Many years ago, I read an article about this engineering approach that came out of Russia that I found fascinating – at the 50k view, it took engineering problems and tried to restate them a little abstracted from their specifics, isolating it to a specific contradiction, and then look around (for instance, in existing patent databases) for ways of solving the abstracted problem, then reapplying the approach back to their specific problem.
If that’s too simple and understandable, there are more PM-type versions of TRIZ explanation, too. I’m pretty sure you need some of those 3D glasses (and some changes in brain chemistry) to really grok this one:
Every few years it pops back into my brain and I spend about 20 minutes trying to figure out what that approach was called and eventually get around to it, but I figured if I wrote about it once, then when I want to remember it in the future, hopefully I’ll remember faster 🙂
Here’s some examples of applying TRIZ, FWIW, hopefully to help make it a bit more concrete.
Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween!