The Five Whys is a simple but great technique to use to solve problems. It is a question-asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the 5 Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem.

 

 

 

Problem Solving at Toyota

Taiichi Ohno, former Toyota vice president, once gave the following example of finding the real cause of a machine stoppage.

Q1: Why did the machine stop?

A1: Because the fuse blew due to an overload.

Q2: Why there was an overload?

A2: Because the bearing lubrication was inadequate.

Q3: Why was the lubrication inadequate?

A3: Because the lubrication pump was not functioning right.

Q4: Why wasn't the lubrication pump working right?

A4: Because the pump axle was worn out.

Q5: Why was it worn out?

A5: Because sludge got in.

 

 

Understanding True Motives in Politics

In 2020, thinking people all over the World were puzzled by senseless accusations by EU politicians of Russian authorities for poisoning an opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent called 'Novichok'.

The 5-Why method helps us reveal the roots and true motives of such senseless accusations.

1st Why

− If 'Novichok' is a highly dangerous chemical weapon, why no one else around Navalny got poisoned by it in the Russian airplane where Navalny felt sick?

− Because Navalny was not poisoned by 'Novichok', at least while in Russia.

2nd Why

− If it is clear that Navalny was not poisoned with 'Novichok', at least before being transferred from Russia to Germany, why did German Chancellor agreed to blame Russian authorities for poisoning Navalny with this nerve agent?

− Because the outgoing German Chancellor wanted to do a favor to the next German Chancellor.

3rd Why

− Why did the next German Chancellor want this senseless accusation to happen?

− Because he needed a pretext to impose sanctions and discontinue the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2, a planned natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

4th Why

− Why did he want to discontinue the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2?

− Because US Administration vehemently opposed it.

5th Why

− Why did US Administration oppose the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2?

− Because they wanted to export less competitive  US shale gas to Europe instead.