The 5 Why’s Technique

Keywords

citizen participation, community groups, dialogue, planning, co-operative, committee, 5ys, Five Whys.

For every effect there is a cause. But the results chain between the effect and it’s initiating cause can be fairly long and not immediately obvious. Often the cause of a negative event can be close to home and quite easily solved once the real origin is established.

Target Audience: Sustainability Committee Members, community groups.

The 5 Whys is a problem-solving technique that involves asking “Why?” five times to get to the root cause of a problem. It was developed by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, in the 1930s. Toyota is said to have a “go and see” philosophy. This means that¬† decision-making is based on an in-depth understanding of what’s actually happening on the factory floor, rather than on what someone in a boardroom thinks might be happening.

For every effect there is a cause. But the results chain between the effect and it’s initiating cause can be fairly long and not immediately obvious.

The Five Whys Process

  • Identify a problem.
  • Ask “Why?”
  • Answer the question.
  • Ask “Why?” again, based on the answer to the first question.
  • Continue asking “Why?” four more times.

The root cause of the problem will typically be revealed by the fifth “Why.”

Why Use the 5 Whys?

The 5 Whys is a simple and effective tool that can be used to identify the root cause of problems in a variety of settings, including those coping with sustainability challenges

The 5 Whys can be used to:

  • Identify the root cause of problems
  • Develop solutions to problems
  • Improve processes
  • Increase efficiency
  • Reduce waste

Who Would Best Benefit from Using the 5 Whys?

The 5 Whys is a versatile tool that can be used by teams of all sizes. It is particularly well-suited for problems that are complex or have multiple causes, exactly the sort of challenges we face in achieving greater sustainablity.

Identifying barriers to adopting more sustainable behaviours
Developing strategies and techniques to overcome these barriers
Measuring the impact of initiatives and orograms
Improvigr communication and outreach efforts

By using the 5 Whys, sustainability focused community groups can hope to make better decisions and achieve their goals more effectively.

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