Deliberate Innovation
Got an idea? Don’t stop!
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One of the most common pitfalls of creative problem solving is the danger of the First Reasonable Solution. It’s understandable really – we’ve had an idea that sounds like it will solve the problem, so why carry on? There is a real temptation to get attached to that one solution, right up to the point that it fails!

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you have only one idea – Émile Auguste Chartier

Who says that the first reasonable sounding idea you’ve had is going to be the best that you could have? Perhaps you could come up with a solution which is even better, more efficient or better still turns what was a problem into an advantage!

The thing about having just one solution to choose from is that, if during the process of delivery it becomes difficult to implement or turns out not to be as good a fix as you first thought, there is nowhere to turn. Having gone part way toward implementation it can be really difficult to drag yourself back to the creative process. In fact there can be a tendency to try desperately to bash the solution that you have into a shape that works, despite its emerging unsuitability!

“When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.” -Maslow

If you can have a few ideas that might work before you progress (at least 3-5 ideally) and for the first few steps of the journey progress some or all of them, then the research and development that you do will tell you more about the ecosystem and context that the solutions have to exist in. This way you’ll have a better chance of not only picking a great solution from your selection, but also you’ll have options if that solution becomes unviable later.


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This work by Will Woodward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.