Subconscious Problem Solving Using Hazy Heuristics


  • Ed Sickafus Ntelleck, LLC



While learning a structured problem solving methodology one typically rues the tedium interfering with invention. Later, as the methodology inures in one’s subconscious, shortcuts take form. This paper focuses on the shortcuts phase.
We have ample evidence that our conscious does not solve problems – our subconscious does. That realization raises the issue of how to communicate a problem from our conscious to our subconscious and accept any ideas that are returned. Presented here are arguments for the elimination of constraining logic in major parts of current structured problem solving methodologies. Unified structured inventive thinking (USIT) is used as an example. This should not be a bitter pill for technologists to take. It does not substitute for any of one’s early learning of problem-solving methodologies. Instead, once a methodology is mastered, it encourages taking short cuts by eliminating or reducing things that have become second nature in one’s logical thinking. Logic is subdued in favor of evocative vague cues – sometimes thought of as the poetic license of the right brain.
Two examples are presented of rapid problem solving using USIT in an abbreviated form. One solution concept resulted in a USA patent, “Pedestrian Impact Energy Management Device With Seesaw Elements”.
A problem and its solution concepts refer to the pre-engineering phase of problem solving. In this phase all concepts are accepted without filtering. Proof of concept and model calculations come later. Unfiltered concepts are a potential source of surprising ideas.

Author Biography

Ed Sickafus, Ntelleck, LLC

President, Ntelleck, LLC