Negation and the Duncker Diagram

March 26, 2020

Sometimes it is easier NOT to solve the problem - and it is always useful to ask this question as it will force your team to eliminate from "overprocessing" and eliminate "gold plating" the solution, which drastically increases the probability of failure (or reduces the likelihood of success, whichever you prefer).

This is of course, the mighty Duncker Diagram, which I first learned about in Strategies for Creative Problem Solving (Fogler, LeBlanc, Rizzo) - I highly recommend this book.

Strategies for Creative Problem Solving

In short, it entails asking the question - "Why do we need solve this at all?" In other words, try to negate the idea we need to solve the problem at all. Here is the concept in 60 seconds from MIT Professor  and Robotics Pioneer Rodney Brooks (from the movie Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control):

At Deflategate Movie with Professor H. Scott Fogler (June 15, 2018) at the beautiful Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, MI)