Pittsburgh Technical Council

Problem Solutions Accelerates the Path from Idea to Innovation

Problem Solutions Accelerates the Path from Idea to Innovation

Article Published: May 4, 2017

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When you come up with a solution to a problem, but the problem you’re solving really isn’t the true problem – well, that can be a problem.

Making sure companies don’t waste time and resources addressing anything but the core, true, actual problems they face is the reason the aptly named Problem Solutions organization exists.

“Based on earlier experiences of being involved in research projects, we became interested in discovering an accelerated path from ideas to innovation,” said Mike Hruska, Problem Solutions President and CEO.  “What we found is that the most effective solutions came from outside the domain where the problem exists. That’s what our company is and what it does – we’re strategy and technology mercenaries.

“Our business is helping people articulate their problem, to solve it quickly,” he said.  “If we articulate problems well, the solution is right in the middle, it becomes obvious. We have developed a 100-point method to identify the right problem, then we draw on our elite talent, experience and imagination to solve that problem and create award-winning products.”

The list of accomplishments racked up by Problem Solutions proves Hruska’s claims.

Angler – Problem Solutions took the time to fully understand an idea developed by this company’s founders to provide smartphone-based technology and information access to help fishermen improve their catches and maximize the use of their equipment.  By building a tech app specific to that issue, Problem Solutions helped Angler achieve placement of its product into major retail outlets like Dick’s Sporting Goods within 10 months of the initial discussion.

The Experience API (xAPI) – xAPI tracks the invisible data not being collected by standard testing methods, such as how a person interacts with a testing simulation and levels of learner improvement.  After receiving federal funding, Problem Solutions developed the resulting xAPI software, which has set a new standard, changing the marketplace for such programs with the potential to impact K-12 classrooms, corporate training, government testing and industrial applications with a single product.

pressboxmedia.net – Problem Solutions helped this Johnstown-based company develop a system that allows sports information directors to easily, accurately and automatically distribute news releases about college athletes to their hometown media.  It took only three months to build software capable of attracting and serving these collegiate customers.

Having recently doubled in size and moved into a new facility, Hruska’s group looks to double again within five years by attracting more Fortune 500 clients, driven by investors who want to reduce risk.  And it all starts with working on the right problem in the first place.

“We are not computers in a building, we grow solely because of people,” he said.  “That trust and rapport we build with customers comes from creation, not emulation.  We think of every project like a band, every player contributes to make the sound powerful.”

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