The Iceberg Principle: Why seeing only the surface can be dangerous

Have you ever heard the phrase “tip of the iceberg?”

It refers to a phenomenon in which we only see the surface of a problem, without realizing the vastness of what lies beneath. In other words, we only see the symptoms or impacts of a larger, more complex problem. This is the top of the iceberg, which is visible above the waterline. The bottom of the iceberg, on the other hand, refers to the larger, hidden problems that are not immediately visible.

The Top of the Iceberg: The problems with only Seeing Symptoms

The top of the iceberg represents the symptoms or impacts of a problem. These are the things that we can see and measure, such as missed sales orders or production problems. However, these symptoms can hide the true problem, which lies beneath the surface. For example, a missed sales order could be due to a problem with the production process, which in turn could be caused by a lack of training or resources.

The impacts of these problems can be significant, affecting your wallet, time, and resources. In the short term, they can cause delays, errors, and frustration. In the long term, they can lead to bigger problems, such as decreased customer satisfaction or reduced profits. If left unchecked, these problems can snowball into multiple issues, making them even more difficult to solve.

The Bottom of the Iceberg: Uncovering the Hidden Problems

The bottom of the iceberg refers to the larger, hidden problems that are not immediately visible. These problems can be complex and difficult to identify, as they may be buried beneath multiple layers of symptoms. To uncover these problems, user mapping can be a great tool, helping to identify roadblocks and sources of frustration.

The biggest problem with big problems is their complexity. They can look very similar to a symptom, making it difficult to identify the root cause. This is where deep knowledge about the problem area is crucial, as it allows you to dig deeper and find a solution.

The Impact of Hidden Problems

The impact of hidden problems can be significant. Poor inventory processes, miscalculating the dosage of infused recipes, and lack of access to data to make informed decisions are just a few examples. Investment in solutions can be expensive, and if the wrong problem area gets investment, it can become a costly exercise. For example, investing in expensive machines to save on resources and time may not solve the real problem, which could be an easy framework or system fix that requires the time of someone who can restructure the process in place.

In conclusion, the Iceberg Principle reminds us that only seeing the surface of a problem can be dangerous and costly. By digging deeper and uncovering the hidden problems, we can identify the root cause and find solutions that address the underlying issues. This can save time, resources, and money, while also improving customer satisfaction and profitability.

Are you seeing only the top of the iceberg, or are you looking beneath the surface?

Learn more about Blakthumb's approach to operational management, read more 👉🏾 Death by 1,000 spreadsheets! (

Or if you're residing in Illinois and are interested in learning more about how to apply for a license 👉🏾 Illinois state track & trace system (

#cannabis #cannabismanagement #blakthumb #womenintech #cannabisindustry


Discover how it works!

Curious about Blakthumb?
Join our weekly newsletter to see what we're all about and stay informed on the latest developments.

Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong
Get in touch