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The actual “red phone” as seen in a recent tour of NASA’s Mission Control Center where all of the Apollo missions were launched.

There is a movie out called “The Martian” which is full of examples of how necessity drove problem solving. During the whole movie I kept thinking, yeah, that’s possible. Oh wait, so is that, but what if and about five minutes later they answered my question. What struck me most was how the main character took stock of his resources. Instead of panicking he took stock of what he had. Not what he wished he had or thought he could get.

While it is true that the first step in problem solving is “defining the problem”, the second step is knowing what resources you have. And that is where the quote “necessity is the mother of invention” comes into play.

Solving a problem on paper is pointless. Understanding the proportions of each resource in relation to the problem at hand will ensure an executable solution. There is only so much time, people, and money. We have to utilize our resources with intent.

Problem solving is not figuring out the theoretical or perfect solution to only then be frustrated that you don’t have the time or can’t have the people or your project won’t get funded.

True problem solving is embracing your resources and finding a path forward with what you have.

Inventing and problem solving are closely related.

Be intentional