Shrink the Problem

Nonprofits are founded to tackle tough issues and to solve challenging problems. But sometimes a problem is too large to be tackled head on, and a nonprofit can freeze up, uncertain of how it can be most effective.

A friend recently shared with me the concept of “shrinking the problem.” The idea is to get planners and implementers to reduce a problem to one they can solve. This can be done by addressing just a segment within a larger challenge. It can also be done by trying to advance incrementally, and not take on the whole challenge all at once.

Shrinking problems to addressable targets is important for many social, climate, education, and global management issues. It can also be necessary for a small nonprofit trying to navigate local challenges.

Shrinking problems makes achievable solutions visible.

Q: Is a tough problem making your organization freeze up?

Q: How can you shrink the problem?