"A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved." - John Dewey
When we're tasked to come up with an innovative solution to a loosely thought through problem, it's natural to just start firing out possible solutions. I'm guilty of doing it myself.
We don't spend enough time making sure we understand the problem or finding a way to re-frame the problem.
To illustrate here's a real life example:
A group was tasked to come up with a cost effective incubator for premature babies in developing countries. Trying to bring down the cost of these extremely expensive machines you see in hospitals was proving to be quite difficult.
They went back to revisit the challenge and with a little research they realized that the purpose of the incubator is to keep the baby warm.
With that new information they changed their problem statement from "How to do we design a cheaper incubator?" to "How do we keep babies warm?"
What came out of it was a baby-sized sleeping bag.
It looks nothing like the incubator you would see in a hospital.