From developing a minimum viable product to growing a business, entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges. In this context, there are many tangible and practical benefits of applying critical thinking.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyse the way you think and present evidence for your ideas, rather than simply accepting your personal reasoning as sufficient proof. In short, critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. One of the most common challenges when facing any problem solving is the desire to rush off and get to an answer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this often leads to only solving a symptom, not the cause of the problem. This is the reason why turning the attention to the symptom leads to the discovery of many other symptoms while the problem persists. What is the best approach in this situation?
When people are asked to look into an issue, they often start solving it without really thinking through what is causing it. When applying the critical thinking process, first, consider causes. Start with why. Have a close look at the symptom that is problematic. Once you have a good understanding of why, do not fall into the trap of stopping there. Once you have that understanding, ask why again. Figure out the real reason behind what is happening. Gain a deep understanding of what is causing concern on your stakeholder's part. This is the best road to take in order to avoid solving symptoms, and instead, come up with a recommendation that is going to solve the real problem.
For example, at the end of the process of developing a food delivery app, the product owner realizes that the app is not working properly. In an attempt to find a quick solution, he/she turns to the developers and asks them to use more resources to focus on the code. Soon, they realize that the code wasn’t in fact ready. Why? Because the specifications were not done in a timely manner. Why? The reason is that they did not agree on the features and functionalities of the app. Going deeper, the team comes to the conclusion that developers were not given clarity by the product owner around one aspect that was a major strategic decision.
Breaking big problems into small ones
critical thinking process is based on the same principle. Take an overwhelming problem and break it down into smaller ones that one individual can actually solve. The time spent thinking through what the components of the problem are is going to pay dividends on the backend when you analyse the possible solutions because you are going to have a better sense for what recommendations and solutions to pursue.
Using critical thinking when generating a recommendation
Once you generate a recommendation, stop and think critically. What new problems can you create, if you implement this recommendation? What are the new symptoms that will be caused? Think that through before you implement your recommendation.