A teacher said to her student, “Billy, if both of your parents were born in 1967, how old are they now?”
After a few moments, Billy answered, “It depends.”
“It depends on what?” she asked.
“It depends on whether you ask my father or my mother.”
It’s also like that with the number of experiments you need to run, in order to build a new product.
On how much of a breakthrough you want your product to be.
Soviet inventor Genrich Altschuller created the “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”, or TIPS. In the original Russian, it’s called TRIZ. TRIZ’s a massive topic in its own right, providing a systematic methodology for solving problems creatively.
Apparently even creativity can be systematized.
While Altschuller reads quite heavily in the translated English version, he shares nuggets of wisdom–which are very relevant for product entrepreneurs.
For example, he pored over about 40,000 patent filings, mining for insight and inspiration. It turned out, that there were clear patterns in how inventors approached problem solving. Depending on the type of challenge being addressed, the number of experiments the inventors did made the technological breakthrough even greater.