The BTM guide report: "Upstream"


About the book
title:: Upstream
author:: Dan Heath
length:: 320 pages (hardcover)
publisher:: Avid Reader Press
Copyright year:: 2020

Dan Heath's Upstream is essentially a book about social change. However, his questions and approach to solving problems at an “upstream” level are not dissimilar to correcting the release timing of a bowler on the foul line by correcting the start of the ball. This is an example of upstream thinking in bowling, but this book offers a deeper look into that type of approach. To continue the bowling analogy, it shares the process of asking the right questions before even stepping on the lanes in hopes of solving problems before they arise. More importantly, this framework can be applied to league organizers, professional coaches and local volunteers who want to improve the state of the game in their area.

The author presents the barriers to upstream thinking, e.g. B. the ignorance of the problem ("problem blindness") and the lack of personal responsibility for a problem. If it's nobody's job to fix a problem, it won't fix it. The example given comes from the world of online travel bookings. The customer service team was tasked with solving problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. The sales and marketing team was responsible for the functionality of the website and customer booking. It wasn't anyone's job to investigate and reduce the number of customer calls. When, after booking a trip, it was found that a significant portion was for itineraries, the company resolved the issue so that users could more easily access their itineraries or re-email them without having to clog phone lines.

Next, the author presents seven questions that must be asked (and answered) in order to solve problems in an up-front manner, using a range of examples from homelessness to problems of the school system to suicide. The first and most important is putting together the right group of people with enough experience in various fields to address a problem and taking responsibility for any changes that are required. From there, it might sound straightforward to find leverage points (where changes can occur) and actually have the right information to know whether or not you are successful. However, these things are often more complex than you think. The bigger the problem, the more …


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