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12.2. Not OR but AND


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 12. The TAO Design Process > 12.2. Not OR but AND

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When should you use the analytical scientific approach and when should you take a softer creative way? Sorry, the answer again, is ‘yes’. The secret is not one or the other, but one and the other. There is great creative power in using more than one system, as multiple lenses on the problem not only lead to more solutions, but their combination can be synergistic, creating even more possibilities. More than one lens also breaks the limiting fixation that a single viewpoint may bring.

Fig. 12.2 shows the TAO Design Process again, this time in the form of a loosely linked sequence (same thing, different lens, with consequential benefits), along with parallel scientific and psychological tracks. Although there are sequences of activity there are also ‘clouds’ of methods that are roughly distributed where they might be most used, but which are sufficiently general to be usable in other circumstances.

When using these, if you have a naturally scientific tendency, try the psychological track first. Similarly, if you normally take a softer approach to creativity, try the more rigorous scientific and TRIZ approach. You can also switch back and forth at any stage, using the alternative views to stimulate and challenge one another. Try different elements, but the bottom line is always ‘what works for you’.

It is a rich and complex model which gives you a wide range of tools. It may seem rather overwhelming at first, but if your goal is serious invention, it is designed to provide serious help. Ross Ashby described the ‘law of requisite variety’ which state that a method must be as complex as the system that it wishes to control. With many tools and broad thinking at your disposal, you will be well-equipped to tackle even the stickiest of inventive problems.

Fig. 12.2 The full TAO Design Process

The rest of this chapter explores each of these tracks.

Other sections in this chapter are:

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