The Most Reliable Approach for Solving a Problem: Evaluating Various Methods

Choose the approach you think is the most reliable!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 21, 2024 06:45
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We're excited to present our latest ranking - "What is the most reliable approach for solving a problem?" Our world is filled with challenges, and finding the best solutions can be as diverse as the problems themselves. That's where you come in! We've compiled a list of top problem-solving approaches, but it's up to you to decide which one is the most reliable. Cast your vote, and make your voice heard! Think we've missed an approach? Don't worry, you can suggest a missing option to make this ranking even more comprehensive. Dive into this interactive experience and help us unlock the secrets of effective problem-solving, because together, we can tackle anything!

What Is the Most Reliable Approach for Solving a Problem?

  1. 1
    This approach involves identifying a problem, gathering data, forming a hypothesis, conducting experiments, and analyzing results. It is considered the most reliable approach as it is based on empirical evidence and follows a standardized process.
    The Scientific Method is a systematic approach for conducting scientific investigations and acquiring reliable knowledge. It involves formulating a hypothesis, conducting experiments or observations, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on evidence.
    • Empirical Approach: Relies on direct observation and experimentation to gather data
    • Systematic Process: Follows a step-by-step procedure to ensure objectivity and reliability
    • Testable Hypothesis: Formulates a clear and falsifiable statement that can be tested
    • Controlled Experiments: Compares a control group to one or more experimental groups, varying only one factor at a time
    • Data Collection: Accumulates quantitative or qualitative data through careful observations or measurements
  2. 2
    This approach involves identifying the underlying cause of a problem and addressing it directly. It is reliable as it focuses on eliminating the source of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms.
    Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a problem-solving technique used to identify the underlying causes of an issue or problem. It helps to uncover the core reasons that contribute to the emergence of the problem and allows for addressing them directly, rather than just treating the symptoms. RCA aims to prevent recurrence of the problem by finding a permanent solution.
    • 1: Identifies the core reasons behind a problem
    • 2: Helps in finding permanent solutions
    • 3: Focuses on prevention of problem recurrence
    • 4: Used to improve processes and systems
    • 5: Involves analyzing data and evidence
  3. 3

    Systems Thinking

    Jay W. Forrester
    This approach involves looking at a problem as part of a larger system and considering how different components interact with each other. It is reliable as it allows for a holistic understanding of the problem and its potential solutions.
    Systems Thinking is an approach that analyzes and solves complex problems by examining the interactions and interdependencies of various components within a system. It views problems as part of a larger system and seeks to understand the underlying structures and dynamics that contribute to the problem.
    • Holism: Systems Thinking considers the whole system, including all its components and their relationships.
    • Emergence: It focuses on understanding how complex behaviors and patterns emerge from simple interactions.
    • Feedback Loops: It recognizes the role of feedback loops in influencing the behavior of the system.
    • Causal Loop Diagrams: It uses causal loop diagrams to visualize the cause-and-effect relationships within a system.
    • Boundary Judgments: It requires making informed decisions about system boundaries to understand what is included and excluded.
  4. 4

    Design Thinking

    David Kelley, founder of IDEO
    This approach involves understanding the needs of the users, prototyping solutions, and iterating based on feedback. It is reliable as it puts the user at the center of the problem-solving process and ensures solutions are practical and effective.
    Design Thinking is a problem-solving framework that focuses on understanding the needs and perspectives of users to generate innovative solutions. It emphasizes a user-centered approach and encourages collaboration and experimentation throughout the design process.
    • User-Centered: Design Thinking puts the needs and perspectives of users at the center of the problem-solving process.
    • Empathy: Design Thinking emphasizes empathizing with users and gaining deep insights into their experiences and challenges.
    • Iterative: Design Thinking involves an iterative process with multiple rounds of ideation, prototyping, and testing.
    • Collaborative: Design Thinking encourages multidisciplinary collaboration and diverse perspectives to foster creativity and innovation.
    • Human-Centered: Design Thinking focuses on understanding the emotions, behaviors, and motivations of users to create meaningful solutions.
    Design Thinking in other rankings
  5. 5
    This approach involves using data and statistical analysis to identify and eliminate inefficiencies in a process. It is reliable as it is data-driven and focuses on continuous improvement.
    Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that combines Lean principles and Six Sigma tools and techniques to improve the quality and efficiency of processes. It focuses on reducing waste, variation, and defects in order to achieve near-perfect performance. The approach emphasizes data-driven decision making and continuous improvement.
    • Waste reduction: Lean Six Sigma identifies and eliminates different types of waste, such as overproduction, waiting time, unnecessary transportation, excess inventory, and defects.
    • Variation reduction: It aims to reduce process variation and achieve consistency in outputs, leading to improved quality and customer satisfaction.
    • Data-driven decision making: Lean Six Sigma relies on statistical analysis and data collection to understand process performance, identify root causes of problems and make fact-based decisions.
    • DMAIC methodology: It follows a five-phase problem-solving approach known as DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. This structured methodology helps teams systematically address process issues and sustain improvements.
    • Focus on customer value: The methodology emphasizes understanding customer needs and delivering value by aligning processes with customer requirements.
  6. 6
    This approach involves using inventive principles and patterns to solve complex problems. It is reliable as it provides a structured, systematic approach to problem-solving.
    TRIZ is a systematic problem-solving methodology that was developed to help find innovative solutions and overcome technical contradictions. It stands for 'Theory of Inventive Problem Solving'.
    • Systematic Approach: TRIZ provides a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving.
    • Innovation: TRIZ aims to find inventive solutions to problems.
    • Technical Contradictions: TRIZ focuses on resolving technical contradictions by identifying and eliminating them.
    • Principles and Laws: TRIZ is based on a set of principles and laws derived from the analysis of thousands of patents.
    • Patterns of Inventive Solutions: TRIZ identifies patterns of inventive solutions that can be applied to different problems.
  7. 7
    This approach involves generating a large number of ideas and then evaluating them based on their feasibility and effectiveness. It is reliable as it allows for a wide range of solutions to be considered and encourages creativity.
    Brainstorming is a popular ideation technique used to generate creative ideas and solutions through group collaboration and spontaneous thinking. It encourages participants to freely share their thoughts and suggestions, enabling a diverse range of ideas to emerge and be explored.
    • Group collaboration: Encourages participation from multiple individuals
    • Spontaneous thinking: Promotes free-flowing and uninhibited ideas
    • Diverse ideas: Allows for a wide range of creative suggestions
    • No criticism: Suspends judgment and criticism during the session
    • Quantity over quality: Focuses on generating a large number of ideas
  8. 8

