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Principles of creativity > Decomposition

Breakdown | Hierarchy | See also



A simple, but effective, principle used in some creative methods and problem-solving approaches is to break down the situation or item under scrutiny into its component parts.

When things are broken down in this way, then each part may be scrutinized and understood independently (as well as individually improved). Decomposition thus uses a 'divide and conquer' approach. A danger in decomposition is that improving parts does not always improve the whole, and can even cause unforeseen problems.


You can also break down the parts that have been broken down, thus creating a hierarchy.

In hierarchies, one position is often called a node, with the node directly above it as a parent node and nodes below it as child nodes (using a genealogical naming metaphor). Tree metaphors are also used in naming in hierarchies. A parent without children is a leaf and a node without a parent (of which there is only one) is the root node. There may also be talk of branches of the tree.

See also

Breakdown, Chunking, Morphological Analysis, Value Analysis/Value Engineering



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