TRIZ Forum: Letters from Readers (Discussion on CrePS)

Research focus is on problem finding and solution execution rather than problem solving /
Thinking methods for problem solving are the basis we should establish now

Darrell Mann (Systematic Innovation, UK), Oct. 29, 2013
Toru Nakagawa (OGU, Japan), Nov. 5, 2013

Posted: Nov. 17, 2013; Updated: Dec. 23, 2013
buttons guide you to the pages written in Japanese.

Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Dec. 23, 2013)

This page contains an email from Darrell Mann and my reply mail to him.  These mails were posted initially in the "Letters from Readers (Nov.-Dec., 2013)" on Nov. 17 together with several other communications, but are reposted here in a separate page with titles explicit in the contexts.  Darrell Mann raised an important issue on our research focus in relation to my proposal of 'General Methodology of Creative Problem-Solving/Task-Achieving' (CrePS), so I wrote a reply which clarifies my intention.  I am very glad to have frank and important discussions with Darrell and many others.


 Email from Darrell Mann (Systemitic Innovation, UK)  Oct. 29, 2013

"Research focus is on problem finding and solution execution rather than problem solving"

Hi Toru, Belated thanks for your email - it has been a busy year!
Sadly, my busy schedule means that I have not been able to make it to Paris for the conference. It would have been very nice to catch up with you and discuss your latest initiative.

From my side, and all of our ongoing research, I think the two biggest issues holding back the innovation world are:
     1) lack of ability of organisations and individuals to identify the 'right' problem
     2) lack of organisational capability to execute the ideas that they generate (the basis of my Innovation Capability Maturity Model books)

TRIZ and the 'ideation'/problem-solving part of the process seem to us to be the easiest part of the equation.

I would be interested to hear your opinion these research findings. Do you think Japan is the same, or is problem-solving the main area requiring research and new tools, methods and approaches?

Best regards     darrell


  Reply mail by Toru Nakagawa (OGU, Japan)   Nov. 5, 2013

"Thinking methods for problem solving are the basis we should establish now"

Dear Darrell, Thank you for your message. Today I am back at home from Paris. I and many people missed you at TFC2013.

Thank you for your comments on my approach. It touches on an important point of discussion.

(1) According to the understanding of the 'Six-box Scheme',

Identifying the 'right' problem concerns essentially with the stage from Box-1 (User's specific problem) to Box-2 (Well defined user's specific problem) to be carried out in the 'Real World' (with the criteria in the Real World).
[In the Thinking World, the problem to be considered is checked and confirmed for a meaningful start of the problem solving process.]

Executing the generated ideas concerns with the stage from Box-5 (Conceptual solutions) to Box-6 (Executed solutions), to be carried out in the 'Real World' (by all the efforts of the industry).

Thus you are talking about the difficulties in the Real World.
-- I agree with you there are a lot of difficulties in these aspects.

(2) "The 'ideation'/problem solving part" you say may mostly correspond in my scheme to the stages from Box-2 to Box-3 to Box-4 to Box-5 to be carried out in the 'Thinking World'.

I understand when you say this part is 'the easiest part' for you.
But as you see there are a large variety of methods, discussions, publications, consulting firms, etc. which are often fragmental, partial, and fighting one another.
There is no consensus among the researchers/practitioners of these methods on the general structure which can integrate the relevant methods.

(3) Four-Box Scheme may be the main paradigm of problem solving so far. But it has serious pit falls.

- The analysis process for getting a general problem is partial and just finding some preset pattern in the knowledge bases.
- The general solution derived by the knowledge base is just a suggestion/hint. For obtaining an idea suitable for the problem, one needs some further thinking process.
- The Four-Box scheme does not clarify the differences between the Real World and the Thinking World. Thus it may assume that the problem finding and the solution execution processes are also included in the Four boxes. Such an assumption may confuse the discussion and make the problem solving methodology open-ended and hence vague and complex all the way.

(4) 'Six-Box Scheme' can be the new paradigm for the general theory of creative probelm solving. -- This is the main proposition of my new initiative.

The new scheme is quite natural and well accord with the general way of thinking in science. Clarify the problem and analyze it from several standard aspects, both in the present system and in the ideal system. Then various ideas will come out, sometimes by the help of some guidelines, for improving the system, and hence they should be constructed into conceptual solutions.

(5) Clarifying "the 'ideation'/problem solving part" and integrating so many different methods in a systematic manner will need so much efforts, leadership, and research.

This initiative needs many people who understand relevant methods and share the vision of integrating them.

(6) Nowadays 'Innovation' is the most fashionable keyword among industry leaders, politicians, etc. But basic methodologies for innovation are not clear.

There need to be three basic methodologies:
    One for 'problem finding' (Box-1 to Box-2),
    One for 'problem solving' (Box-2 to Box-5), and
    One for 'solution execution' (Box-5 t Box-6).

When the 'problem solving' methodology is established well, the other two methodolgies will have good bases for further development.

(7) The following is my slide of 'Concluding Remarks' of my presentation at the TFC2013 . (Posted in my Web site on Oct. 25)

Thanking you for your comment, I wish your undestanding and cooperation.

Best wishes, Toru Nakagawa


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