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CAT001: Root Cause Analysis

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The Creative Activist Toolkit is a series of PDF booklets designed to help today’s youth impact the world through creativity and social entrepreneurship. Produced by the Global Youth Fund and the …

The Creative Activist Toolkit is a series of PDF booklets designed to help today’s youth impact the world through creativity and social entrepreneurship. Produced by the Global Youth Fund and the Creative Visions Foundation, the toolkit chapters are offered free to download. Email us if you would like to contribute a chapter. This chapter helps changemakers identify and address root causes of problems.

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  • 1. root cause analysis Address the cause , not just the symptom.➠ globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 2. ENERGY, SINCERITY, CLARITY OF VISION, CREATIVITY... Dan Eldon (1970-1993) Creative Activist
  • 3. in partnership with globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 4. Tip: For all the links to work, you must view this full screen or download the file. Click “Get File” button to download PDF. On Slideshare.net On other sites Click on “full” button to view full screen. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 5. root cause analysis introduction You live on a street where many kids ride their bicycles every day after school. One day, a girl riding her bike gets hit by a car. You run out of your house to make sure she’s ok. She’s conscious but may have fractured her arm. You call for an ambulance. It comes and takes her away. She’ll be fine... globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 6. root cause analysis The next week, the same thing happens. Another kid gets hit by a car at the same location. You call for help again. The week after that, the same thing happens yet again! Now you’re thinking, something weird is going on. Why are all these accidents happening all of a sudden? globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 7. root cause analysis You walk down the block to the You trim the tree a bit. No more intersection and you see the problem - accidents. You’ve identified the an overgrown tree has covered up the root cause. stop sign so cars are not slowing down at the intersection. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 8. root cause analysis Root Cause Analysis is about trying to identify the primary cause of a problem so that we can prevent the problem from happening in the first place. It’s about asking questions like... Can we prevent homelessness rather than just feed the people who end up on the streets? Can we prevent people from littering our beaches rather than clean up after them after the fact? Can we prevent the elderly from catching the flu rather than treat them after they have the disease. A simple way to identify the root cause of a problem is The 5 Whys. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 9. root cause analysis ????? The 5 Whys This is a simple yet powerful exercise that involves seven steps. 1. State the problem you’re trying to address. 2. Identify an indicator - something that tells you there IS a problem. 3. Ask why this is the case - why does the indicator show x. 4. For the reason you just gave, ask why that is the case. 5. Again, for the reason you just gave, ask why that is the case. 6. Again, for the reason you just gave, ask why that is the case. 7. One last time, for the reason you just gave, ask why that is the case. By the time you get to the 4th or 5th why, you might see something that resembles a root cause. Here’s an example... globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 10. root cause analysis 1. State the problem Climate Change globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 11. root cause analysis 2. Identify an indicator - something that tells you there IS a problem. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 12. root cause analysis 3. Ask why this is the case - why are carbon dioxide levels rising? Coal-powered plants are pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 13. root cause analysis 4. Why are more coal-powered plants generating more CO₂? As the world’s energy needs increase, we are relying on coal to meet the gap. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 14. root cause analysis 5. Why are we relying on coal to meet our energy needs? Coal is still the “cheapest” source of energy. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 15. root cause analysis 6. Why is coal still the “cheapest”? Clean sources of energy have not been properly developed. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 16. root cause analysis 7. Why are clean sources of energy not sufficiently developed? There isn’t enough investment or market demand for clean energy. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 17. root cause analysis In summary... Problem Climate Change Indicator Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising Coal-powered plants are pumping more CO₂ into the Why atmosphere Why We are relying on coal to meet our increased energy needs Why Coal is still the “cheapest’ source of energy Why Clean sources of energy have not been properly developed There isn’t enough investment or market demand for clean Why energy Root Cause? globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 18. root cause analysis So one root cause for climate change could be... There isn’t enough investment or market demand for clean energy. Now you’re ready to ask... How should I intervene? How can I help increase investment or demand for clean energy? There are countless ways you can act - you can sell “carbon offsets” to car owners or create a program that teaches youth how to use solar and wind technology. As long as your solution answers the question above, you can be sure you are addressing a “root cause” of the problem. Now it’s your turn... globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 19. root cause analysis Before you begin, here are some tips... 1. There can be many root causes. Try to identify one at a time. 2. Root causes don’t have to be universal. They can and often are very specific to a community. The cause for homelessness can be x in one town and y in another. 3. It’s tempting to offer multiple explanations for something. You might want to say something is happening because of x and y. But for this exercise, choose one explanation - the one you think is most important. 4. Ask a friend, a teacher or mentor to do this exercise with you. The best way they can help you is to repeat your answers back to you. “So you think this is happening because of this?” Good luck! globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 20. root cause analysis Problem Indicator Why Why Why Why Why Root Cause? globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 21. root cause analysis Good luck! Share your pitch with us! Click image to visit our community. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 22. root cause analysis Check out other chapters... globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 23. root cause analysis if you use this toolkit... tell us! post your root cause analysis as a comment or a new discussion on globalyouth.ning.com. ask for feedback. let us know if this chapter helped you or how it can be improved. download and forward... share this with someone you know. you can download this chapter from slideshare.net subscribe... enter your email address at globalyouth.ning.com to get alerts when more toolkits are posted. globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 24. about the author Charles Tsai is the founder and Executive Director of Global Youth Fund and also works for Ashoka’s Youth Venture as Director of Virtual Program. Previously, he worked at CNN as a reporter and producer. www.charlestsai.com creative activist toolkit thanks The Creative Activist Toolkit is a series of PDF The Creative Visions Foundation booklets designed to help today’s youth The Vancouver Foundation impact the world through creativity and social The Steve Nash Foundation entrepreneurship. Produced by the Global Youth Fund and the Creative Visions Jon and Amy Eldon Turteltaub, Joanne Marien Foundation, the toolkit chapters are offered Elaine Munro, Debbie Riopel, Jaspal Lisa Rai free to download. Email us if you would like Bruce Johnson, Brooke Kuhn, Serge Martin to contribute a chapter. Copyright ©2009 Global Youth Fund credits Feel free to pass this booklet on but you may Amy Eldon Turteltaub Executive Producer not alter the content or charge for it. You may Charles Tsai Managing Director quote brief sections if you credit Global Youth Fund and provide a link to Echoing Green, Photos from globalyouth.ning.com globalwarmingart.com and iStockphoto.com globalyouthfund Creative Activist Toolkit 001
  • 25. Global Youth Fund 550 Pacific Street, Suite 502 Vancouver, BC V6Z 3G2 CANADA Tel: +1 (604) 628-1807 www.globalyouthfund.org