2 min read

Updated definition for problem

A small tweak to my definition inspired by the Formula for Change

November 4, 2023

Up until now the Problem Traversal Theory definition for problem has been...

A problem is when a sentient entity desires a thing to transition from a current state to a new state against resistance.

However, while sharing my ideas with a friend, I was pointed toward the Formula for Change, another idea with conceptual overlap with my theory like a handful of others.

The Formula for Change

Formula for Change is a structured approach to achieve successful change management, and looks like this...
C = D x V x FS > R

...and here’s what the variables mean:

  1. Change:
    What specific change do you want to make? What do you want to fix? Stop? Start? Learn?
  2. Discontent:
    What’s wrong? What’s broken? What is it about the present situation that is driving the desire to change?
  3. Vision:
    You cannot create what you cannot see. What is the preferred vision of the future worth creating?
  4. First/Next Steps:
    To implement the change you identified, what are the first/next few steps you need to take?
  5. Resistance:
    Who might want to stop this from happening and why? What can you do to possibly move them to letting or even making it happen?

Brief compare and contrast

Problem Traversal Theory has a similar concept of Resistance:

Resistance is the level of effort required for a thing to transition from one state to another.

...Change is in the current definition of Transition:

A transition is a thing’s change from one state to another.

...and Aims & Actions is directly related to the Vision and First/Next Steps ideas.

What the Formula for Change has that Problem Traversal Theory currently doesn't is Discontent.

This is what the creator believes spawns Desire.

The new definition

Ultimately, I feel Problem Traversal Theory will be more intuitive if I replace Transition for Change like so:

A problem is when a sentient entity desires a thing to change from a current state to a new state against resistance.

This update will force changes to my articles What a problem is and What a solution is as these are living documents at the center of the theory.

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