I keep six honest serving men
Rudyard Kipling (from "Just So Stories)
Click here to read more of this poem
From "What a Great Idea" by Chic Thompson.
Ask "Why" a problem is occuring and then ask "Why" four more times.
1. Why has the machine stopped?
A fuse blew because of an overload
2. Why was there an overload
There wasn't enough lubrication for the bearings
3. Why wasn't there enough lubrication?
The pump wasn't pumping enough
4. Why wasn't lubricant being pumped?
The pump shaft was vibrating as a result of abrasion
5. Why was there abrasion?
There was no filter, allowing chips of material into the pump
Installation of a filter solves the problem.
Idea Generators should be aware of a simple universal truth. There are only six questions that one human can ask another:
You may want to draw a mind map of the problem with these six words as nodes on the map.
What Where \ / \ / \ / When -------------- Problem: -------------- How / \ / \ / \ Why Who
Return to the Techniques Page
Last updated: 1st November 1997