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- 1. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Complex solutions for complex problemsThe Third International Symposium on Engineering Systems June 18-20 2012 Delft, The Netherlands Dr Joseph E. Kasser, DSc, CEng, FIET, CM, CMALT Visiting Associate Professor, TDSI National University of Singapore, Block E1, #05-05 1 Engineering Drive 2, Singapore 117576 Email tdskj@nus.edu.sg Handphone +65 9776 7464, Skype: Prof_G3ZCZ Web page http://www.therightrequirement.com 1
- 2. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Topics • Problems and problem solving • Classification of problems • Problem classification matrix • Solving non-complex problems • Solving complex problems • Systems approach • Questions and discussion 2
- 3. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Problems and problem solving Converts Undesirable situation To Desirable situation 3
- 4. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Classification of problems • Level of difficulty of the problem • Research and intervention problems • Structure of the problem • Complexity of the problem • Others 4
- 5. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Levels of difficulty • Easy - can be solved in a short time with very little thought. • Medium - can be solved after some thought, may take a few more steps to solve than an easy problem and can probably be solved without too much difficulty, perhaps after some practice. • Ugly - will take a while to solve. Solving them involves a lot of thought, many steps and may require the use of several different concepts. • Hard - usually involve dealing with one or more unknowns. Solving them involves a lot of thought and some research and may also require iteration through the problem solving process as learning takes place 5
- 6. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Research problems • The undesirable situation is the inability to explain observations of phenomena or the need for some particular knowledge. In this situation: – the solution is the knowledge often in the form of the supported hypothesis, – the problem is how to gain the needed knowledge, and – the problem solving process is commonly known as the scientific method, and works forwards • from the current situation towards a future changed situation in which the knowledge has been acquired. 6
- 7. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Intervention problems • The undesirable situation is when something needs to be changed over a period of time into a feasible conceptual future desired situation (FCFDS). In this situation: – the solution is the FCFDS, – the problem is how to realize a smooth and timely transition from the current situation to the FCFDS, and – the problem solving process first uses the research problem solving process working forwards, selects the best one, and then works backwards to the current problematic situation to document: • the FCFDS, and • the realization plans documented as a forward process starting from the current situation and ending with the deployment of the FCFDS. 7
- 8. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Structure of the problem • Well-structured – the existing undesired situation and the desired future situation are clearly identified. – may have a single solution or sometimes more than one correct solution. • Ill-structured – either or both the existing undesired situation and the desired future situation are unclear • Wicked – extremely ill-structured problems 8
- 9. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Complexity of the problem • Number of issues, functions, or variables involved in the problem; • Degree of connectivity among those variables; • Type of functional relationships among those properties; • Stability among the properties of the problem over time 9
- 10. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Problem classification matrix Wicked Here be dragons Ill-structured (there are no solutions) Well- structured Simple Complicated Non-complex Easy Medium Ugly Hard Level of difficulty 10
- 11. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Solving non-complex problems • Easy well-structured problems – Simple problems requiring little if any research before creating the solution. • Medium well-structured problems – Less simple requiring some research before creating the solution. • Ugly well-structured problems – Complicated yet require little if any research before creating the solution. • Hard well-structured non-complex problems – Complicated and require research before creating the solution. 11
- 12. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Solving complex problems-1 • Well-structured complex problems – consist of a set of interconnected well-structured non-complex problems – the remedy to one may affect another, these problems cannot be solved in one pass thorough the problem solving process. – must remedied by evolving a solution using multiple passes of the problem solving process where each iteration produces a better (less undesirable) situation. – one party’s remedy may be another party’s undesirable situation and foster further change. • Makes it more complicated 12
- 13. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Solving complex problems-2 • Ill-structured complex problems. – These problems cannot be solved. – They need to be converted to well-structured problems before attempting to provide solutions. – Different people convert ill-structured problems into different and sometimes contradictory well-structured problems and which would generate different and sometimes contradictory solutions. • Wicked Problems. – The fundamental paradox with respect to Wicked Problems is that there are no such problems. 13
- 14. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Systems approach to dealing with problems 8 Descriptive STPs* Observe and think Scientific STP* Research Formulate hypothesis Test Refuted hypothesis Supported 14* Kasser and Mackley, 2008
- 15. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Remedying complex problems 1. Convert the ill-structured complex problem to a well- structured problem. 2. Convert the well-structured complex problem to a set of well-structured non-complex problems that provide partial solutions to the complex problem. 3. Realize a partial solution to the complex problem by remedying one or more of the non-complex problems. 4. Reexamine the undesirability of the changed situation. 5. Go back to step 1. 15
- 16. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Summary • Problems and problem solving • Classification of problems • Problem classification matrix • Solving non-complex problems • Solving complex problems • Systems approach • Questions and discussion 16
- 17. Temasek Defence SystemsInstitute Temasek Defence Systems Institute Questions or comments 17

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