Many development projects begin with extensive analysis of the problems and their root causes. We find that an approach which focuses mainly on solutions is both more impactful and more energizing and positive for those involved.

We replace or compliment the usual problem-focused questions on the left with the solution-focused questions on the right.


When looking for examples of high performance, it is important to be aware of context. Pockets of moderately high performance in challenging areas, for instance, will often yield more insights than very high performance in less challenging areas.

For example, we studied immunisation coverage in Nigeria. A view of DPT3 coverage yielded a bleak picture, with low coverage and a strong North-South divide which reflects deep differences in culture and development. It suggested that raising coverage would be difficult due to inherent regional differences.

However, a view on how many children had received any immunisation suggested that the system was capable of delivering. More interestingly, it revealed pockets of very high performance in some of the Northern states, which in turn yielded insights about how to improve coverage overall.