Technical Problem or Adaptive Challenge?
Before a design organization develops a new computer system to support a manufacturing process, strategists need to understand what they are facing. Will their designers have to confront a series of technical problems or adaptive challenges? Technical problems have known solutions that most designers clearly understand. However, this means they will solve problems using existing organizational practices. An adaptive challenge means the organization will face problems that individually have many possible solutions. To find the correct set of solutions, the organization must experiment and adapt over time.
Many design organizations ignore the fundamental differences between technical problems and adaptive challenges. As a result, engineering and IT planners mistakenly believe that they only need to hire specialists to solve technical problems. They expect these specialists to use the latest technologies and/or adopt some agile development process. These technology-focused designs or faith-based processes produce applications that have many undesirable anomalies, idiosyncrasies, and outliers.
The information contained in this book enables strategists to stop adapting to challenges and start solving problems. The information defines and describes how low-level design fundamentals affect manufacturing processes and upper-level system designs. It specifically identifies the many technical problems designers will face, variable methods for solving them, and expected outcomes. This information enables an organization to adopt the best practices before starting a design. This sets up a knowledge-based development process where designers understand technical problems, adopt the correct set of fundamentals, and make the necessary improvements to machines and system designs.