The Difference Between Focusing On Problems And Focusing On Solutions

Case 1

When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn't work

at zero gravity (ink won't flow down to the writing surface). To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million.

They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface

including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did the Russians do...??

They used a pencil...

Case 2

One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soap box,

which happened in one of Japan 's biggest cosmetics companies. The company

received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty.

Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which

transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department.

For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty. Management

asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise

an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed

through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but

they spent a whoopee amount to do so.

But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem,

he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution.

He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on,

and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.


Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problems :-)


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  • 2

    Though don't you agree what was written in pencil could be copied into pen later

  • 1


    • ew1090
    • August 4, 2009, 12:01 pm
  • 1


  • 1

    Lmao nice :) +3

  • 1

    This proves that the USA is just plain stupid...
    I'm American by the way.

    speak for yourself.
    - c8r15 November 12, 2010, 8:46 am
  • 1

    Well simple solutions are important but the reason for which they wanted a pen rather then pencils is due to the fact that they wanted their information to be permanent. Although, your right simplicity is key.

  • 1

    Pencil fades.Pen generally doesn't

  • 1

    but they quickly made up all that money and more with sales of the pen to the general market so its was actually a good thing

  • 1

    too good lol

  • 1

    with the pencil one .... the tiny shards of lead would float around the room and get into their suits causing discomfort :P

  • 1

    "LET’S LEARN TO FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS, NOT ON PROBLEMS." B.P. should have read this post and learned form the moral.

  • 1

    Very interesting, especially the first one.

    Yeah the first one is untrue though. NASA Spent $12 Million For a Space Pen While the Russians Just Use Pencils-Fiction!

    bullet Summary of the eRumor
    The message says that the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration spent ten years and $12 million developing a pen that writes in zero gravity for use by astronauts. The pen will write upside down, underwater, on almost any surface and is functional at extremely hot and cold temperatures. The Russians, however, filled the need for a space writing instrument by simply using pencils.
    bullet The Truth
    For some people, it's sport to point out government waste and bureaucratic stupidity, but this story about the space pen won't provide ammunition for it. The government did not fund the development of the pen, it did not cost $12 million to perfect, and neither the Americans nor the Russians consider it desirable to use pencils in space. In fact, both Americans and Russians use the space pen for their flights.

    The famous space pen, which is still a popular product today, was developed by Paul Fisher the founder of the Fisher pen company. An engineer who improved ball point technology, he created his "bullet pen" in the 1940's, which became one of the best-selling pens of the Twentieth Century. Later, he perfected a pen that was sealed with pressure inside of the cartridge that made the ink to flow regardless of gravity. It also worked in high and low temperature extremes, underwater, and wrote on many kinds of surfaces. According to the Fisher Pen company, after extensive testing, NASA chose the pen in 1967 for use by Apollo astronauts and it's been a part of space travel ever since. The company says it took Fisher about 2 years and $2 million to develop the space pen. Prior to 1967, there were no pens that worked in space so there were pencils used, but there were concerns about pencil dust floating around the space capsules as well as fears that if the tip of a pencil broke off and drifted into the electronics, there would be problems
    - buddyfoeva November 12, 2010, 8:38 am
    i was just about to post the snopes article about said pen..

    oh, what the hell..
    - c8r15 November 12, 2010, 8:50 am
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