A key without a lock is as useful as a lock without a key. In any case, these two objects serve to prevent entry of unauthorized persons. The key then becomes the symbol of the possibility to block or open access – whether the key belongs to somebody or not. Since only valuable things are locked away, the key is connected to get to a treasure. These can indeed be valuables, but also explanations, recipes or solutions.
The following features make the key the ideal metaphor for solutions.
- Clear purpose
The fact that a door or box is closed provides the indication that there is something valuable or interesting behind. The treasure that you get with the key is the real purpose. A solution also has a purpose. These can be economic objectives, improvements or a project.
- Custom-fit design
The simplest locks can be opened with the simplest keys. Since unauthorized persons gained access with the help of a picklock, the locks became increasingly complicated. For this reason, today different key types – pin tumbler lock, lever lock, tubular, or ceremonial keys. Solutions also work best when tailored to the target group and, above all, to the problem.
- Precise implementation
The understanding of the lock and its purpose is not enough to implement the mechanism. In order for the key to work, it must be precisely fine-grained. Only when all corners and edges correspond exactly to the lock, it opens. The same happens to a solution. For the desired effects the results have to be worked out neatly. You have to answer the right questions that fit the mindset and language of the target group, as well as the intended purpose.
- Everyday use
If the implementation and the material of the key are correct, the key will last long in the everyday application. The same applies to comprehensive solutions that have described well all aspects such as the intended application, the operation and the results.
- Defined procedure
Even the procedure is similar. To create a key, you first need a pattern, in the case of a solution it is the concrete situation that it is all about. Then one examines the whole and finds solutions, from which one chooses the most probable. Now the implementation is planned and installed. The key is now ready to work out the cuts and edges. In the solution the corresponding components – a business process, data model or responsibility matrix. What remain are then only the guidebook and the use of the new key.
Bottom line: The key opens doors and boxes, thus allowing access to certain results that lie behind the locks. The solution has the same function. Its purpose is to achieve certain results. This similarity makes the key to an ideal metaphor for a solution.