Problem Generation

March 14, 2019

By Patrik Nilsson

In the case of idea generation, I do not believe there is one method that fits all ideas. While reviewing the material provided in this course, I have come to believe that the generation of an idea starts with a problem. Hence, I practically refer to this module as “problem generation” rather than “idea generation”. For this course, and the challenge, my method for generating ideas stems from analyzing the problem and its origin, asking questions such as:

  1. Why is this a problem?
  2. What has been done before?
  3. Why do the current ideas work or not work?
  4. Is there a solution to the problem or is the purpose to create awareness?

Generally, in life, as illuminated in one of my Twitter posts, many of my best ideas are not generated through idea workshops, mind mapping, or in collaboration with other individuals. I, for instance, find inspiration in meaningful books, even if they do not have an immediate link to my current life or work situation. Instead, I ask myself how I can apply and make practical use of newly acquired wisdom and ideas in relation to what I am doing.

When facing a new problem, I often take in as much information and perspective as possible. If others before me have solved a certain problem, I will often identify, filter, adapt, and modify their solutions in accordance to my own problem. With regards to this challenge, I have a background in IT, and for my first Master’s thesis, I wrote about objectivity and subjectivity in a semi-philosophical matter. Individuals are subjective creatures (we all have different personalities and intelligence) and it is simply not possible to increase the critical ability of all people collectively; nevertheless, an idea can bring awareness to information credibility. The idea is perhaps not a solution to the problem; rather, the idea addresses the issue, increases awareness, and as a result, makes it less of a problem.

I rarely consider myself creative in a traditional sense, especially when something is mandatory (compulsory course work, such as this one, is obviously necessary). I am an all-or-nothing kind of guy – at times, I find myself profoundly creative, but only when I have complete freedom and I am working with something I am deeply passionate about.