The computer science book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides) has a flock of thoughtful suggestions about how to solve complex problems, starting with:
One thing expert designers know not to do is solve every problem from first principles. Rather, they reuse solutions that have worked for them in the past. When they find a good solution, they use it again and again. Such experience is part of what makes them experts. ...
Specifically, the authors identify four key elements of a useful design pattern. Quoting from Section 1.1:
In the final "Conclusion" chapter of Design Patterns the authors talk about "The Pattern Community" and the roots of their work, in architecture, from the book A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al. The metaphor of pattern languages, likely, has value in many domains.
(cf. CommonCompSciSense (2002-12-08), ...) - ^z - 2013-12-12