Define the Problem

How You Define the Problem Determines Whether You Solve It. These brief descriptions of these innovations all focus primarily on the novel solution. The problem they solve seems obvious.

Typical stories of creativity and invention focus on finding novel ways to solve problems. James Dyson found a way to adapt the industrial cyclone to eliminate the bag in a vacuum cleaner. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed cubism as a technique for including several views of a scene in the same painting. The desktop operating system developed at Xerox PARC replaced computer commands with a spatial user interface.


But framing innovations in this way makes creativity seem like a mystery. How could so many people have missed the solution to the problem for so long? And how in the world did the first person come up with that solution at all?

In fact, most people who come up with creative solutions to problems rely on a relatively straightforward method: finding a solution inside the collective memory of the people working on the problem. That is, someone working to solve the problem knows something that will help them find a solution — they just haven’t realized yet that they know it.

Sure, some people stumble on the answer. When Archimedes stepped into the bath and noticed the water level rise, he lucked into the solution for finding the volume of an ornately decorated crown. And others invest decades and millions (or even billions) of dollars into research and development (see drug companies). But tapping into the individual’s or group’s memory is one of the most cost-effective and repeatable problem-solving approaches.

Define the Problem key to this method is to get the right information out of memory to solve the problem.

Let us help you to not only define the problem but put into place an implementation plan.