Critical Thinking and Process Design

In a nutshell, critical thinking the the unbiased analysis of facts, in order to form a judgement, make a decision, develop a strategy, and implement an action plan. In business, it is critical that fact based decisions form the foundation of a strategy and plan to move the organization forward.

Many businesses have operational processes in place that were formed serendipitously in response to a need for action. The steps taken worked, and as a result became the way things get done. While this might work as a temporary solution, the goal should be process by design, in particular when considering process automation.

This is where critical thinking comes into play. As presented in an article posted in indeed, titled “5 Critical Thinking Skills to Use at Work (And How to Improve Them)”, there are five key elements to critical thinking that also align with process improvement methods. In process improvement one might consider these:

  • Identify a problem or opportunity with the business process
  • Identify why the problem exists or the opportunity for improvement
  • Collect information or data on the issue through research and process mapping
  • Organize and analyze the data and findings
  • Identify ways to improve and automate the process

In My View

There are many business processes still conducted manually or in less than optimal digital workflows. Critical thinking enables an organization to step back, and look at the process with a more holistic view, and in an unbiased way; the result being the provision of fact based options for the improvement and automation of business processes that target specific and measurable goals. This then provides a foundation for continuous improvement initiatives to refine and build upon the designed processes put in place.

The most difficult part of critical thinking is the removal of personal bias, and emotions that will influence the analysis and end result. If you feel this cannot be achieved internally, consult with external resources having no connection to your organization. If you feel that this is something you can achieve internally, begin using it today, and develop a culture that embraces change and fact based design.

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