is to create a “factual snapshot” by asking the right questions to the right people to find the right answer.

The emphasis is on ‘relevant data’, because Divergent Thinking is about gathering data about the problem situation, which could be a root cause to be identified, solution to be generated or a risk to be avoided. Gathering of any data would see ‘irrelevant data’ entering into the analysis. In such a case you would have high probability of confusing the investigator rather than helping them to understand the problem situation.

Convergent Thinking is about ‘narrowing down’ the data to eventually produce a logical and correct answer. This is the phase of thinking that provided Chuck Kepner and some of his consultants with the flexibility that their clients appreciated.

At this stage of thinking substantial use is made of subject matter experts' logic, intuition and experience. This practice proved to be more flexible, intuitive and speedier with no reduction in the quality of results.

This approach became known as the KEPNERandFOURIE® problem-solving approach which is practiced today in 12 countries, 9 different languages and has over 250,000 people using the tools.

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