An innovation by its very nature is targeted at a particular problem and as such it can be viewed as a solution to a problem. From a broader perspective, there has been a tremendous amount of innovation from the past and these innovations continue to yield advances in various fields even sometimes creating new disciplines all together. A problem is circumstance specific in a sense what one person or perhaps society defines as problem is not a problem to another person or society. This has the implications that not all solutions can be universally applied to all the problems there are. Perhaps of greater concern is the fact that solving a problem is not necessarily the end of the story but instead there is a great possibility that today’s solutions will form the basis of a problem that will need a solution in the future.
The engineering disciplines have a set of rules that all professionals in the field follow in order to develop and implement solutions to problems. While these principles are an abstraction of best practices based on experience in the past, they also take into account the context within which they are applied. The effect of this understanding is that engineers need to understand their context when they think of solutions to problems; this makes sense because there are advantages in the environment that will make the solution long lasting and even less disruptive to its surrounding. Though it is sometimes necessary to disrupt an environment in order to introduce advances but generally people are not inclined to take up any radical and sudden change in how they approach life. A successful problem solver thinks outside the box and is also aware of the box that he/she is in and in combining these two views come up with the most appropriate solution to the problem at hand.