Be Inventive to Survive

We all are problem solvers because we have to be; it’s a survival necessity. Our lives consist of a series of problems that we have to solve in order to move forward, to thrive. Even setting a problem with no distinguishable solution aside is form of coping with a given problem. Therefore, we all solve problems using different methods.

Generally speaking, we can solve certain problems with monetary and inventive solutions. Monetary Problem Solving (MPS) is a common and effective method because it is easy to perform; it merely requires payment. If you have a problem, you may simply be able to pay for the solution: just pay. This method works on various levels. When the car’s ashtray becomes full, don’t stress; simply purchase a new car as some ultra-wealthy people have done. It may seem like overshooting the problem and is expensive, but so what? What about you? Do you usually order technician service when your dishwasher is leaking? Even if you know the leak can be fixed easily by replacing a rubber hose, for instance, at the cost of a few cents, do you still make that call? Even in this case, you call a technician, ask them to come over and fix it and you are ready to pay hundreds of dollars for the repair or even to replace your old dishwasher with a new model. You actually do not pay for the problem related to your dishwasher; no, you pay for the ‘luxury’ of not having to fix the dishwasher’s problem with your own two hands. You would rather pay for convenience than to create or invent a solution yourself. In this way, you’re actually behaving similarly to very rich people who replace their car when the ashtray becomes full.

Inventive Problem Solving (IPS) is another way to solve a problem. The IPS way is opposite to MPS and is especially useful for those situations involving a lack of money. In this case, if you don’t have the money for the monetary fixing of your leaking dishwasher (or you don’t want to part with your hard-earned money for such a purpose), you will have to start to learn, think and act to solve your problem. Maybe you can patch the leaking hose. Maybe you can watch a YouTube video to learn how to replace your leaking hose yourself for less than $2.00. Hence, you can choose to be inventive.

If you are not rich enough to afford indulgences or you are very careful about spending your money, you have to think and be inventive to solve a problem. If you are rich, you do not need to be inventive because you have money to pay for the problem solving etc. This is like vicious circle.

Money and invention are like two poles of a magnet or as two components of a contradiction: Invention creates Money whereas Money stops Invention.

Startups typically develop fast if they are based on inventions, if they solve their problems by IPS way. If companies are limited in money in the beginning of their tenure, they have to apply IPS. IPS is the main source for startup developing, growing, achieving success and changing the world.

With time, promising startups can became very rich companies that will result in complete switching from IPS to MPS. Rich companies cannot be inventive because they do not need to be. Often, wealthy companies become too rich to be inventive. The paradox is that a company starts with IPS and develops in to direction to use MPS and not to be inventive. High MPS shares in the problem solving strategy and indicates that the company is “old”. Such a company might be incredibly rich, but it’s unlikely it will change the world.

Ph.D. in Chemistry. Expert in processes design, improvement and problem-solving. TRIZ (Inventive problem solving) specialist (Level 3).

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