Seminar  |  04/11/2018 | 12:00 PM  –  01:30 PM

Brown Bag Seminar: Problem Solving Without Problem Formulation: Documenting Need-solution Pairs in a Laboratory Setting

Christian Holthaus (TU Darmstadt)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich, Room 313

It has been hypothesized by von Hippel and von Krogh (2016) that problem solving often occurs via the simultaneous recognition of both a need and a responsive solution – without prior formulation of a problem being required. If this hypothesis is correct, significant new opportunities are opened up for both research and practice. The absence of a requirement for problem formulation can significantly reduce the effort and complexity of problem-solving. It also eliminates constraints on the range of possible solutions that a problem statement inevitably imposes, and so may enable the discovery of more creative, novel, and valuable solutions. In this talk, I will give an introduction to the phenomenon of need-solution pairs and then report on a first test of the von Hippel and von Krogh hypothesis that we conducted via a laboratory experiment. In summary, we find that need-solution-pairs can be triggered in everyday life situations and that both the novelty and creativity of solutions discovered via need-solution pair recognition are significantly higher than solutions discovered via the traditionally assumed need-first pattern. I will conclude by demonstrating the practical implications of this new phenomenon and our experimental research.

Contact Person: Felix Poege