By Bbiira Kiwanuka Nassa
The world is full of challenges partly because the entire world is preoccupied with thinking about problems. Little efforts are put on solutions. Those thinking about solutions end up assimilating and associating regularly with the problem thinkers. We all face social, ecological, governance, environmental and economic problems. These manifests themselves to us differently and at different times. One fact is that we all feel these problems more at a personal level when they attack us. I have of late realised that there are over one million solutions unthought of. What is critical is that everyone is reading and understanding those solutions that have been used by others to solve their likely or perceived development problems. We are reading from the same problem scripts. If we all thought about solutions of a rare nature, there wouldn’t be recurrent problems. What happens is that people begin to think about a vaccine of an epidemic without even thinking about the other illness/viruses that have hit the world just because the new epidemic has severe effects or the old virus did not range or hit them hard. For example, the last four decades have been hit by HIV virus, the world kept running it as a business as it has done with cancer. Not much investment for instance in African Traditional Medicine was made which could perhaps have offered sufficient remedy. Global development challenges like poverty and ignorance have predominately been facilitators of regime transitions but still the same impoverished communities usurp power after a new era using the same poverty lines and talking points. Can we say that the world has sufficient diagnosis of our development challenges but inappropriate solutions! Who is thinking about solutions?
There are a million solutions. The dynamics of world problems were diagnosed using the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world needs to be tuned to begin thinking of how to solve these development challenges in the different contexts of the people. For example, time has come for everyone to stop thinking about poverty and youth unemployment. Perhaps we could now initiate solution focused approaches that creates jobs and make youth more of entrepreneurs. Is it that easy to think about the solution? The answer is that there are fewer problems and challenges than there are solutions. An innovative strategy tuned to mindset of our generation must be started. This will require a crop of people not looking at politicians to solve the various development dilemmas we face but focusing on generating a solution for everything we face. Its time we started thinking about the next generational solutions. For example, time has come for young people to stop being given capital. They have been given seedlings and formed into groups but remained lamenters and receivers. They should be put in an incubation centre, mentored and graduate with models and solutions to the problems of society. Only those with workable solutions should merit support of either their government or private sector. Business funding models must also change and be tagged to solutions not just work or doing something. Every day, my wife challenges me to solve one problem before I sleep. I imagine that if we all set our minds to solve a problem, maybe we would generate a multitude of million solutions. I however know that it is easy to think about problems since they appeal to the listeners and those who have them. Thinking about problem solutions is so challenging for sustainable solutions are in most cases dressed in rags. Those who succeed in forming the solution have to raise their bar while dressed in overalls. However, irrespective of how the solutions appears, we must search for them. We must start questioning how much of the solutions we are applying. Agencies must start hiring solution managers. Every day we go to the toilet, we must think of the time we never had them. Someone thought about it and tried it. All the designs we have including of the attires we are wearing, therapies, treatment, projects and initiatives went to the laboratory of the solution mind and models. They were products and solutions of many mistakes of the designers. Our population must be nurtured to think of applying a solution for every situation. I listen to young people and leaders. They have perfect descriptions of their areas’ and constituencies’ development challenges. What they lack is a perfect solution to them. As such, different leaders come to solve the same solutions of their predecessors and unfortunately fail using the same problem minds. We must all appreciate that there are over a million solutions. We must also challenge ourselves regularly on how many of these solutions we are applying. Should we begin to think of these solutions, we shall have created jobs, solved all the governance, infrastructural, development, social economic and medical challenges we face. It is high time we begun to think as extraordinary citizens, super professionals, inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. These all come from the solutions we think about. The world has a lot of money but there are very few actors thinking about new next generational solutions such that this money is attracted to them. We must spend quality time thinking about new ideas, models and initiatives as generational solutions for our development challenges of the time and those to come. Its worth to note that for this to happen, you must change your environment from the contamination of talkers of problems to the doers of things and thinkers of solutions. We must be thinking about doing everything in our own way. Don’t look at a chapati and think it must remain round. We can make a squared or rectangle one. If the makers and designers of the current models and solutions thought and acted the way we are doing, the world would have been found a devastated one. We must be able to think and act sustainable solutions in all spheres of our lives. Don’t replicate what is available. Invent a new way of solving the new challenges of the time. For example, don’t wait for the third lockdown. Think about solutions such that there doesn’t happen any other lockdown. What is however important in solution focused thinking is to shape a supportive governance, periodic shifts in curriculum and a society glued to looking at solutions and under looking the problem.
Until we become a solution, every problem will over power us. Every problem will magnify and all our energies will be put on others solving the very basic problems we face. Every time you are engulfed in a challenge, just know and remember that there are 1 million solutions and start from thinking of how many you are applying to solve that particular problem.
The writer is a Team Leader/Lead Consultant, Centre for Ideas and Innovation Incubation.