Friday, May 02, 2008

Research Technology Management in its Jan-Feb 2008 issue published "Innovation and the Internet" paper by Vinton G. Cerf. He writes:
Innovation also arises out of discontent with the status quo. People who complain are often precisely the ones who have ideas for change. Of course, not every whiner is an innovator, but some see how to turn lemons into lemonade. I’ve learned to tolerate a certain degree of complaint when it points to possibilities for improvement.
The Reverse Brainstorm technique that I teach and extensively use in invention workshops was developed to stimulate quality "complaints". Very often, finding a high value problem is key to a good invention. ( also see Creativity, by Mihaly Csiksentmihaly).

Finding just that small thing that will make a huge, enabling difference is often the key to significant change. In fact, it is frequently the case that tough problems are solved only after figuring out what is the best way to express them.

Sometimes this is a matter of stating the problem at the right level of abstraction: too detailed and the critical issues are obscured; too high level and the problem is too generally stated to admit of a useful answer.

The ability to find the right level of abstractions for the problem is another skill that a good inventor has to master. Working with system models, 10x diagrams, and Scale-Time-Cost operator addresses this need by developing flexible abstract thinking and stretching imagination.

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