How to Solve Impossible Problems

December 29, 2006 · Posted in innovation, Intellectual Property, problem solving ·  

I love impossible problems. Am I insane? That is hotly debated. But the reason I love impossible problems is there are so many possible innovations in every impossible problem. In fact there are at least 225 possible solutions to most seemingly impossible problems.

That’s a lot of innovation.

Very little is truly impossible. Most seemingly impossible problems result from assumptions that hide the solutions. The typical impossible problem is the result of two competing goals. If you improve one feature the other suffers. The goals compete. You want to improve both but can’t so it seems impossible.

How do you solve impossible problems? Break the problem in two and solve each part separately.

For instance electric vehicles solve a lot of problems. Electric cars are very efficient and don’t produce any point of use toxic emissions. The problem with electric cars is they can’t drive very far on a single charge.

Even with a lot of improvements in battery technology electric cars just haven’t gained the type of range most people would like. Recharging takes a long time so an electric car isn’t good for long trips.

How do we solve it? Break the problem in two and solve separately.

The goals are low point of use toxic emissions, and long range. If we break out long range we can solve that a number of ways.
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