You’ve decided to check out some of the MITRE Innovation Toolkit (ITK) methods for creative problem solving, but not sure where to start? A list of 24 oddly named tools (“What the heck is a TRIZ Prism?”) dauntingly stares back at you. Don’t worry – we can help find the right tool for you!

Start by asking yourself some questions about your project or problem. Is the team just getting started, or are things well under way? What are you looking to accomplish? Where are you trying to go? When we work directly with ITK users, these are some of the questions we use to figure out how we can best help.

Once you’ve got a sense of where you are and where you’re heading, click over to the Categories page. There you’ll find groupings based on where you are in your process.

 You’ll notice that while one of the categories is “Generate Ideas,” our toolkit offers methods that go far beyond brainstorming. For example, tools in the “Frame Problem” category help are usually most relevant early in the process. In contrast, the tools in the Reduce Complexity category tend to be particularly helpful at a project’s later stages.

 Project teams often struggle to articulate the problem they’re trying to solve or have varying definitions amongst the team members. If that’s where you’re at, the Problem Framing tool can help build consensus. Other times, teams lack a good understanding of their users – that’s where the Persona tool comes in. And if complexity is getting out of control, try Trimming.

 Here’s a final tip: each tool’s description includes a brief explanation of When and Why to use it. You may want to browse through the collection and see what catches your attention.

 And of course, feel free to reach out to usat any time!

Post by Rachel Gregorio