I recently looked at some simulation software to help me do some analysis for a project I’m working on. I wasn’t looking for a full-blown exact solution. I was instead looking for possible directions – ways to help me ‘zero in’ on ways to attack the problem.
I looked at three tools, all very similar, with each software package having its own advantages and disadvantages. The problem was that I knew each software program couldn’t solve the problem exactly. So, I sent a sketch of the problem to the owner of each software company and asked them this question:
“How would you do this?”
Two of the three wrote back with variations of this response: “Our software can’t handle that problem. If you have $10,000 I’m sure you can find software that can.”
The third took a totally different approach: “If you model the top half and do trial and error scenarios, you can zero in on the answer. Double check how the material behaves to make sure that your scenario is accurate.”
That’s what I was looking for. Someone that would work with me and find a way to make it happen.
I used his proposed solution and built upon it. The result?
I understood the problem more thoroughly and was able to come up with multiple solutions (which made my client very happy!)
That’s what innovation is about:
Making the most of the tools one has.
Finding ways to look at the problem from different perspectives.
Acting “as-if” the solution is accessible, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. This means not being afraid of trial-and-error.
Collaborate with people who exemplify the above traits; dig in and make it happen, and your innovation machine will be unstoppable.