Next one I might mention is the idea of structural analysis of a problem. Suppose you have your problem here and a solution here. You may have two big a jump to take. What you can try to do is to break down that jump into a large number of small jumps. If this were a set of mathematical axioms and this were a theorem or conclusion that you were trying to prove, it might be too much for me try to prove this thing in one fell swoop. But perhaps I can visualize a number of subsidiary theorems or propositions such that if I could prove those, in turn I would eventually arrive at this solution. In other words, I set up some path through this domain with a set of subsidiary solutions, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on, and attempt to prove this on the basis of that and then this one the basis of these which I have proved until eventually I arrive at the path S.

Many proofs in mathematics have been actually found by extremely roundabout processes. A man starts to prove this theorem and he finds that he wanders all over the map. He starts off and prove a good many results which don’t seem to be leading anywhere and then eventually ends up by the back door on the solution of the given problem; and very often when that’s done, when you’ve found your solution, it may be very easy to simplify; that is, to see at one stage that you may have short-cutted across here and you could see that you might have short-cutted across there.

The same thing is true in design work. If you can design a way of doing something which is obviously clumsy and cumbersome, uses too much equipment; but after you’ve really got something you can get a grip on, something you can hang on to, you can start cutting out components and seeing some parts were really superfluous. You really didn’t need them in the first place.

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