Have you ever felt excited at the prospect of a new idea? The urge to get started, right away?

That’s what solutionism feels like.

Solutionism happens when people don’t do due diligence to understand why they’re doing something before they start doing it. The tendency is to jump to solving a problem, before validating that it’s actually a problem. Or to create something before ensuring it’s a worthwhile opportunity.

Sometimes solutionism is the result of an innocent question like, how would we do ____ ? Or what about _____ ?

The challenge is, once we head down the path of creating the solution, it’s difficult to stop and go back to the due diligence we should’ve done upfront. That’s largely because of the dissonance involved in admitting that the work we’ve done might’ve been a waste.

When we can’t deal with that, we double down, which can create an even bigger disaster.

Solutionism is a human tendency, our minds are wired to focus on goals. And to accomplish those goals quickly so we can move on to the next goal. Once we’re locked in, it’s very hard to reverse course. Biology is fighting against us.

Solutionism is what I refer to as an emotional blindspot. Without education and awareness, we have no idea that it’s causing problems.

Counteracting solutionism means talking about Why and What before How. If you catch yourself mired in How first, politely acknowledge it and ask everyone to move back to Why and What.