Problem Solving Tree

Type of record:
  • Micro method
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10


The Problem Solving Tree method is a method used, for example, to record all the alternatives that present themselves to a challenge and present them in an ordered form.

In the outer appearance of the method - as the name says - the tree structure is typical, i.e. a hierarchically branching basic structure.

Each ramification takes place under a specific aspect, i.e. according to a specific criterion for the differentiation of the investigated area. In doing so, one will try to apply such distinguishing criteria first, which are a

- effect elementary, fundamental breakdown
- and only in the subsequent changes those that describe less decisive differences between the alternatives.

However, it is not possible to make a general statement about which classification criteria are important and which are less important. It only results from the special conditions of the application. In the elaboration of many problem-solving trees, the hierarchical superordination and subordination of the design criteria can also be more clearly defined, but their order is interchangeable within certain limits.

Working on a challenge with a problem-solving tree requires well-founded specialist knowledge of the respective subject area. The involvement of laypersons in a problem-solving group is usually not very useful in the application of this method.

The most cost-effective way for expert individuals or small expert groups to use the problem-solving tree is to overcome complex problems.

Problem-solving trees can also be linked to an evaluation procedure in a relatively simple way. In this case, values are assigned to the individual branches, for example, with regard to the frequency of need of an alternative, technical feasibility or implementation problems or economic efficiency - depending on the object and goal of the problem-solving process. With an integrated evaluation procedure, the method is also referred to as the Relevance Tree.

The problem solving tree plays out its strength in the analysis of the challenge and in the generation of ideas. With the problem solving tree, challenges of great complexity can be dealt with particularly well.
  • Effective for all innovation types
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • Effective for process innovations
  • Effective for product innovations
  • Effective for radical innovations
  • Effective for service innovations
  • Effective for technology innovations
  • P2 Analysis (problems - challenges - environment - people - products)
  • P4 Synthesize (create leading questions - take a stand)
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