# Developing a problem model

## Problem model

A problem model can be built on the basis of individual hypotheses, a list of hypotheses, and a problem statement formulated. As mentioned here, the most beneficial method is to develop a problem model right from the list of hypotheses.

The difference between the inventor’s thinking and the day-to-day thinking lacking reflection is that special models are used to reach the abstract level, and effective tools are used to go from the abstract model of the problem to its abstract solution.

The concept of the model is used by the solvers in numerous situations daily. When solving a problem, we do not attempt to fully describe the subject of the enquiry but take for consideration only its basic properties important to solve the given problem. That is the subject is replaced with its simplified model.

The main purpose of developing models in solving inventive problems is to present a clear description of the composition, structure, operation of the subject understandable to the solver and to give answers to questions concerning the subject under the enquiry.

As mentioned here, relatively simple inventive problems can be solved in a single cycle of transitions “concrete-abstract-concrete”. In more complex cases, the sequence of actions (“what is required – how to obtain – using what – solution option”) sometimes has to be repeated several times while defining with more and more detail what we need and what prevents us from obtaining it. The problem is considered from different perspectives, its different models are developed. We will use four abstract models to solve problems:

## «Conditions in the Operational Area» problem model

This problem model is used when the hypothesis of resolving the conflict is put forward as a description of the conditions to be provided in the operational area. To transform this problem model into a solution model, one needs to understand how to change the components of the operational area or the relations among them.

## «Action in the Operational Area» problem model

It is applied when we clearly understand the interaction among components in the operational area and the issues which arise. To transform this model, the action should be changed: strengthen or weaken it, remove other adverse events. Another case when it is clear which action should be taken but it is unclear which tool could do it.

## Модель задачи «Техническое противоречие»

Для построения этой модели нужно определить два параметра полезной системы, которые вступают в противоречие при попытке улучшить один из них, как в ходе обработки выдвинутых гипотез, так и в процессе решения задачи. Чтобы разрешить техническое противоречие необходимо найти способ улучшить ухудшившийся параметр системы.

## «Physical Contradiction» problem model

This problem model illustrates the mutually exclusive requirements for the parameters of one of the system components. A one-parameter problem model can be transformed into a solution model if we specify a method to resolve a physical contradiction and separate conflicting requirements for a component parameter.

## Other models

Besides the above models, other types of models can be used to solve inventive problems:

- verbal ones using the language potential;
- symbolic ones describing the properties of an object using formulas such as mathematical or chemical ones;
- graphic ones: pictures, drawings, diagrams etc.;
- physical ones: dummies, scale and full-size operational samples etc.

Selecting and developing the most appropriate model is very important for solving the problem. The more accurate the model is, the more likely the problem solution is. This does not always mean that the model should be very complex, it can be simple but it should adequately demonstrate the most important aspects of the model object.

Let us take a look at the solution of the inkjet-printer problem using the simplest graphic model.

Example. Using a graphic problem model when producing a compact printerProblem. How is it possible to reduce the size of the inkjet printer? The width of this device depends on the standard A4 paper size, and the possibility to print on this paper should be preserved.

Problem model. Let us imagine the interaction of the printing head and the sheet of paper. The head moves in a straight line across the sheet reciprocally and prints an image. The problem model is a straight-line segment.Solution models. The original printer has a straight-line motion trajectory of the printing head. Here it is possible to ask a question – how to make a segment of the straight line compact? How is a piece of wire put in a pocket? It is coiled ... or cut into pieces if the integrity of the wire is irrelevant. The transition from the problem to the solution is shown in the figure.

Solution 1.Make the printer in the form of a ring through which a rolled sheet of paper is pulled. Such Circular Printer was developed by Samsung.

Solution 2.Leave only the main part of the printer – its printing head with controls. A printer of this type such as the Zuta Pocket Printer can move in lines on a sheet of paper while printing letters.