Problem Framing and Solution Architecture

This past Tuesday, we spent some more time with the students on the topics from last week. They presented where they were at with their projects. There was an impressive amount of research done some of the groups, as well as a broad range of possible solutions. I then talked to the students about problem framing. In this case, we looked at a statement (a hole in one's sock) and then came up with a number of reasons why it might be considered a problem. Students said might be irritating against the skin, appear unprofessional, or feel cold, among a number of other reason. Each of these problems, then prompted a various solutions, in reaction to skin irritation, some students said you could stop wearing socks or patch up the hole. In reaction to unprofessionalism, you could purchase new socks or change the social paradigm. There was overlap between solutions, the goal was to see how framing the problem in different ways prompted new ideas that might not have otherwise been considered. Now, after focusing on how stating a problem in various manners prompted new ideas, Jose got up talked to the students about Solution Architecture.

Solution Architecture is about starting with a problem/idea, and then thinking about interesting solutions to that. At the same time one is coming up with new ideas, you allow the mind to create associations between the ideas. Think of each idea as node, and the ideas that come from them as branching off. You end up with a branching network of ideas, which are then measured against the original prompt and/or combined together to form new ideas. Jose focused on one of the projects, reducing methan in rice production. One of the most interesting idea paths that came out of it, was draining rice fields to aerate the soil. A student brought up the idea of thinking of the water in the rice fields as one might the crops in crop rotation. That way, you drain the water from one field to another. There were a number of smaller issued that this helped to address.

I'm excited to see what the students come up with by next week.