Charles Kettering (1876 – 1958) was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive inventions were the electrical starting motorand leaded gasoline. In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant for refrigeration and air conditioning systems, as well as for the development of Duco lacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass-produced automobiles. While working with the Dayton-Wright Company he developed the “Bug” aerial torpedo, considered the world’s first aerial missile. He led the advancement of practical, lightweight two-stroke diesel engines, revolutionizing the locomotive and heavy equipment industries.
Charles Kettering knew how to solve problems! He is the author of one of my favorite quotes:
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved”
The genius of problem solving is to know the real problem we are trying to solve. Let’s not accept the problem definition handed to us from others…we need to step back, examine it for ourselves, and ask “What is this the REAL problem?”
- “We need to grow our business” vs. “How do we increase our Profit Margins by 10%”?
- “The server is down” vs. “I can’t open my Outlook email account”
- “The web site is broken” vs. “There is a link on the home page that points to the wrong location”
- “Our marriage is rocky” vs. “How can we improve our conflict resolution skills?”
Thanks for listening.