Creative Problem Elimination

In all that we do, we take a very form-follows-function view.  We want to know right up front what the end goal is, and once we know we can usually “back in” to how to do it

An inherent part of that process is the identification of potential problems.  Think of it as making a list titled, “All the things that could cause this project to fail.”  Good project design has to account for the things that move you closer to the goal, as well as nullify the things which could prevent you from getting there.  Offense plus defense, if you will.

In practice, the key to good project design lies in objectivity and fairness.  Does the proposed component contribute to the goal or does it not?  That question, fairly answered, tells you what to put in and what to leave out.  That’s the secret.  It’s so simple, yet it often gets sacrificed on the altar of conventional wisdom, or because the direction it points is not the direction that everyone else is going.

When we look at the work of others we may find useful components, or we may find fabulous examples of what not to do.  Either way, our focus is on producing the solution.  It’s not our job to honor tradition or accept conventional wisdom at face value.  Our job is to figure out how to give your project the best odds of success.  Whether that means incorporating the accepted approach or (more often) throwing it out so that we don’t get stuck with the same problems as those who have gone down the path before us, the focus never strays from the understanding that the goal needs to be accomplished.

Creativity then, is often little more than a willingness to do things that are different than what others are doing, and focus only on those design components that are clearly contributory to the goal.  We don’t really care if we get past problems and accomplish the project’s goal(s) in a way that no one else would.  We just care about accomplishing the goal.  Whether the spectators get it or are left scratching their heads is really pretty secondary.

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