What is the problem?

As a matter of fact, 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.

Again and again, 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 of a failure.

So, the picture below shows how the single failure results in different problems:

FAILURE CAUSES PROBLEMS
Source of the pictures: https://www.123rf.com/visual/search/71427662
FAILURE PROBLEM POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
Power outage John cannot watch a football match Use his cellphone as a “hot spot” for PC if the batteries are charged
or
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
or
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

It is important to point, that a problem refers to a person.

So, let’s take a look at another example: Plant or People

Everyone knows, the power outage affects a production plant. All equipment stopped, no possible production. 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.

Hence, 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, it can be solved.

Indeed, 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.

Especially, there are two steps to complete 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

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

So, how to create “Problem Statement” using PRIZ Creative Thinking Platform.

First, click on the ORANGE button “ONLINE PLATFORM” to get to the platform.

Hence, you navigate to the LOG IN / SIGN UP page.

Clearly, 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 or create new account:

After login, you will be navigated to the page of your project. Open your project. You can either take a project from the list of challenges (click “SOLVE A CHALLENGE”) or create a new project (click “+ADD NEW PROJECT”):

In the case of choosing a new project, you will be navigated to a project title page. Insert your Project title into the relevant field and click “CREATE”:

You will be navigated to your project’s tasks wizard. Three tasks will be marked by default. One of them is “Define problem statement” since this is the a creative thinking step mandatory for the problem solving process.

Mark additional options if necessary and click “STAR THE PROJECT”

You will be navigated to the Task Manager page. Complete “Set Tasks Due date” and click “Problem statement”:

You will be navigated to the Problem Statement page. The page purpose is to create problem statement, to define which problem you are going to solve:

Read the explanations and fill in three fields

First field – Describe in details the current situation.
Describe the failure. Definitely, write only facts. No conclusions, recommendations or problem-solving ideas are needed at this step.

Second field – Disadvantages of the current situation. Describe why this situation needs to be changed, fixed, improved.

Third field – Write your Problem Statement.
Then, describe what you need to do different from usual, planned or anticipated due to the occurrence of the failure. Read again and again your descriptions in the fields 1 and 2 and create the problem statement:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-5.png

Furthermore, after the Problem statement creation choose “Creative Tools” on the left menu choose relevant tools and start to sole your problem:

No doubt, the platform allows as many tools as you deem needed during the project.

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

Click an ORANGE button ONLINE PLATFORM and start working

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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