Last Updated on 14 April 2011

When I was a kid, I had a book filled with facts and trivia about science, nature, humans, inventions and more. It was printed on rough newsprint paper and was as thick as a phonebook. One of the entries that I often recall asked (and answered) the question:

What is a Ghoti?

A small pointed beard on the chin worn by men? Nope. Ghoti is fish. No, not a type of fish. It is an alternate spelling of, and is pronounced the same way as, “fish.”

How can that be? And what does this have to do with solving problems anyway?

First, how is ghoti pronounced fish?

    GH makes the F sound, like it does in the words lauGH or enouGH.

    O makes the I sound, like in the word wOmen.

    TI makes the SH sound, like in the word naTIon.


Neat, huh?

So, what does this have to do with problem solving?

We tend to see problems the way we first approached ghoti. We classify it with familiar, broad rules and swiftly make our pronouncement.

However, when you take ghoti apart and examine the pieces, it says something different.

Bringing it all together…

Look beyond immediate conclusions. Break it down – the problem, your customers, a project – into smaller chunks and examine alternate solutions. It may sound completely different than you expected.

Give a person a ghoti and you feed them for a day.
Teach a person to ghoti and you feed them for a lifetime.

This post was originally published by Idea Sandbox on the MarketingProfs DailyFix blog.