Where Science Meets Muse

The Creative Non-Solution

Posted by Plish on December 10, 2008

When we feel pain our natural tendency is to shield the area from further pain and find out what caused it in the first place.   When we find the source, we eliminate it and hopefully this stops the pain.

In the world of products we often follow the same process.  We find the cause and then make changes to the design, or fabrication process,  and hope this solves the problem.  Often it does.  But there are other times when a design is so sensitive (not necessarily a good design) that these changes do not fix the situation and often make things worse.

The creative response to these solutions is often a non-fix, or so it seems.   What is it?

Let the design tell you what it wants-then give it to the design!

This was the case in a situation where a medical device was malfuntioning due to a cracking delrin arch.  When the device was used, the arch would crack repeatably in the same location.  The first response was the typical one:

“The stresses are too high, redesign to minimize the stresses.” 

 Efforts to change the material and design, while eliminating the crack, also severely impacted the performance of the device.  Something else needed to be done.

The solution?

“Fail” the part before it cracked.  In other words, eliminate the stressed area.  This resulted in the device functioning as designed.

If You Cannot Eliminate a Problem, Use The Problem as The Solution
If You Cannot Eliminate a Problem, Use The Problem as The Solution

Can you share other times this type of thinking worked?


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