The Knowledge Management Research Group

The problem/solution/elimination pattern


Interpretation: The pattern is concerned with the difference between solving and eliminating problems. Solving problems has the effect of making their symptoms dissolve, which means to ‘disappear in solution' - just like salt-crystals in water. However, from this solution the symptoms of the problem can be easily crystallized in various ways. This tends to crystallize (= institutionalize) any organization that has been formed in order to solve problems.

Eliminating problems means dealing with causes instead of symptoms - which tends to transcend the problems as well as the organization . In fact, eliminating the problems dissolves the organization - instead of crystallizing it. Instead of becoming institutionalized, the organization ‘dissolves into solution' - from which it can be conveniently re-crystallized if the problem should ever show up again.

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