This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.

Daniel Kahnemann
Israeli psychologist and economist, Author of “Thinking fast and slow”

The method Heuristic Redrafting seeks to find solutions by redefining the problem, finding causes and connections of problems. This method is rooted in the idea that a challenge has to be understood as a system. The different constituting elements of that system are correlated. Generally, a solution is found by affecting at least one element in order to reach the desired balance in the system. For this to work, it will require people who have an intimate knowledge of the problem and it will most likely take you about three to four hours to find the right approaches.

Process of Heuristic Redrafting

  • Outline the desired end state!
  • Collect, describe and visualise the situation. Identify the constituting elements and the connections to each other.
  • Take each element and ask the question: How do you have to change the single element to achieve the desired end state? What other impacts would it have on the system? From this, you will achieve a set of possible paths you might take.
  • It is useful to analyse these paths using two criteria:
    • To what extent will the change of a specific element contribute to the desired endstate?
    • What effort and costs does this approach involve?


To think in writing is always a useful approach. You can use a board or a flipchart to trigger the thinking of a group of people – or even if you are alone it can help to have a distance from time to time. Furthermore, you have a recoding, which can be used for post-processing.

Often it helps if you leave the results for a while, i.e. take a break or sleep over it, and to come back with fresh mind to review, discuss, and perhaps finally decide on the ideas created.

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