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What is the Hard Systems Approach to problem solving?


Frequently Asked Questions

The Hard Systems Approach (HSA) can be used to address both qualitative and quantitative problems. It involves a step-by-step procedure, which can be iterative, and the process should be revised if new information comes to light ora later stage in the process changes the situational perspective.

Stages in the HSA:

  1. Identify the problem or opportunity
  2. Describe the situation/system as it currently is (diagrams and open discussion can be helpful)
  3. Describe the situation/system as it would be ideally (objectives) and the constraints preventing the system operating in this way at present
  4. Identify metrics by which you will know if you have achieved your goal and generate ideas of possible routes to attain the ideal situation
  5. Evaluate how these routes identified will behave in practice - this may involve pilot studies, feasibility trials or tests
  6. Decide which of these routes should be pursued
  7. Follow this route and monitor and evaluate the outcomes.

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