Fight COVID-19 with Creative Thinking

The systems we live with are not ideal; and, our lives are certainly not ideal. We all got problems that we have to solve every day. Even a decision to not solve the problem and leave it as-is is a type of problem-solving.
We already published in one of our blogs, Where do problems come from? What generates a problem, and described where problems originate from.

Types of problems

There are generally two types of problems.

Predictable problems

For instance: low production yield, high level of defects.
Predictable problems are typically solved slowly, scientifically by creating and completing projects bringing only positive emotions. When we solve predictable problems, we always move forward.

Unpredictable problems

For instance: sudden yield drops, sudden & unexpected defects increase.
Unpredictable problems, also called excursions, bring only negative emotions. People typically don’t know what to do and where to start. Actually, in most cases, they what to get back to basic. Return the situation to the condition that was before the excursion.
When we are trying to solve unpredictable problems, we are moving backward.

However, it is wrong to just move back to basic. Even in the case of an excursion, we should learn the failure and the problem and move forward. Otherwise, excursions will manage our lives.

COVID-19 is an example of a classical excursion. The only thing that people want is to get back to the previous situation, to the way it was before the pandemic hit. And, as we said before, this is wrong.

Analyzing COVID-19 pandemic

To analyze the situation of the current pandemic, we want to seek help in the PRIZ Innovation Platform and the tools it provides. Specifically “40 Inventive Principles”.

Here, we want to take you through the process step by step.

Problems Statement

Prior to using any of the tools, especially 40 Inventive Principles, we have to define the problem statement (more about it in How to define a problem statement?). As the platform suggests, we should define it in a number of steps.

Step one: Current Situation

People started to get infected, and the government declared a state of the emergency as a result of the pandemic.

Step two: Disadvantages of the situation

In a way, people became dangerous to each other.

Step three: Problem statement
How are the above disadvantages making us behave differently?

The problem statement as we defined it is:
The population is forced to keep a distance from each other and that affects their day-to-day life. They have to get used to a new world under pandemic.

Great, we have a problem to solve. Now, we can use 40 Inventive Principles and try to find a possible solution.

40 Inventive Principles

In the past, we have described in details the concepts and how to use the tool within the PRIZ platform: PROBLEM SOLVING USING 40 INVENTIVE PRINCIPLES.
Let’s walk through the process step by step.

As the first step in 40 principles, we need to describe the best-known solution (BKS)

People should be completely isolated to avoid any infection from each other.

In the second step, we are creating an engineering contradiction

IF we keep people completely isolated
THEN there will be no infections
BUT a lot of businesses will be affected

The third step is to choose ан improving and worsening general parameters

For the improving parameter, we chose:
#30. External harm affects the object

For the worsening parameter, we chose:
#39. Productivity

The fourth step: analyzing relevant principles

In this case, the system recommended four inventive principles:

#22. Blessing in disguise  
#35. Parameter changes
#13. The Other way around
#24. Intermediary

Note: The order of principles is important, and we should consider them in the provided order. However, it does not mean that the first one is the most relevant.

Most relevant principle

Reading the explanations and examples of the recommended principles, we decided that  #13. The Other way around is the strongest.

The main tip of the principle is, “Turn the object or process upside down.”

Our idea is to delegate the responsibility for the infection from government organizations, through punishments and fines, to the person himself.

Why?

While the government provides recommendations and requirements, it assumes full responsibility for the infection and medical treatment of the population. Maybe it is an excellent time to turn over the responsibility onto the citizen. The government should continue to provide all the necessary information about how to avoid an infection, but this is not always working. People do not follow the regulation and try to overcome the requirements. Why does it happen? It has a very easy explanation. They disagree with the government; people are sure it will never happen to them personally.

The meaning of our proposed solution

Delegate the responsibility to the resident, at least partially. For instance, to set a minimum deductible for medical expenses. In this case, a person will fill liable and will make everything possible to avoid infections. The formula is trivial: if you got infected – pay for medical treatment. We are sure people will start to wear masks, keep distance, avoid large gatherings.

Of course, it might be far from the ideal solution for some. Others will absolutely hate this idea, for their own reasons.
The point is, anyone is capable of generating ideas for even very complex problems. And we really encourage you to. Take a shot with the PRIZ Innovation Platform, and we will more than welcome any ideas that come out of it.

Think about the rest of the recommended principles, analyze the situation, and generate solutions.

Good luck.

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

2 Comments

  • erotik
    November 12, 2020

    If you want to use the photo it would also be good to check with the artist beforehand in case it is subject to copyright. Best wishes. Aaren Reggis Sela

    Reply
    • Anatoly
      November 12, 2020

      I have checked it. This picture is free to use. Please let me know if you have different information

      Reply

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