    Critical Thinking

    Richard Paul and Linda Elder
    This approach involves evaluating information, analyzing arguments, and making logical, evidence-based decisions. It is reliable as it promotes clear, rational thinking and a systematic approach to problem-solving.
    Critical Thinking is a cognitive process of objectively analyzing and evaluating complex issues to make informed and rational decisions. It involves actively questioning, analyzing evidence, considering multiple perspectives, and applying logical reasoning to assess the strengths and weaknesses of arguments or ideas.
    • Active questioning: Asking relevant and probing questions to gain a deeper understanding of the problem.
    • Evidence analysis: Carefully examining the available evidence and evaluating its relevance, accuracy, and quality.
    • Multiple perspectives: Considering different viewpoints and recognizing the potential biases or perspectives that may impact the problem.
    • Logical reasoning: Applying sound and reasoned thinking processes to identify logical patterns, relationships, and causal connections.
    • Identification of strengths and weaknesses: Assessing the merits and limitations of various arguments, solutions, or ideas.
    Critical Thinking in other rankings
  9. 9
    This approach involves making small, continuous improvements to a process over time. It is reliable as it focuses on incremental change and encourages a culture of continuous improvement.
    Kaizen is a continuous improvement methodology used in Lean Management. It focuses on making small, incremental changes over time to increase efficiency, quality, and employee engagement. The goal of Kaizen is to create a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization.
    • Collaboration: Encourages collaboration across all levels of the organization.
    • Employee involvement: Involves and empowers every employee to contribute to improvements.
    • Small incremental changes: Emphasizes making small, gradual improvements instead of big, disruptive changes.
    • Continuous improvement: Promotes a mindset of ongoing improvement in all processes and activities.
    • Gemba focus: Encourages going to the source (Gemba) to observe and understand the work processes.
  10. 10
    This approach involves iterative development, frequent feedback, and collaboration between teams. It is reliable as it allows for flexibility and adaptation to changing circumstances, ensuring the solution is always aligned with the problem.
    The Agile Methodology is an iterative and incremental approach to software development that emphasizes adaptability, collaboration, and continuous delivery. It promotes flexibility, customer satisfaction, and the ability to respond effectively to changing requirements throughout the development process.
    • Iterative Development: Software is developed in short iterations called sprints, allowing for frequent feedback and incremental improvements.
    • Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration between cross-functional teams, including developers, testers, and clients, is prioritized.
    • Customer Satisfaction: Delivering high-value software that meets customer needs and expectations is placed at a higher priority than following a predefined plan.
    • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing requirements and priorities is essential, allowing for flexibility and quick response to customer feedback.
    • Continuous Delivery: Working software is delivered frequently, typically in iterations of a few weeks, ensuring that the development process is always focused on delivering tangible results.
    Agile Methodology in other rankings

Missing your favorite approach?


Ranking factors for reliable approach

  1. Effectiveness
    The approach should have a proven track record of successfully solving similar problems.
  2. Efficiency
    The approach should be practical and feasible, with the resources and time available.
  3. Creativity
    The approach should be innovative and resourceful, incorporating new and potentially effective methods.
  4. Scalability
    The approach should be able to be scaled up or down depending on the scope of the problem, from small-scale to larger operations.
  5. Cost-effectiveness
    The approach should provide an affordable solution that provides value for money.
  6. Sustainability
    The approach should have a long-term impact and be sustainable for the future.
  7. Collaborative
    The approach should involve the team members with a shared goal and should collaborate in order to solve the problem.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most reliable approach for solving a problem. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or approach is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 176 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each approach once every 24 hours. The rank of each approach is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most reliable approach for solving a problem

When it comes to problem-solving, there are many approaches that people can take. Some people like to dive right in and tackle the problem head-on, while others prefer to take a more methodical and analytical approach. Ultimately, the most reliable approach for solving a problem will depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the problem, the resources available, and the expertise and experience of the problem solver. One popular approach to problem-solving is the scientific method, which involves observing, hypothesizing, testing, and refining until a solution is found. This approach is often used in scientific research and can be effective in solving complex problems that require a systematic approach. Another approach that many people find reliable is the problem-solving cycle, which involves identifying the problem, generating potential solutions, evaluating the options, implementing a solution, and then reviewing and refining the process. This approach can be helpful for both personal and professional problem-solving, as it provides a structured framework for tackling even the most difficult problems. Ultimately, the most reliable approach for solving a problem will depend on the unique circumstances of the situation. By understanding the various approaches to problem-solving and selecting the one that is best suited for the situation at hand, individuals can increase their chances of success and achieve their desired outcomes.

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