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xFive - graph of problems

You need to solve complex problems

stetoscope UKEvery business needs to solve problems for moving forward. And some of these issues are sometimes very present and complex to tackle, despite persistent efforts and they mix all facets: customer-centric, human, technical, commercial, financial,... This is where xFIVE comes in to solve the complex challenges that its customers are facing.

And for this we rely on powerful tools (TRIZ, VI, QFD,...) integrated into 2A2CI:a methodology that xFIVE has developed, an internationally recognized and user-centric approach that has helped solving many problems for our customers.


The key to problem solving is in the preliminary analysis. It is essential to take the time to list the problems (or challenges, frustrations, challenges, opportunities,...) and identify which are the key problems to solve rather than rush straight into the path of the solution. 

Most of the time, we do fail because we have given a right answer, but to the wrong problem, instead of giving a wrong answer to the right problem!

This analysis of the situation in preamble to any subsequent step is the keystone of our 2A2CI approach. Analyzing a situation is an unfinished study event. What is intended is not the "right" identification but rather the integration of information from all stakeholders of the ecosystem of the studied project. It is important to share the maximum of knowledge, expertise and vision of the issue among participants.

Our approach is based on our capability to model the studied systems, to list and connect their problems with a collective and inclusive approach with all stakeholders on board.

xPERT O reseau 3This knowledge capitalization also involves the construction of a network of problems.

How is constructed this network  (or graph of problems and partial solutions)? One starts from an existing problem within the studied system (the input problem). Then we look at the problem that could be the direct cause of that problem, and then the next problem, etc. And so gradually, one can build a real graph. For each problem listed, one can also list the solution that has already been implemented, and also look at how this solution also generates other problems.

The construction of network of problems can consolidate the expertise of participants. Because of the semantics to respect (problem = subject + verb + complement, partial solution = infinitive verb + complement), the reformulation exercise helps clarify and capitalize the company's knowledge and experience. This construction is carried out using our xPERT-O software.

Effet domino

The analysis of the graph of problems and partial solutions pemits then to determine (based on the graph theory) what problems have the most impact, that is to say, those whose resolution helps eliminate the biggest number of other problems. In the manner of these dominoes when they fall entail a very large chain of other dominoes falling. The ideal is to identify these "key dominoes". Similarly, one can isolate the most interesting partial solutions to implement (that is to say those which solve the maximum of problems upstream and generate the fewest problems later).


Solve inventively

Once key problems are identified, we can attack their resolution. One way to synthesize the essence of problem is to formalize it into a contradiction.

contradiction ENWhat's a contradiction? One way to represent it is to think of the maxim "to choose is to renounce." When you act on a control variable in a way, you get some positive effects but also negative effects. When you act in the opposite direction, the positive and negative effects are reversed. You are then faced with the difficult choice between conflicting positive effects. And often you opt for the middle path, for a compromise that allows you to have enough positive effects to offset the negative nature. For example, if your table top is thin, it is light but very solid and if it is thick, it is the opposite.

Yet it is there, in the body of impossible choices, that takes root the ability to bring out truly inventive solutions, these solutions which "miraculously" allow to combine the two good sides of the contradiction. We would have both good sides at the same time, high mechanical strength and lightness: we need the table top is thick and thin at a time.

And this is where TRIZ operates. When one has exhausted all conventional means of problem-solving and one is at the limits of compromise solutions, it is necessary to be inventive: to get out technical and economic impasses, for solutions that combine both positive sides of the contradiction!

Members of the team xFIVE are TRIZ experts, and xFIVE is an IDM-TRIZ operator certified by INSA Strasbourg.


xFIVE, solver of complex problems for its customers

Among the many examples of problem-solving missions related to products, services or processes of our customers, we can list:

  • The integration of two organizations with different backgrounds into a more agile company, relying on motivated employees,
  • Solving a problem of production that lasted for over 20 years in the chemical industry,
  • A methodology of assessing CAPEX projects called "First Time Good" in the glass industry,
  • An improved manufacturing process in biotech,
  • The redesign of a manufacturing tool in material industry, by solving different critical points,
  • And many others...

problem solved

Problem 2 Solutions