Question marks

Ask WHY five times

The PLAYBOOK

‘Five Whys’ is one of 30 techniques included in our PLAYBOOK, the free toolkit for creative thinkers.

WHAT IS THE FIVE WHYS TECHNIQUE?

Five Whys is an approach that helps you move up and down different levels of a problem and across chains of related aspects. At each level, you drill deeper down into the root causes and true essence of the underlying issue.

HOW TO USE IT?

The Five Whys technique moves you up and down layers of a problem, shifts your focus and alters your frame of reference to shine a light on hidden insights.

 

You can download the Five Whys worksheet below.

Five Whys worksheet
Five Whys worksheet

Five whys is a quick way of getting to the root of a problem.

 

It is deceptively simple

 

When you encounter 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.

 

The reasons should be detailed and specific. Each “why” may have multiple causes, adding streams to the chain of explanations.

 

As you go through the exercise, think of countermeasures or ways to prevent, minimise or reverse the effects of causes at different levels.

ENDS

DOWNLOAD WORKSHEETS

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.

PLAYBOOK pages

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