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Introduction to Problem Structuring: 'I Keep Six Honest Serving Men'

In this video, you hear Rudyard Kipling’s 'I Keep Six Honest Serving Men', which is a very simple tool to critically analyse and structure a problem.

In this video, you hear a reading of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, I Keep Six Honest Serving Men.

The poem is a very simple tool for starting to think about and structure a problem or to critically analyse a situation by considering the following questions:

What is the problem?

Why is it a problem?

When is it a problem?

How is it problematic?

Where is it a problem?

Who is it a problem for?

By applying this poem to a problem, you might get a greater insight into it, as opportunity can often be gained by asking as many questions around the topic as possible.

Kipling’s ‘person small’ in the poem, referring to a child, is a good reminder to keep being curious about our problems. We all know that children like to ask a lot of questions and have a lot of ideas as a result, so why don’t we keep doing the same in adulthood?

In the next step, you’ll have the chance to apply the questions in the poem I Keep Six Honest Serving Men to a problem of your own.

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