See Think Solve: A Simple Way to Tackle Tough Problems

Brainstorming and design thinking are great. But you, your team or your students need a more targeted way to solve complex problems. Social science holds the key.

We just released a new book.

Written by our friends and long-time collaborators Jeff Leitner and Andrew Benedict-Nelson, and designed by me and the Foossa team, See Think Solve is a simple guide to difficult problems.

Originally developed for a social work PhD program at the University of Southern California, it is written in an easy-to-read, jargon-free style for anyone interested in better understanding human behavior and how to design products, services, and programs that shift collective norms and culture. The ideas in the book have really shaped our consulting and teaching practice.

From the Introduction to See Think Solve:

The main reason problems are hard to solve is that they involve people. People are funny. They don’t always believe the things they say they believe or do the things they say they are going to do. They can act one way in one situation and act completely differently in another situation. No one has ever completely figured this out. We call this the ‘mystery of human behavior.’
The mystery of human behavior shapes almost every problem worth solving.
That’s the bad news. But there’s good news too. The mystery of human behavior also helps us see problems in new ways. By paying attention to people, we can discover new aspects of problems that help us solve them more effectively.
The nine steps in See Think Solve are designed to do just that. They will help you make sense of the mystery of human behavior that surrounds all tough problems.
– The first six steps are about seeing — each of them shows you a new thing to look for in human behavior.
– The next two steps are about thinking — each one is a tool you can use to better understand the human behaviors you have observed.
– The last step is about solving — it describes what you can accomplish with your newfound knowledge.”
See Think Solve Color Palette
See Think Solve Color Palette

About the Design

When planning the design for the book, we wanted to communicate both “simplicity” and “humanity.” The book is meant to be a simple guide to difficult social problems. To reflect this intention, we created an iconography that references both the periodic table of elements and the New York City Subway signage system by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda. The icons serve as a kind of way-finding for readers of the book and help them remember each of the steps in the See Think Solve process. To add a rich, humanistic feel to the visuals, we chose a color palette derived from traditional Japanese art and design. The book cover also features subtle curves on a dark grey background, which are meant to evoke a topographical map or electromagnetic waves.

Win a free trip to Japan (no purchase necessary)

Via the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) website:

“Spring 2012 will be a special season as it marks the centennial anniversary of Japan’s Gift of Trees to the U.S. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re giving you and a guest the chance to explore Japan inside and out. Read through all 6 itineraries, pick your favorite, and enter for your chance to win your dream vacation!”

Japanese-Brazilian Pepper Steak

This is my first foray into cooking here in Rio where I integrate Brazilian and Japanese influences.

Ingredients
Broccoli and cauliflower florets
Thin slice of alcatra (rumpsteak)
Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 handful of sliced shiitake
1 garlic clove, minced
Tablespoon of soy sauce
Tablespoon of brandy
Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of French grain mustard
Dash of hot paprika
Hot sauce to taste
Freshly ground mixed pepper (black, white, pink, and green peppercorns) to taste – substitute black pepper if that is all you have
Salt to taste

Instructions
1. Boil broccoli and cauliflower florets in salted water until tender, set aside and keep warm. Reserve some of the water and set aside.

2. Season both sides of the alcatra with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a saucepan and coat generously with olive oil.

4. Sear the steak on both sides. Since the steak is thin, one minute per side is sufficient for medium rare.

5. Remove steak from saucepan and set aside.

6. Using the same pan and oil, add chopped onions, stir and scrape the meat bits to incorporate into the onion and oil mixture. Sauté until the onions wilt and begin to brown.

7. Add the garlic and shiitake and sauté until the mushrooms cook through. Then add the remaining seasonings. Dilute with some of the vegetable cooking water if the mixture gets too dry.

8. Cook the mixture until it reduces to a saucy consistency. If you want to be really fancy, you can whisk in a bit of cold butter, but that is optional.

9. Serve on a plate with the steak, vegetables and sauce on top.

10. Enjoy!

Washi Paper Crane Hinomaru T-Shirt

Japanese “hinomaru” red sun flag design with washi (traditional art paper) origami crane pattern. Another tribute to the people of Japan. All royalties will go to the JETAA USA Japan Relief Fund, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.