There are solutions without problems and problems without solutions. The best scenario is to have problems with solutions. However, when you think about digitalization it might be that both problems and solutions are missing! This would be the case where a company wants to “become digital” without the skills required. Sounds plausible?

This brings to mind a generic idea about problem and solution spaces. This might not be the most practical thing, but it feels really interesting. I hope you will get something out of it.

The idea goes as follows: problem space includes (all relevant) problems and solution space solutions. Some problems can be solved with certain solutions. When this happens you could think that problem and solutions spaces overlap. Fitting problems with solutions is of course something valuable and therefore we can say that the overlap includes as value adding solutions. Does this make any sense? The figure A (A for artsy!) below illustrates the idea.

Figure A. Overlapping solution and problem spaces creating value adding solutions.

I think this is a great starting point towards valuable solutions. In order to create value one has to have fitting solutions and problems. I think the first step towards valuable solutions is to know something about available solutions. Finding the matching problems comes easier when you have some kind of an idea what those might look like. I think it doesn’t work that well the other way around.

What about digitalization? Surprise surprise, I would look at digitalization from the machine learning perspective. It is really hard to see what kind of problems could be solved with machine learning, if you don’t know anything about machine learning. Knowing more and more helps to see potential places for applications. This is just how the brain works, you see your environment through your experiences. If you have a hammer, you will see nails everywhere.

Take-away questions about spaces to keep you warm:

How to make the spaces overlap more?

Are the spaces dynamic?

How do the spaces compare in size?

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Thank you for reading!