Conventional problem solving is a time-honored and accepted methodology for solving many problems we encounter in our daily home and work lives. Thought processes can be linear (like a programmer) or non-linear and still use conventional problem solving skills. Conventional problem solving begins with a statement of the problem, accumulation of data, analysis of data and proposals of solutions to the problem, then testing of the hypotheses. Non-conventional problem solving often skips some of these steps, beginning with a statement of the problem and ending with possible solutions. The tools of conventional problem solving include “critical thinking”, Fool-proofing, “thinking outside the box” and Statistical techniques. Consider the first of our ancestors to figure out that harnessing fire would provide security from large predators, make food safer and easier to eat and make tools such as fire hardened tips on spears. Did all these inventions occur in one moment of genius, or did they take innumerable years to accomplish? Sometime in this process of non-conventional thinking our ancestors brought forth a new technology which ensured the survival of our species. So, how does non-conventional problem solving work? When current theory does not appear to work, then we look to the margins of our science to see if current theory continues to be ineffective. Most theories fail in the margins of the science. A classic example of conventional science failing in the margins is the general and special theory of relativity. Non-conventional problem solving offers greater opportunity for revolutionary rather than incremental, or evolutionary advancements to our science. Other examples are included in this paper. Two wheel related problems are also presented using non-conventional problem solving techniques to provide alternative solutions.
Going Beyond Conventional Problem Solving for Two Railroad Wheel Defects
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Dedmon, S. "Going Beyond Conventional Problem Solving for Two Railroad Wheel Defects." Proceedings of the 2019 Joint Rail Conference. 2019 Joint Rail Conference. Snowbird, Utah, USA. April 9–12, 2019. V001T02A006. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/JRC2019-1312
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