MouseHouseApp Blog

How to Innovate: define the problem and a solution will follow

Posted by Nabeel Ali

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I’ve been thinking about how some of the most successful scientific and technological developments came to fruition.  Who were the inventors? What did they set out to do? How did the idea hit them - was it through experience? Maybe an apple fell on their head (science urban-legend side note: Isaac Newton pondered gravity after observing a falling apple… but it never actually hit his head).  I thought about the greatest minds of our time and came to a conclusion: it all boils down to “the problem,” and “the solution.”

Innovation is about progress; it’s about finding or creating novel solutions. Properly defining “the problem” at hand is the most critical step to arriving at a solution (developing technology, making a discovery, advancing knowledge).  This idea is especially fundamental to the engineering sciences and was even championed by Einstein himself:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask: for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Dr. Einstein was wise - the greatest scientific / technological developments have indeed come from those who thoroughly understood “the problem.” Those with firsthand experience and full immersion were able to ask the right questions, establish relevant constraints, identify opportunities, and ultimately innovate novel solutions.

MouseHouse prides itself on this principle: the app that is “by scientists, for scientists.” As scientists, grad students, and laboratory personnel, we’ve experienced the day-to-day routine; we know the technical obstacles. MouseHouse is our solution.  We’ve harnessed our experiences to devise a solution to benefit not only ourselves, but the greater scientific community.


Contributed by Nabeel U. Ali

Nabeel Ali is a Medical Student and Engineer focused on improving healthcare through disruptive research, technology and venture. He is an award-winning and published researcher, and has received national attention for his medical technology innovations.  Outside of medical school, Nabeel serves as a Research Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Reviewer for the Journal of Digital Imaging, Contributing Writer for in-Training Magazine, and advises a number of technology start-ups.


Twitter: @NabeelUAli

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