# Problem formulation far more often essential than solution

# Problem formulation far more often essential than solution

“The formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill” illustrates the following which I want you to expand on:

1) Planning and Designing is often the most important step of s research process. The way you design and collect your data is more important than the analysis of the data and subsequent interpretation of the result of the analyses. Anybody with the knowledge of the software and the right equation can get the results but it takes a planner and designer to correctly interpret an output. For instance, I may give you a data and with your knowledge of EXCEL (or even with help from the internet), you can get the regression equation. You did not participate in the research design and data collection (or you took no time to study the design of the data). So although you can get the results, you cannot be sure if the analytic model used is the right one, let alone interpreting the output with respect to the data. And, you may not be well apt to analyze the data completely and convincingly. Planning and designing ensures that the analysis is correct from inception since these are often the first steps in experimentation.

There is this quote, “Statistical techniques are tools of thought … not substitutes for thoughts” (Abraham Kaplan).

“To raise new questions, a new possibility, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”

2) Here Einstein is suggesting that depth is better

#### Solution Preview

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Question:

What is the value of this statement in terms of the research process? What is the relevance and relationship of this statement to the technologically advancing business world? Where do these questions allow us to go?

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Einstein’s Quote: The formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, a new possibility, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

Solution:

Note: I will break down every sentence in this quote and guide you on how to apply it to answer your questions. Since I will provide just bullet points here, do well to expand on the analysis and apply to other areas. Please, support your analyses with examples.

This part of the quote,

“The formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, …

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”

### Why the problem is more important than the solution? or Problem formulation far more often essential than solution

In the startup world, we give Idea a lot of importance, it’s by default that idea has to be very good before we start working on the startup. After working on several startups and having years of experience in the field I can say that our obsession towards Idea is wrong, our obsession must be with the problem, we must be obsessed by the problem we want to solve and not the solution or the Idea. One problem can have several solutions if a solution for the problem doesn’t work, its ok, we can find another solution for it.

These days idea is not the main cause of failure as most startups pivot several times before they find market-product fit but the main cause of failure is a lack of proper execution, pay attention and improve how you execute. Every time you pivot and try to solve a problem in a different way, hold on, retrospect and find what went wrong and where you lack in execution, improve those areas. What I observed that successful start-ups marries to a problem, they come up with several solutions to solve that problem and pivot every time they fail to find a market-product fit, on every pivot they retrospect and find what went wrong and improve that in next iteration, they do it until they find a market-product fit. If a startup marries to a solution, they would find it difficult to pivot as they exist around this particular idea but if they take this idea as just one solution to the problem they are solving, it’s easy for them to move on and find another solution. So marry to your problem and keep pivoting until you find a market-product fit.

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