An authentic solution:
-       emerges out of its environment, rather than being imposed from above. In large companies or government organizations, imposition from above is a persistent problem. Intervention at the food importer succeeded because the solution crystallized from conversations with all sides, and was recommended by a third party, rather than being imposed by either the Board or managers.
-       is sustainable without exceptional effort. When you go for a quick fix, you often find that the same problem returns with greater force not long afterwards, in a different guise. This doesn’t happen when you apply authentic solutions, since a fundamental issue has been resolved.
-       is respectful to people and planet. WH Smith trusted their customers and so, were willing to try the honesty box. A solution like that makes everyone feel better about themselves.
-       is affordable. Indeed, authentic solutions often cost far less than conventional ones, as was the case with Ricardo Semler’s answer to his theft problems – that cost nothing.
-       matches the complexity of the problem. An authentic solution addresses fundamental causes, whereas superficial solutions (quick fixes) merely scratch the surface. Thus the solution may be complex, if the situation merits it.  It shouldn’t be complicated, which is a very different quality (complicated is the opposite of simple
-    while something can be both simple and complex). Very often an authentic solution will have an elegant simplicity, like a well-designed spade or teapot.
note:  excerpts taken from an article from the original author, Patrick Andrews, a creative problem solver and business advisor.