Root cause analysis

 

Read the following before starting the assignment.

Root cause analysis enables you to break down huge messes into bite-size nuggets that are important and which you can impact. To be a valid root cause, it must be specific enough to be addressable. Here are examples of good root causes and those that are not useful. These are for example only, and are based on the output from the exercises in the Inspire/Problem Formulation workshops.

1. World Hunger
a. Capitalism – this is not a good root cause because it is very general and does not deal with a specific, actionable cause.
b. Large amount of food waste in the US – this is a good root cause as it is specific and there are several other specific root causes that come out of here including restaurants providing too large portions, unsold produce going bad in supermarkets etc.

2. Racial Inequity
a. Historical Events – not a good root cause. It is general, occurred in the past and is not actionable.
b. Lack of minorities holding political offices – this is a strong root cause as it addresses a tangible issue which gives rise to other actionable root causes including lack of involvement of minorities in suburban local politics…

3. Gender Inequity
a. Religion – again, not a good root cause on which to focus. It is broad and ill-defined, with a multitude of religions having different perspectives. What specific about what religions and can you impact that?
b. Women prioritize family over work – this is a good root cause to focus on as it addresses life-work balance issues and there are several other root causes that come from this including corporate and governmental policies towards those on family leave, lack of retraining opportunities etc.

4. Economic Inequality
a. Wealthy people are greedy – not an ideal root cause as it is a generalized personality trait applied to a diverse group of people.
b. Lack of good educational and learning environments for young individuals in depressed areas – this provides specific areas for you to dig deeper and do additional root cause analysis that can result in very actionable steps.

Instructions:
• Review your photo of the 5 Whys Worksheet your Team completed during the Inspire/Problem Formulation workshop.

• Select the two most interesting root causes. Refer to the guidance on the previous page to ensure you are selecting root causes that are important and specific enough to be actionable.

• For each of the two root causes, complete the following questions:

First Root Cause Selected:

1. Which specific cause that you identified do you believe is the most important and addressable cause of your issue?

2. Why is it important?

3. Why might it be feasible to solve?

Second Root Cause Selected:

1. Which specific cause that you identified do you believe is the most important and addressable cause of your issue?

2. Why is it important?

3. Why might it be feasible to solve?