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!

  • 1
    innovative redesign?
    – Spagirl
    Apr 25, 2017 at 21:12
  • How about path breaking or trailblazing?
    – thc
    Apr 25, 2017 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, 2017 at 21:22
  • "fallback solutions" is another phrase that comes to mind, but those sound decidedly like second choices.
    – Tom22
    Apr 25, 2017 at 21:25
  • 1
    Maybe you’re just re-engineering the pencil.
    – Jim
    Apr 25, 2017 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


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.

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