In the previous stage, information was gathered on the current situation of the company in an area of interest to the entrepreneur, through a dynamic in which the team members wrote down their perceptions on small pieces of paper (“postifs”), taking into account the empathic framework of the “Design Thinking” methodology.

We can say that we did something similar to the process that a doctor does when we visit him/her for an illness: The doctor starts by asking us how we feel, observing and taking some measurements of our state of health, to gather all this information before giving a diagnosis and proceeding to prescribe the treatment of the disease.

In our methodology, each of the notations on the slips of paper represents a “symptom” of the situation. The challenge or problem is described through all the symptoms observed through our senses (what is “done”, what is “said” and perceptions of what is “thought” and what is “felt”).

It is important to notice that this makes the Linnet methodology different from other methodologies (such as the so-called “Fishbone” or “Ishikawa Diagram”), because while in the Linnet methodology the problem is described through all the symptomatology, the others usually try to synthesize the problem in a single sentence or statement.

Once we have made the equivalence between the description of the paper with the symptom or effect, it is also necessary to explain the “Tree of Causes-Effects” by means of the following analogy:

Just as we observe the fruits while the roots remain hidden, the fruits and leaves will be represented by each of the “postifs” with the descriptions of the observed symptoms.

The fruits and leaves are grouped in branches, we will group the similar symptoms in a description that synthesizes them and names their branch within the tree.

Normally the roots of the tree remain hidden from our view, in an analogous way, the roots will represent the causes that remain hidden until before performing the exercise.

The dynamics of Cause-Effect analysis is:

Symptoms are grouped into branches according to their similarity (similar effects).

Descriptions are added to each of the branches, synthesizing the meaning of the different symptoms (effects).

Proceed with a brainstorming dynamic to describe the possible causes of these symptoms.

The causes are noted in each of the roots of the tree, continuing until all the possible causes of the problem have been described.

It is important not to skip this crucial stage of the methodology and not to rush to prescribe solutions for the following reasons:

Effects can be confused with causes, which can lead to the design of palliative solutions that do not solve the underlying situation.

This can lead to inefficient solution designs, since an effective solution can often eliminate several problems at the same time.