Dixie Darr

In creativity, Learning, work on February 27, 2007 at 8:01 am

Fable of the Two Steves

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Here’s a fable about creative problem solving. Once upon a time, back at the dawn of the computer age, lived two guys named Steve. Both Steves were what would become known as computer geeks and they desperately wanted a computer. In that era, a kit was available to build your own computer; it cost $500. The Steves didn’t have $500. How would you define their problem?

Most people would say their problem was how to get $500. How do you get $500? You get a job and earn it or, if you’re less conventional, you beg borrow or steal it. You sell a small, insignificant body part or something to which you are less attached. These days, you charge it to one of your many credit cards and worry about paying it later.

The two Steves, however, didn’t define their problem that way. They decided that what they needed to do was find a way to get a computer without having $500. Friends who worked in the incipient electronics industry donated spare parts, and the Steves designed their own computer, which they named Apple. If they had defined their problem in the conventional way, we might not today have the endless debate about which is best: Mac or PC?

The moral of this story is:

__a. There is more than one way to define your problem.

__b. How you define the problem determines the solution.

__c. Money isn’t always the answer.

__d. Small changes in thinking can produce big changes in the world.

__e. All of the above.

©2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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