Clients regularly express frustration over a critical concern in the innovation process: How can we be sure we are solving the right problem? And, when facing the pressures of producing results in a time-compressed competitive environment, this concern can be particularly problematic.
It has been stated that Albert Einstein once said, "If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution." The logic behind this idea is consistent with GEN TRIZ's approach to innovation, in that on the critical path of any engagement is to define the key problems to be solved.
GEN TRIZ's methodology pays particular attention to accurate problem identification, typically following one of two analytical methods: either deriving root causes or redefining the problem.
At the outset of most projects, we deploy a number of analytical tools aimed at surfacing deeply rooted problems in the client's product or process that can be directly tied to the initial innovation challenge. Tools such as Function Analysis, Flow Analysis, and Cause-Effect Chains Analysis are all aimed at uncovering the key problems that must be solved.
Redefining the Problem
An alternative approach is to redefine the problem by constructing new problems to solve that did not previously exist. For example, by eliminating a problematic component (through a tool known as Trimming), a new problem will have been created – How to achieve the functions of the component, but without the component itself? By creating new problems to solve, the original problem can be eliminated and the door is opened to solutions that previously could not have been imagined.
Read about our other core innovation processes and guiding principles.