I am seeking for a word to describe coming up with new paths to the same destination. I'm writing about engineers who, among other things, are trying to find new ways to build/create the same things as already exist. For example, they might want to find many new ways to build a pencil, but that end up with the SAME PENCIL at the end.

I've flirted with refinement, but that implies getting better, and they're not always trying to improve the method, just expand and explore new ones.

Other words that seem related: variety, path proliferation, revamping, overhaul... I've even made up a word (I think) "optioning"

I am contrasting this to inventing, as in coming up with a way to make something totally new (like inventing a plane), and exploring, as in combining two things just to see what happens (think of combining two chemicals with no idea of what is going to happen). Then there's this, which is trying to find new ways to make the same thing...

I'm lost. Please help!

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • 1
    innovative redesign? – Spagirl Apr 25 '17 at 21:12
  • How about path breaking or trailblazing? – thc Apr 25 '17 at 21:17
  • I'm toying with suggesting the word "redundancy" but struggling with the right words to go with it: "robust solution redundancy" ? I'll keep thinking – Tom22 Apr 25 '17 at 21:22
  • "fallback solutions" is another phrase that comes to mind, but those sound decidedly like second choices. – Tom22 Apr 25 '17 at 21:25
  • 1
    Maybe you’re just re-engineering the pencil. – Jim Apr 25 '17 at 22:05

I might suggest: diversifying solutions or solution diversification or "method diversification" OR (edit) diversified approaches

"supply chain diversification" or "diversifying suppliers" are common business terms that you'll read about in consultant reports or hear on quarterly conference calls.

Here is an article on "supply chain diversification" to get a sense: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_chain_diversification

It is an accepted premise that large corporations should try manage risk (political, casualty etc) and maintain some bargaining leverage by making sure than even specialized parts/components can be bought from more than one supplier in one country.

I think borrowing from similar widely used phrase might be a good approach.

protected by tchrist Apr 26 '17 at 17:09

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.