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Morphological Forced Connections
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Open-ended problems by definition are not well defined ‘the boundaries are fuzzy’ and different stakeholders may have varying boundary perceptions. The solver is unlikely to have a suitable description at the outset of the exact problem in hand and finds redefinition of the problem throughout the project.
A variety of redefinition techniques exist (see Boundary relaxation). This method suggested by Tudor Rickards (1974), is designed to assist the solver increase imaginative and original redefinitions through a series of questions that take you through unexpected mental modes
The following checklist of provocative statements is suggested to bring about these feelings:
- ‘There is usually more than one-way of looking at problems. You could also define this one as ….’
- ‘….but the main point of the problem is….’
- ‘What I would really like to do is….’
- ‘If I could break all laws of reality (physical, social etc.) I would try to solve it by ….’
- ‘The problem put in another way could be likened to …’
- ‘Another, even stranger, way of looking at it might be….’
To use this technique, try following this simple procedure:
- Taking as short or as long as required note down on a sheet of paper an open-ended problem of importance to you. The problem should be one, which you would like several answers leading to possible solutions.
- In your own time, complete the above statements with reference to your particular problem. However, if nothing comes to mind for a particular statement, progress on to the next statement
- It can be useful to have a break at this stage to allow time for deliberation.
- Return to your original definition ( 1 ), have any of the redefinitions helped? Can you see the problem from a different angle? Write down any thoughts or ideas you have at this stage.