As engineers, we’re asked to find solutions - to easy problems, to complex problems, to singular problems, to multi-faceted problems. And as engineers, problem-solving is what we enjoy. We’re natural puzzle-piecers, and we like to think analytically, strategically, and critically to find the best course of action for resolving an issue.
However, as Veritasium would testify, it is important not to get bogged down in the question and to think about problem-solving from more than one angle. Take, for example, a site that combines rainwater harvesting, stormwater detention, and rain gardens to offset impervious surface while at the same time feeding landscaping and operating toilets and maintenance water functions .
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Or, a porous pavement system that combines sandy soils and porous pavers with an underground pipe system to de-flood a critical intersection while simultaneously adding character to a downtown block .
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It is important to remember that not all problems are fitted to the same solution and that while there are simple problems with simple solutions, there are also simple problems with unique solutions.
This Veritasium video, titled "Can You Solve This?” demonstrates this principle perfectly. Check it out. Can you solve the problem? And remember, when you call an engineer to design a solution, call an engineer who will take the time to find the right answer, not just the easiest answer.
Emily Murphy, CPSM, MA