One of the things I liked about the movie “World War Z” was its strong component of problem solving. A virologist who meets his end early in the movie gives the research team a strong clue in suggesting they look for little “crumbs” of information that might be easily overlooked.
A lot of situations that trouble us for one reason or another may be better understood by this approach of “crumb” gathering rather than by a looking for a quick answer or fix. This approach is playing out in the investigation into the cause of the 777 airline crash in San Francisco. While air speeds and auto pilot and other obvious causal factors are being investigated, the subtleties of communication among crew members may be the “crumb” that will emerge in translation as the most important factor. Even the subtleties of communication within another culture may hold the clue to help us understand how this all happened.
Understanding group dynamics that polarize a community or a family can be one of the most challenging types of problem solving. Just taking sides doesn’t help because we may then develop confirmation bias on our stance and stop even looking at things that don’t support our stated point of view. One of the best ways to find “crumbs” of a solution is to ask ourselves what is one thing we are not talking about, one question that has not been asked. It may take courage to ask that question, but it may well be the missing piece.