Spring Phone Open Menu

Ask “Why?” to make excellent work

BY Erika Clegg | Make Excellent Work | 15/01/2020

Our focus at Spring is on the impact of our work. So how can we make sure that our creative ideas, design, and communications platforms deliver results?

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. Of course we have a framework, and within the structure there is a myriad of tools at our disposal to dig into different issues and understand varied audiences.

One favoured methodology originates in a 1950’s car production line in Japan, courtesy of Toyota, and it’s called ‘Five Whys’. Now ingrained into many a corporate strategist’s approach, it’s a clear articulation of what children already know: if you’ve really want to know the answer, you’ve got to keep asking “Why” until there are no more whys to be asked.

The approach is to keep pushing through a problem’s layers until you get to its root cause. You might get there in three, or it could take seven, but five has time-and-time again been proven to land on the right spot.

The joy of “Why?” is that it is absolutely simple. (Personally I’m a fan of the Who, What, Why approach to brand and project workshops, too: the ease of the questions makes it equally easy to get to the point and get back to the agenda, and always uncovers gems.) Five whys is literally just that: clean, clear, crisp.

At the early stages of any project, it’s contingent on us to challenge the brief. To do that, we can deploy ‘Five Whys’ to really unpick the objective, and ensure the project is pushing on as far as it can.

It’s clear this comes from a production line. It’s an insanely practical approach to what is usually a very human issue. And often in undertaking this exercise you’ll find conversation and thoughts veering off along different avenues. We embrace that, since often that’s where the nuggets are found – and then come cleanly back to the format.

Share this article