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ICUKU is an acronym that stands for Impact, Controllable, Known, Uncontrollable, Unknown. It is a 9 blocks matrix tool that helps in prioritization of problems / projects / causes.


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Sundeep Kailwoo on 2nd Apr 2021.


Applause for all the respondents - Suresh Sekar, Sundeep Kailwoo


Q 352. An organization cannot solve for all problems at the same time. Hence they need to prioritize. ICUKU is one of the tools that can help organizations prioritize projects. Explain ICUKU and its usage with an example.



Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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ICUKU (Impact, Control, Known, Unknown, Uncontrollable) is a 9-square Matrix tool that can be deployed for Categorizing the possible solutions on an Impact Vs Implementation grid. On the "X" axis we Impact categories (Low, medium, High) and on the Y-axis we have Controllable ( further subcategorized as Known and Unknown ) and Uncontrollable factors.


This Matrix will help us to first categorize and then prioritize the factors/solutions ( Vital "Xs" , independent variables ).


The Solutions that have been identified by the teams through various various RCA techniques can then be placed in either of the 9 cells basis the impact that the action may yield on the proposed change and the ease of implementation basis the factors that the team can also attribute the controllable , uncontrollable scope of those known and unknown solutions.




Its becomes very critical that while constructing the ICUKU matrix , the team is realistic and exercises pragmatic approach when placing the solutions in the matrix cells, the success or the failure of achieving the desired results will depend upon the solutions we have identified and then categorized then as accurately as possible.


Resources are limited and cost optimization along with maximum yield in shortest duration of time is what all want to achieve and this exercise will help to deliver to those expectations to an extent if done correctly.


So the Solutions that exist in the HK , MK , HUK, MUK will be our scope of priority in deploying the Actions , to maximize the output.


The Example below for an AHT Improvement project showcases the actions that can be deployed ,where ICUKU will be able to help us in planning our actions for best possible results.




So the Actions in the cells identified as per the first Matrix , should help us identify the actions that are in our control to implement and will yield immediate results compared to rest of the actions identified.


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ICUKU [Impact, Controllable, Known, Unknown, Uncontrollable]. We cannot solve all the issues, so it is important to prioritize our issues before launching into solving problems.




ICUKU has basically a nine block matrix, and its broken into 3 major categories which is Impact, controllable and uncontrollable. Impact has three separate components High, Medium and Low. We need to categorize the impact based on the priority. Controllable has two components Known and unknown. If it’s not known to be a controllable then it should be marked under unknown category, if its known one then we can mark it in the known category. Which variable we go first after for the vital few x’s?


First we go with High, Medium and Known, then we go with unknown. We do not start with Un-controllable because it should not be a right scope. The objective of ICUKU is to go after the things that we can know how to control the High or Medium impact.


Key objective of ICUKU:

·          It helps to identify the vital few x’s

·          Focus on what is important

·          It helps avoid chasing/solving x’s that are not going to improve (reduce) your defect rate

·          It helps to identify the controllable and uncontrollable variables


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