Stimulate Grand Challenge innovation by clear problem framing

People love a grand challenge.  Nothing gets our creative juices flowing more than a tough well-framed problem. Grand challenges work because they:

  • Excite the imagination, stimulate innovative, out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Attract many contributors.
  • Attract diverse contributors, both domain experts and outsiders with novel ideas.
  • Create a knowledge pull by asking clear, important questions that demand answers.
  • Encourage collaboration, form new teams around the problem at hand.
  • Encourage competition, a tangible prize for the best ideas.
  • Provide a sense of urgency by offering a near-term prize for a long-term solution.
  • Encourage holistic “systems” thinking.
  • Emphasize the product more than the process, don’t burden contributors with lots of high-overhead tasks and documentation.

A Decision Breakdown Structure (DBS) is a great way to frame a challenging problem and stimulate innovation.  Each decision “node” in a DBS is a fundamental question/issue that demands an answer/solution.  Each decision asks a “How?” question associated with an important dimension of the problem, i.e. a capability that must be delivered.  Each decision includes the explicit criteria that define success and raise the bar for prospective alternatives to clear.  Decisions focus innovation teams on the essential thinking that must be done without burdening them with excess process baggage.  They define “unknowns that need to be known” and decompose a complex problem into manageable parts.  But a DBS also keeps the whole problem in view so that innovation teams create well-integrated solutions.

At Decision Driven® Solutions we have a rich set of decision patterns that can be used to frame your next grand challenge and an integrated suite of web-based innovation, evaluation and visualization tools that foster the best of collaboration and competition.  Please contact our team at before you launch your next grand challenge.  We would love to help you frame this problem and facilitate your success.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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