In this article you will find a practical explanation of the Reframing Matrix, developed by Michael Morgan. After reading, you will understand the basic concepts of this powerful tool for problem solving, using different creative perspectives.
What is the Reframing Matrix?
The Reframing matrix is a tool created by Michael Morgan published in his book Creating Workforce Innovation that helps to look at business problems from several different perspectives. The solutions that can be developed using this method, are usually creative.
It is difficult to think and act differently when you already have a defined personality and profession. However, the importance of being able to use different points of view to a problematic situation is of great value in problem solving.
The Reframing Matrix provides an opportunity for people, no matter what profession or way of thinking they have, to see a situation from different angles. With this matrix, a person can place themselves in the position of someone else, and give different observations and opinions in order to arrive at profitable solutions to a problem.
How to use the Reframing Matrix?
Using this tool is very easy. One only needs a pencil and paper, which can be used with both the 4ps approach or the occupational approach. From the perspective of the 4Ps approach
Draw a grid with four squares, in the middle you leave a space to write the problem you want to solve.
Step 2: 4ps Reframing Matrix
In this step you should determine the points of view from which you want to approach the problem. It is advisable to do this with the 4Ps approach. The 4Ps approach (not to be confused with the 4Ps of Marketing) will help you to see the problem from different angles:
Is there a problem with the product/service? Is there a problem with the price of the product? Is it profitable and reliable in the market?
Are there flaws in the business plan and marketing strategies? How can we improve it?
How can sales be increased, how can production processes be improved, how to motivate and increase productivity?
What is the impact that people have on the problem? What do the people involved in the problem think and how do they act? Why are customers not buying or using the product / service offered?
These are some of the perspectives that can help you to take a broader view of a specific problem you have.
Reframing Matrix, an occupational approach
The occupational approach helps you to visualise the resolution of a problem from various occupational points of view. For example, it is not the same how an engineer or a lawyer approaches a difficult situation, both would use very different points of view. With this tool, you can put yourself in the shoes of a person in a strategic way of thinking to solve difficult situations.
The occupational approach can be used by one person or when working in a team as each person may have a different profession and can complement the development of a good and positive solution.
- Legal team
- Finance team
- Human resources
People in each of the above professions think and act differently, so the Reframing Matrix helps them to put themselves in the perspective of others to solve problems and to understand more deeply that a problem can have several solutions depending on which point of view you look at it from.
Brainstorming must be carried as an element of the Rereframing Matrix out to solve conflicts and problems in each of the different perspectives (frames). This will provide an early solution to the problem in the company.
Divide a group into smaller groups and ask each group to think from one of the four perspectives. With this and the help of colleagues, the best solution can be found, generating new knowledge and creating together innovative initiatives to develop problem solving.
When the Reframing Matrix is completed, you will understand from different perspectives and you will have more than one solution to be able to solve the conflicts or problems you have.
Innovation and Creativity in the Reframing Matrix
Mixing ideas can lead to success in processes / products or services that require a solution as problems arise.
The mix of different perspectives can result in the successful cohesion of different ways of thinking and looking at a problem. Each person with his or her different profession can contribute and can transform the problem into an opportunity and thus positively innovate the organisation.
This is how innovation and creativity can be activated in the Reframing Matrix by thinking from different points of view and how to find different solutions that can become opportunities to transform, improve or create from 0 better situations or actions that the company needs.
- If you work individually on the Reframing Matrix, you will be able to take different positions and points of view from a broader perspective.
- If working in a team, the people involved will be able to focus on the solution of the problem from their professional, academic and professional backgrounds. The Reframing Matrix is the guide to make the different thoughts flow in the most organised way possible towards problem solving.
- Brainstorming as part of the Reframing matrix tool ensures to listen to every person and involve them in the solution. A creative idea can emerge in the cohesion of teamwork.
- Not only does it serve to solve current problems, the Reframing matrix can collect information on opinions and views that can possibly be reviewed for future problems that may be similar to the current problem.
Background for the development of the matrix
Reframing knowledge as a solution
In order to understand the value of the Reframing Matrix better, one must also take a broader look at the concept of knowledge. A concept that has been immersed in different research methods and theories, from psychological, social pedagogical and other topics.
The Reframing Matrix seeks to look at a specific problem with different points of view, opinions and thoughts that can lead to a solution and achieve the desired success for the company. However, in order to understand how these points of view play an important role, the knowledge that gives the possible desired solution must be understood.
Knowledge is then a type learning that is acquired by education or experiences lived by the person. It is the information that a person obtains and at some point shares with someone else in this case in the Reframing Matrix to solve a problem that arises in a company.
Knowledge as a tool of power to provide effective solutions in the reframing of a problem and how this knowledge can be shared and expressed for the orientation of possible solutions to people who do not have specific knowledge (information) that others possess.
The Reframing Matrix summary
People are always confronted with different situations and problems of all kinds in both work and personal life. In order to lead to successful problem solving in action it must first be organised in a tangible way that is close to the person who needs to deal with and solve problems.
The Reframing Matrix in a simple and agile way can help to approach problem solving in the best possible way with a broad overview of the different perspectives from which a problem can be observed and delved into.
The form of a simple chart, paper and pencil gives the person who uses this matrix the security to be able to analyse and solve problems in their company, business or even in their personal life. Managers and work leaders have changed the way they work. Now the inclusion of different ways of thinking is vital to solve and achieve success.
Each frame is a different point of view, a view that can change the problem, even identify possibilities that had not been seen before and that can even help to reform, improve and move forward. Different points of view will always be a guide to find the best solution for a specific problem.
Sometimes it is forgotten that questions are essential for conflict resolution. The Reframing Matrix leads us to reflect on what surrounds the problem. Questioning, wondering and reflecting can lead to the best answers for solutions that result in the success of a business or even a personal project.
Putting oneself in the other person’s shoes is also what this Reframing Matrix suggests. Sometimes it is necessary to put aside one’s own point of view in order to observe from another perspective. Another profession with another way of thinking and acting may provide the answers to what is being sought for a solution.
Thinking and taking rational actions from the study and analysis of different perspectives could be useful for decision making, as the decisions taken can give positive or negative results for the organisation.
With the Reframing Matrix and with the support of different problem solving tools such as: Problem Definition Processes, Simplex Problem Solving Process, Brainstorming. These methods and tools can help you to identify, process and act in the best possible way on the problems that arise in the organisation.
Now it’s Your Turn
What do you think? Is the Reframing Matrix an essential tool for business problem solving? Do you think it is a simple method that can be put into practice? Have you already used the Reframing Matrix? If so, tell us about your experience? Do you have any suggestions or comments you would like to share?
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- Vijayaratnam, P. (2009). Cooperative learning as a means to developing students’ critical and creative thinking skills. INTI Journal: Special Issue on Teaching and Learning, 132-143.
- Spiekermann, R., Kienberger, S., Norton, J., Briones, F., & Weichselgartner, J. (2015). The Disaster-Knowledge Matrix–Reframing and evaluating the knowledge challenges in disaster risk reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 13, 96-108
- Mäkimattila, M., Saunila, M., & Salminen, J. (2014). Interaction and innovation-reframing innovation activities for a matrix organization.
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