Ask WHY five times
‘Five Whys’ is one of 30 techniques included in our PLAYBOOK, the free toolkit for creative thinkers.
WHAT IS THE 5-WHYS TECHNIQUE?
Five Whys is an approach that helps you quickly drill down into the root causes of a problem and uncover any hidden underlying issues. The technique was developed by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda, in the 1930s.
HOW TO USE IT?
The Five Whys technique moves you intuitively down through layers of any problem, shifts your focus and alters your frame of reference to shine a light on hidden insights.
You can download the 5-Whys worksheet below.
5-Whys is a quick way of getting to the root of a problem.
It is deceptively simple
5-Whys is a deceptively simple technique: when you are hit with a problem, just drill down to its underlying causes by asking “why?” five times:
WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?
Importantly, each “why” should be answered with factual reasons, not deductions or assumptions. If you don’t know the answer, to do some digging. The reasons should be as detailed and specific as possible.
Each “why” may have multiple causes, adding streams to the chain of explanations. You should dig down into all of these thoroughly.
As you go through the exercise, think of possible countermeasures or ways to prevent, minimise, or reverse the effects of problems at different levels. These countermeasures could form an important part of your solution.
The worksheet is included in our free PLAYBOOK, a collection of 30 of our favourite tools and techniques. Download them all now in the PLAYBOOK.