What is the problem?

We have already discussed the definition of a problem statement in our previous post “How to define a problem statement?”

Since we received a lot of comments and questions regarding the difference between failure and problem, we decided to repeat the explanation and add a clear example. Here, we want to emphasize that failure can cause a number of problems. In addition, each problem may be different for different people.

Do not confuse failure with a problem. A problem can be solved while failure cannot be fixed.

A single failure can cause a number of problems.

Let take a power outage as an example for a failure.

Source of the pictures: https://www.123rf.com/visual/search/71427662
Power outage John cannot watch a football match Use his cellphone as a “hot spot” for PC if the batteries are charged
Watch recorded version when power returns
Power outage Dolly cannot charge her cellphone and she can’t use WhatsAppShe will participate in WhatsApp conversations later on
Power outage Joe and Kate cannot use Skype Use a cellphone for Skype connection
Use a cellphone as a “hot spot” for PC
Power outage Steve cannot read a book He will read the book later when the power returns, but he can use this time to think
Power outage Mathew cannot cook He can go to a restaurant or coffee shop or visit his friends
Power outage Judy and Bob are on their honeymoon. They have no problem.No solution is needed

A problem is always associated with a person.

Let’s take a look at another example. The power outage affects a production plant. All equipment is stopped, no production is possible. Can we say that the plant has a problem? No, we can’t. A production plant cannot have problems. A plant or any organizations are not capable of having problems. Only people that are responsible for the plant production capabilities may have problems.

The main attribute of failure is that a failure cannot be fixed because it is not related to a person, while a problem is. Therefore, the problem can be solved.

The problem is not what you see, hear, or feel; the problem is what you should do as a result of what you see, hear, or feel.

There are two steps required to be completed in order to create a reasonable problem statement:

  1. Definition of a failure – what you see, hear or feel
  2. Definition of a disadvantage – what is bothering you as a result

Using both definitions, you can successfully create a proper problem statement. The expected format of the problem statement might be:

“Because of a failure, I cannot do something that I want”
“Because of a failure, I must do something that I don’t want”

How to create “Problem Statement” using PRIZ Creative Thinking Platform.

Click on the ORANGE button “ONLINE PLATFORM” to get to the platform.

You will be navigated to the LOG IN / SIGN UP page.

Log In using your email and password if you already have an account. You can also Log In with your GOOGLE or LinkedIn accounts.

* Please Sign Up if you do not have an account.

The screenshot of the LOG IN / SIGN UP page is shown below:

After login, you will be navigated to the page of your project.

Click on the button “New Project” and set the Title of your project. After clicking “Create” you will be navigated to your Project Details page.

Please read the descriptions and fill in all three fields previously described in this blog.

First field – Describe the failure
Write only facts. No conclusions, recommendations or problem-solving ideas are needed at this step.

Second field – Describe why and how the failure bothers you.

Third field – Write your Problem Statement.
Describe what you need to do different from usual, planned or anticipated due to the occurrence of the failure.

After clicking on the “Next” button you will be navigated to the Creative Tools page.
Click “+New” and chose the tool you are going to use to solve your problem.

The platform allows as many tools as you deem needed during the project.

Use Creative Thinking Platform, solve complex problems and certify your solutions to protect the ownership of your idea.

Good luck.

Contact us if you need any assistance.

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

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