How To Properly Approach a Problem
When many people attempt to solve a problem, they make the mistake of placing an emphasis on either the problem or solution. To properly solve problems, it is very important to make sure you take the right approach. The approach you use for a problem is often connected to the solution. The first thing you should be familiar with is an entry point. As the name implies, the entry point is the part of the problem that you will first want to focus on.
Many people have linear minds, and approach a problem from the front end. However, the entry point doesn't have to be the front end of a problem. It can be approached from other angles. Most of the problems you encounter will have multiple entry points, and each one you choose will bring about a variety of different solutions. Some of these solutions may be better than others. Most people choose the first entry point they encounter because it is the most obvious. Many people believe each entry point chosen will give them the exact same solution. In reality, this is not accurate.
For example, lets say that the problem you are trying to solve is the number of deaths caused each year by motorcyles. Your entry points are, redesigning motorcycles, educating people about how to use them, or designing special suits which can protect the spine and other vital parts of the body. As you can see, any one of these entry points can be used for problem solving, but each one will results in different solutions. Some of these solutions may be much more desirable that others. One way to solve a problem is to start at the end. This basically means that you will want to list a number of solutions, and then start with them and work your way back to the problem.
Here is a good illustration of this. Suppose you are faced with a problem where you need to slice a triangle into three portions which can be used to form a square. This may sound like a difficult problem. However, why not start at the end and take a square and divide it into three parts which can form a triangle? As you can see, this is much easier, and this solution was a result of reversing the problem and working backwards. The solution is the square. That is what the three parts must form. However, there are no rules which state that you can't work backwards.
It is always a good idea to use the solution when the problem is not clearly defined. Some problems will have multiple solutions, and you can use the same strategy, working your way backward from each possible solution. Another approach you can use is starting in the middle of a problem and solution. There are no rules which state that you must start at the beginning or end of a problem. Starting in the center may make the problem easier to solve.
For example, lets say you want to build a solar energy plant. You could start in the middle by assuming you already have the funding and necessary materials, and you could proceed with planning where you want to put the plant(beginning of problem) and where the energy will be sent. Once you have these two things figured out, you can now look at funding. Starting in the middle of a problem can pose some risks. It is good for situations where you need to get something quickly done, or you have not clearly defined a problem or a solution.
The next thing you will want to consider is a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an assumed explanation for a given amount of information. A rival hypotheis is one which goes against your hypothesis, and is another explanation for the same problem. The use of a hypothesis often deals with interpretations, and this could be difficult because the problem or solution may be based on bias. You should never limit yourself to a single hypothesis when you are attempting to solve a problem. You may use emotion rather than logic to support your hypothesis, and in a situation like this, important data may be discarded.