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This chapter deals with the techniques of avoiding dominating ideas.
This graph leads to several new entry points, they will all come out of the problem formulator list. Find a way to eliminate, reduce or prevent (Traffic congestion), under the condition of (Street parked cars) and (Traffic moving in and out of city). De Bono mentions that the following may happen in this process: But De Bono teaches no obvious technique to set up the new entry points or how to find the various alternatives in the Quota of alternatives.
What could be more suitable for this than the list of suggestions generated by the Ideation Problem Formulator?
This is because the Problem Formulator provides suggestions for new points of entry. Since this is a non-technical issue, it is natural to concentrate on the General operators.
Problem Formulator’s suggestions (Solution space) 1. Find an alternative way to provide (World class operation of system), which doesn’t require (Highly skilled operators). Find a way to enhance (World class operation of system). Find an alternative way to provide (Highly skilled operators), which provides or enhances (World class operation of system), and doesn’t require (Increasing operator qualifications). As an example, take statement 17: Find a way to eliminate, reduce or prevent (Operators leaving the company), under the condition of (Operators become attractive to other companies). Ideation’s Problem Formulator is probably the best tool one can find to automatically generate the food for thought that Lateral thinking thrives on.
From this entry point, it was obvious that providing every new building with car park would only increase the problem by encouraging people to go by car to work. Seems very obvious, but it takes at least a small amount of creativity. Find a way to eliminate, reduce or prevent (Street parked cars), under the condition of (Traffic moving in and out of city). De Bono suggests to list up to 5 alternatives (more than 5 will often be discouraging) in which we look at the situation in a different way.
If the city planners had been using the problem formulator at least they would have been able to establish the above graph. This is his technique of “Quota of alternatives”, The problems will be discussed and followed, and they may lead to new approaches.Both are needed, and lateral thinking brings creativity and new concepts into the process when the analytical thinking has led us into a dead end.Becoming skillful in lateral thinking requires practice.The approach in problem solving that most of us are trained to do is to find the core of the problem and focus attention on this.Thus we run the risk of overlooking hidden solutions that would appear if the problem system was considered from another angle.Using the Problem Formulator, this comes automatically.Triz always includes at least one useful effect and one harmful effect (problem) in the link. Quota of Alternatives The natural search for alternatives is directed to finding the best approach.ESCAPE and PROVOCATION are the two basic processes of Lateral Thinking.These terms are explained in De Bono’s book: Lateral Thinking for Management, Chapter 4.There is a clear link between TRIZ, and then specially the Problem Formulator, and Lateral thinking.Generally the Problem Formulator provides means to achieve ESCAPE and PROVOCATION by generating suggestions for lines of solutions.