Five why’s

demo text

Smart mobility, Smart environment, Smart living, Smart people
The “5 Why’s” method is an analysing technique that stimulate people to examine and try to find the underlying reason for their problem. It is a technique used when the problem is already known, but the real cause is yet to be found. By repeatedly asking the question “Why” the layers of symptoms which lead to the root cause are peeled down. It is a simple and effective tool that can be easily completed with further analysis.

Before meeting

When arranging a meeting to discuss a specific problem, invite people with personal knowledge of the circumstances of the problem, or people that are affected by that problem. Before the meeting, you will need to develop a clear and specific problem statement. It helps if you write it down.

Meeting execution

Once the meeting is happening, tell the people about the problem you are there to discuss (you can also do that beforehand). Ask participants (individually or not) why do they think the problem has occurred and write down the responses. After everyone answers, ask them to consider if it is likely that the problem would reoccur? If the answer is yes, this is a contributing factor, not a root cause. In that case, keep asking “Why?” to their response until there is agreement form everyone that the root cause has been identified, and if corrected, the problem would not recur. Remember that you’re not asking a horizontal question, you’re actually going for depth. Although this technique is called “5 Whys,” you may find that you will need to ask the question fewer or more times than five before you find the issue related to a problem. If, after asking “Why?” several times, and the answer does not seem correct, further analysis may be needed. The more complex the problem, the more likely it will take further analysis to reach the root cause.

After meeting

If needed, analyse the responses to get to the root cause of the problem. Once that is is known, start thinking about solutions for it.
Village, Municipality
One-time event, 30 minutes
Moderator and 5-10 participants.
Moderator skills required, moderator knowledge required.
Sector: Universal method