TED Conversations

Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


This conversation is closed.

Is it better to look at the whole structure or the foundation or the flaws?

Anything from architecture to ideologies.

To solve an issue, do you seek information from what it currently is or where it began? What if both had issues, do you tear it down and rebuild?

  • Mar 20 2012: I think it is better to look at the whole product or system in the context of what it is suppose to do. The whole is the sum or the parts in some cases, but in others the whole system is what is evaluated. It is possible that all the right parts are present, but they are not organized properly. It is possible that multiple discipline optimization is the correct path in some instances, but in others, things need to be kept simple. It depends on the requirements of the whole product.
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    Mar 18 2012: I think much of it has been well study in the field of root cause analysis.
    The search will start at current state of course but whether it will go back to where it began will depend on the findings. Never the other way around.

    It's rarely happen that multiple cause be identify in a single case. Usually troubleshooting or analysis will point to a single cause that's MOST responsible to the problem at hands.
    But let's for the sake of the argument it happens... then I say, yeah... you rebuild.
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    Mar 28 2012: I always go "big picture". It's easier for me to "see" but I have peers who are better at specific details. Together we usually hash-out the correct line of attack.
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    Mar 19 2012: Since you did not state which would you look at "first", I would elect the "wholistic" approach. You also did not state how the "issues" were found nor how the "flaws" were detected. If it was a electrical problem in a building I call a electrician not tear the building down. If it was a speech I would re-assess the target population, hire a consultant, or maybe scrap the whole thing depending the whats, wheres, and whos the speech was intended for. In short the information is not available to make the decision. There could be a 10 cent solution or a multi million dollar loss. A analysis is certainly in order to arrive at a professional decision. Definately not the time for snap decision or easy answers. All the best. Bob
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      Mar 20 2012: I am interested in your take on a vague question with many possibilities and scenarios, and if it is possible for a handful of solutions one devises, that can solve most real time situations.

      And those scenarios are very literal and they most definitely fit several scenarios, but say that you were the only person involved and no one was able to help you with this issue, then how would you dissect that issue and try to imagine that solution being able to solve many real life cases that an expert can't fix or they are not available.
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        Mar 20 2012: First we must assume that the individual is a jack of all trades and knows the subject area where the problem exists. Big leap huh. I will also assume that he has blueprints and/ or operating instructions. Having all of these he follows the the tech manual/blueprints/ops orders. But since that is not the situation that you describe I would recommend that s/he would reverse engineer the issue. You must make a line in the sand at some point and say that all was good to this point and proceed unit the problem surfaces. The danger I see is that people become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problem. A speech obnly has three parts. Look at each individually. You have reduced the problem by 2/3. A car has many systems. If it will not start why check the tires. Look at the battery, starter, regulator, wiring, .. The point is reduce the problem until it is managable. I would also say it is important to know your limitations. When you get into deep water, back off. You may well make the problem so bad that recovery is impossable. Thanks for the reply. All the best. Bob
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    Mar 18 2012: I would probably start by looking at the whole "structure" as it is, particularly in terms of who is or will be suffering from the status quo and in what ways. In considering how to address the problems, I would look at why the structure has the current shape it does, which may include how it evolved as it did and who benefits. I would look at whether there are modifications that would improve the current structure and also look at other options, assessing for each the costs, benefits, legal issues, feasibility in implementation, and so forth attached to each possible avenue for improving the welfare of those who are ailing.
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      Mar 20 2012: Nice structure for dealing with "structure".

      What if the structure had little to no foundation, and is that even possible, and if so could that structure "float"?
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        Mar 20 2012: I think this would be easier to address with a sample case than in the abstract. One of my mentors from long ago often said, "The truth lies in the particulars." This is not to say that there are no common principles, but there is definitely a limit to "one size fits all" logic.
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          Mar 22 2012: I meant, that if one had a bad foundation or no foundation, would you be able to keep the structure stable enough to sustain its function? For instance, if all the pollinating creatures of the animal kingdom were to become extinct; could the ecosystem collapse without those creatures that pollinate trees/plants; or, could the ecosystem survive without its pollinating group of creatures; or, would we humans, find a way to fix the problem and keep the ecosystem "afloat"?
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        Mar 22 2012: Derek, it is an interesting question, and I hope a scientist will offer a good answer. My first thought was that the planet has survived mass extinctions. This is not to say that it is a smart thing to give ourselves problems of this kind by choice!
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          Mar 25 2012: I admit, my own thoughts escaped my mental ceiling. I do see your point.

          Thank you for reading my thoughts and thank you for sharing yours.
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      Mar 20 2012: Would you also blame the structure of receiving information as well, because when the crime happens and no one cooperates, then it is as if the crime is a non-issue or an issue that no one cares to put their "civilian" name on by working to help solve the issue?