When we have a problem we often just jump in, find an idea and then assume that the problem is solved. This is like deciding we want to grow something, taking one seed, planting it and hoping that we will get something to harvest. The Concept Garden web application is a set of tools and techniques to help with the different stages of problem solving. There are tools to study the problem (prepare the ground), generate ideas (plant the seeds), select the preferred options (thin the seedlings), build the ideas (grow the plants) and record the final concept (harvest the fruit). You can access the application at
When we have a problem we often just jump in, find an idea and then assume that the problem is solved. This is like deciding we want to grow something, taking one seed, planting it and hoping that we will get something to harvest.
When gardening we need to prepare the ground. Similarly, with problem solving we need to prepare before we start trying to generate solution ideas. We need to understand the problem, why we want to solve it and what the solution has to deliver. The Concept Garden give us a set of tools that support us in doing this preparation work.
In the garden, if we want to grow something we need to plant some seeds. Similarly, in problem solving, we need to find some initial ideas that we can grow into solutions. When we plant seeds in the garden we will usually plant many more than we will need and it is the same in problem solving. We need to generate many more ideas than we will need. The Concept Garden gives us some ideation tools that will help us to come up with a lot of ideas.
Because we have planted more seeds than we will need, once they start growing we will need to “thin-out” the plants to give the remainder room to grow. With problem solving we need to remove the weakest ideas so that we can focus on the strongest – the ones most likely to lead to a viable solution. Like in gardening, this is done in stages. As the plants or ideas grow, we need to carry out more thinning. The Concept Garden provides tools that allow us to do this thinning in a systematic, progressive manner.
Once the plants have started to grow, we cannot just leave them to get on with it. There are many challenges that they will face and we must support them in growing by weeding, watering and possibly pruning. Similarly, with problem solving, we need to nurture and look after our ideas as we try to grow them into concepts for a solution. The Concept Garden web application provides tools to help us to do this, gradually introducing stronger challenge and more detail, so that the idea becomes stronger and more likely to give a long-term solution to the problem.
Once the plants have grown and are able to provide us with what we need (fruit, vegetables, flowers etc.) we need to harvest them and present them in such a way that other people will want to have them. The same applies to problem solving. It doesn’t matter how strong the solution concept is, if we cannot persuade other people that it should be implemented, then it will not solve our problem. The Concept Garden has tools that help us to record and present the solution concepts in a way that will make it easier for us to present them to other people.