The Basic Thinking Framework 5W1H is about understanding a system and its context. The next higher step of understanding is the ability to predict which allows us to prepare for the changes and even take pro-active action to cause the desirable to happen. Can easily extend the 5W1H framework by combining it with another set of operator such as IF, NOT, Many/Much, Else,First, Ever. The popular extensions then become:
- How Many/Much.
- How Fast.
Of course, we can replace any of the W’s and H with another W’s and H and we can add What-first, Where-Ever, etc.
Such extensions expand our mind to consider other possibilities.
What-IF encourages us work out the opportunities or threats and be prepare for it. It helps us to find out the critical success factors or the choke points.
Why-Not challenges our stereotypes, biases, blind spots, assumptions and constraints. When we hear ‘it can’t be done’, we may want to ask ‘Why Not’.
How many or How much brings a sense of size and scale to our thinking. How much resources are needed? Do much time do we have? What is the capacity that our system can handle?
What-Else encourages us to continue to look for more and better solution. We have the tendency to stop once we find the first solution. It is probably the question you want to ask others who said he had the solution.
Who-First/Last reminds us to think of priority. Who goes first? What must be done first? Some things are more important than others though they may not seem urgent. Urgent thing may not be important. Important things not handled in time will become urgent things that you must handle but often you don’t have the time to give the best response.
When-ever helps us to see if our system will last. Is our system reliable? Is our system ready any time and all the time to handle any call?
How-fast reminds us the importance of responding in time though we may be ready.
Try them out on your next brain storming or problem solving session.
Lim Liat (C) 26 July 2012