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.Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Problem Solving, the RATIO approach

If you really want to solve and prevent (complex) problems, using the RATIO approach makes all the difference. Combining several structured and rational methods, the RATIO approach provides a solid basis for critical and creative thinking. Among others, it provides sustainable, consistent and highly robust tools for solving, making decisions about and preventing problems on your own and especially in teams.  Thanks to this, use of the RATIO approach contributes greatly to the development of a continuous improvement culture and organisational learning.  

For a complete overview of the RATIO process, you can view the 6.5min video sequence below which comes from the introduction module of our practical on-line training programmes.


CoThink Event Mapping

The CoThink Event Map is the backbone of the whole RATIO approach. Given that a complex problem is almost always a consequence of multiple causes, contributing circumstances and broken barriers, Event Mapping helps to structure all of the available information and develop a very visual and easy to understand synthesis. The collaborative creation of this highly structured synthesis helps to focus the stakeholder’s attention on the realities of the problem situation rather than arguing about who is right or wrong. In this manner, it greatly facilitates structured and creative efforts to find real solutions to the real problems.    

Following this initial overall problem evaluation step, the Event Map provides a framework to decide where deeper analysis is required, such as the identification of an unknown cause using the IS-IS NOT Problem Analysis methodolgy or understanding human errors using Human Factor Analysis.

When these problem evaluation steps are complete , the Event Map is then used to facilitate the generation of possible solutions and for monitoring the progressive implementation of the chosen solutions. 

This means that apart from being a highly effective problem solving tool, it is also a highly effective visual communication tool, both internally and externally with your customers and business partners.



By cicking on the links below you can see and download several examples of real life Event Maps covering different types of problem situation.


Example 1. Manufacturing Industry. Performance of high speed bottling line below target

Example 2. Airline Industry. Fire on a Boeing 787

Example 2. HSE. A badly cut foot

Example 3. I.T. Fox application unavailable

Example 4. Cosmetic surgery. A very angry patient 


Problem Prevention

If you make sure  that problems cannot happen, you won't need to solve them. Bearing this in mind, the rational decision making process proposed in the RATIO Target step, particularly taking account of  the potential negative consequences of the different solutions being considered, provides a first safeguard.  

Following this, the pragmatic risk analysis techniques proposed in the RATIO Implement step, help reduce both the probabilty of occurrence and the impact of any potential risks associated with the chosen solution. 



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IEC 62740 norm/standard & facilitation

The CoThink RATIO-approach is used by many companies as the standard for Root Cause Analysis and fully complies with the IEC 62740 standard 

Regarding compliance , CoThink facilitators use the most effective methods for thorough RCA investigations such as: CoThink Event Mapping, 5WHY, Problem Analysis, Human Factor Analysis and other methods mentioned within the standard. The choice of method depends on the complexity of the issue. For a sensitive investigation, knowning which method to choose is critical to insuring successful partnerships, cooperation and high quality communication. A trained and skilled RCA facilitator chooses the right methods and switches between methods when necessary. Because of this, in complex situations, an RCA investigation lead by a CoThink facilitator is generally faster, more thorough and more likely to prevent recurrence of the issue than any alternative solution.


Our Services

We facilitate in solving & preventing your complex problems, using the RATIO approach. CoThink trains your employees, at various levels, to understand and apply the RATIO approach and its various methods. We also help your organization to implement the RATIO approach in your operational processes.

Would you like to know more? Please contact us.

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