NON ZERO RATIO symbolizes beautiful (win-win) reasoning using our grey matter.

RATIO refers to the use of reasoning, logic as the basic element of problem-solving.

NON ZERO refers to non zero sum games (game theory) : co-operation (win-win) is essential to maximum result result.

NON ZERO RATIO thus refers to thinking in a co-operative win-win framework.

Metaphorically, NON ZERO is a barred zero, and represented by the capital Greek symbol Phi :Phi, the golden ratio

Phi also represents the golden ratio, the number associated with beauty, ubiquiteous in nature, famous for instance for the sun flower pit arrangement.

Non Zero Ratio implies a way of problem-solving that is logic-driven (common sense) rather than creativity-driven.

This way of problem-solving is offered as service to companies in the areas of business development, innovation and strategic projects, but the approach inherently can be applied to any challenge.



About Piet Holbrouck

Piet Holbrouck completed his Master in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Ghent but preferred the hands-on working in industry, so started working in 1986 at OIP Optics as project manager on defence and space projects.

From 1988 onwards, he managed many space projects at Verhaert(now QinetiQ Space) for Eureca, Spacelab, MIR etc.

From 1998 to 2001, he led the Verhaert Group in its innovation in space activities and innovative product development as b2b service. He successfully endorsed and realised the development of Belgium's first small satellite for ESA in less than 4 years, half the normal duration. Launched in 2001, it is still operating and key to successful follow-on small-sat missions such as the Proba-V satellite.

Working with Goldratt's Thinking Processes on conflicts, contradictions and undesirable effects, he realized an odd contradiction :

On one hand, problem-solving is the most needed discipline in the world - society, business and personal lives, and there is a considerable "body of knowledge" on this subject. But on the other hand, it is not applied at all by experts : politicians don't havea Master Master in Problem-Solving as this simply does not exist while you can get a degree in virtually any other discipline.

This contradiction defines the Non Zero Ratio Vision :

A vision of a world that explicitly recognizes adequate win-win problem-solving and decision-making processes as the key to overcome the world's challenges.

Why is problem-solving so needed yet so unrecognized, absent?

When looking to the past, one pattern is consistent : major breakthroughs are associated with paradigm changes: something all experts thought was certainly true appeared to be not true, so they were all wrong...

Today more than in the past, our society operates on and applies expertise, the knowledge to do what is right to do. But today as in the past, problem-solving probes and questions the fundamental assumptions, the taboos so is a threat to authorities driven by their expertise: they are not allowed to be wrong so their fundamentals cannot really be questioned. How in such a world to teach the fundamentals of problem-solving?

This outlines the Non Zero Ratio Mission :

Improve the problem-solving process by developing and demonstrating a coherent problem-solving approach, so that authorities, experts, scientists and invividuals cannot but recognize its value and thus hold stronger to the problem-solving processes than to their expertise and personal convictions.

He left the Verhaert Group in 2002 and started the development of a generic problem-solving toolbox, along a twofold path :

(1) to develop and demonstrate a toolbox to solve problems using win-win rational thinking (the Non Zero Ratio Mission); This toolbox defines the balance between expertise and problem-solving (i.e. when to apply expertise and when to apply problem-solving processes) and provides an approach on problem-solving that is based upon a rational problem-solving process ("PANDORA") that can only be adequately applied when adopting also a specific problem-solving behaviour, the "Non Zero behavior".

(2) to provide management services using the acquired knowledge and expertise, as a means to meantime ensure income. These are in the fields of management and innovation, but can be applied to any challenge or any area with a high degree of uncertainty or lack of understanding (e.g. key problems in lean production environments).

Piet Holbrouck was Visiting Professor at University of Antwerp Management School in Product Innovation & Entrepreneurship from 2007 to 2010 with courses on problem-solving, decision-making in uncertaity and the monitoring of developments.

NON ZERO RATIO has provided services to companies such as OIP, Barco, AB InBev, ESSP, Media Lario Technologies(I), InnoGenetics (now Fujirebio), Owens Corning (F), Verhaert New Products & Services, ATG Europe (NL) and Radiolab from Radboud University Nijmegen (NL).

Piet Holbrouck is Affilliated Member of the ECCO (Evolution, Complexity and COgnition) Interdisciplinary Research Center, that is affiliated with Center Leo Apostel and the Global Brain Institute - all at the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

Visit Piet Holbrouck's profile on LinkedIn