Multisolving means providing solutions to more than one problem using the same time, energy, and resources. There are many cross-cutting problems, and this implies that there are many cross-cutting solutions as well. For example, there are issues of climate change that interrelates with issues of food insecurity, designing for multisolving implies developing solutions to solve both challenges and more.

According to the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health, over 8 million people died of fossil fuel air pollution. If the world were to switch to clean energy, 8 million lives would be saved yearly. Some of the problem this solves holistically is early mortality and this in turn helps to save more for the health sector.

Reducing fossil fuel usage protects the climate, improves health, saves money etc. Just a solution touches on the environment, health, and the economy; this is what multisolving is all about. With this, an organization for instance can automatically determine the departments or governmental parastatals they should work with to bring the best out of an idea they are pursuing. Imagine if we multisolve for as many problems, how much impact we would make, how fast we would attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

When designing or co-creating for multisolving, all potential benefits of a solution must be outlined. Below is a basic example of multisolving designing:
Problem: Air Pollution
Solution: Plant trees
What does this solution multisolve?
– Keeps building cool – By reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from air conditioning
– Serves as wind breaks – By protecting infrastructures from damages in a stormy situation
– Improves the sense of health and wellness – By improving the beauty of the city

Multisolving is a powerful tool for communication in public advocacy campaigns, fundraising from donor organizations, impact reporting, cross-sectoral collaboration, monitoring and evaluation, amongst other benefits. Anyone can multisolve. Social impact organizations whenever designing programs with the community would reap greater benefits, higher motivation, and better understanding of their ideas if they work with a multisolving approach in mind. Multisolving gives a new perspective on issues and problem solving.

Author: Bolu’ Michael-Biyi