iPod Touch

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The 1st of 5 Dominant Patterns in Innovation – Subtraction

Up to 70% of successful innovations can be explained by a mere five fundamental underlying patterns.

Scientific research has led to identifying these five patterns and the development of an ideation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking, or SIT. The method has proven to be very valuable to companies around the world and many new products, services and business models have been generated by its users.

In this series of articles we will explain each of the five patterns illustrated with many examples and we will discuss the underlying principles of the method. Applied systematically, the approach will help you generate creative ideas for innovation on-demand.

When thinking about innovation, people generally like to add functionality to a device or complement a business model with extra services. Even though this approach had led to great new products and services, it typically generates only incremental benefits that come at substantial costs. One of the five dominant patterns in innovation is about doing the exact opposite. We call this pattern Subtraction.

The Subtraction technique is all about removing components from a product, a service or a business model. By eliminating something from the existing product configuration, we are creating a new product that could generate value. So we take away a component of the product, but not just any component. Not just a little screw of a machine or a single TV channel in a cable service. No, we remove something essential, something that we have always considered fundamental.

Think about a kitchen stove for a moment. What would be the most essential component of this product? The gas burners, right? Now let’s boldly remove those. That’s what we do when we apply the Subtraction technique.

When we use any of the five SIT-patterns, we always start by creating a list of the essential components of the product. Then we select a component and mentally remove it from the product. What we get is a virtual product, in our case a “gas burner-less kitchen stove”. The next step is to consider the potential benefits that this virtual product could have for our customers, for a specific market segment or in a certain geography. What problems could it potentially solve? If we do find benefits, it means that our virtual product has potential value and we can take it a step further. If we do not find any benefits, we simply move on, select another component […]

By |October 17th, 2016|2016, Blog|0 Comments

The 5 dominant patterns in Innovation

What does the majority of successful innovations have in common? Desirability, uniqueness, functionality? Perhaps. But did you know that these innovations are based on just five distinctive underlying patterns? That’s correct, only a handful of patterns accounts for the largest chunk of innovations that have achieved success in the marketplace.

Does that mean that creative ideas and innovations are predictable? To a certain extent they are.

So, if systematic patterns can be found in up to 70% of successful innovations, why not actively apply those very patterns in the process of idea generation for innovation? That would make perfect sense. Not only does this generate a lot of new and creative ideas, it also implies that the new ideas for products, services or business models that we come up with, ultimately will have a higher likelihood of successful market introduction.

Ground-breaking academic research has led to identifying these five patterns and the development of an ideation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking, or SIT. The method has proven to be very valuable to companies around the world and many new products, services and business models have been generated by its users.

The method is intuitive and counter-intuitive at the same time, it’s easy to use and it generates great results if applied systematically and rigorously. Even on a Monday morning at 8 am. Imagine how that could impact your organization!

In the upcoming articles we will explain each of the five patterns illustrated with many examples and we will discuss the underlying principles of the method. To give you a taste of what’s ahead, here are the five patterns and some real-life examples to help bring them alive.

Subtraction

apple-ipod-touch

Check out this example of the Subtraction pattern here

 

Division

philips-usb

Check out this example of the Division pattern here

 

Multiplication

bodum-espresso-cup

Check out this example of the Multiplication pattern here

 

Task Unification

defender 24/7

Check out this example of the Task Unification pattern here

 

Attribute Dependency

nike-transitions

Check out this example of the Attribute Dependency pattern here

FlyWheel Business is expert on Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). Interested to […]

By |October 10th, 2016|2016, Blog|0 Comments

Creativity Consulting & Systematic Inventive Thinking

Fragment of interview on Creativity and Innovation Consulting with Rotterdam School of Management/Erasmus University (www.rsm.nl) as part of the Innovatio

By |September 29th, 2016|2016, video|0 Comments

Stop trying to always do more in innovation

Whenever you feel the need to add something, do exactly the opposite.

One of the most common approaches to product innovation is to keep on adding functionality: “our newest product now also has this feature, plus it can …”. And-and-and. We all know the examples. But what happens is that by adding features, the product becomes more complex and sometimes even too complex for its users. Besides, consumers often are not aware of the full range of a product’s features and a lot of functionality remains unused. This type of innovation typically offers companies only a small incremental benefit that comes at huge costs.

The proverb “less is more” is generally true, also in innovation. If you feel like you have to do more to prove your point, think again. The answer often is to do less.

Instead of adding new features and components, start thinking about which elements you can remove. Take away something that is considered essential to the product: remove the glass of a bottle, eliminate the voice calling functionality from a phone, take away the screen of an umbrella……. It is not about cutting costs, but finding new benefits and creating new value in the marketplace. Innovation is all about creating new value and ideally a lot of it.

sub

This subtraction principle also generates great new ideas when applying it to business models. Chances are that you have rented a car before. Imagine a traditional car rental company and boldly start eliminating some of the essential elements of the value proposition. Let’s remove the pick-up and drop-off locations, next take away the choice of cars and eliminate the minimum duration of rental. What new benefits can you generate? What new value can you capture? What potential new business model do you get?

Next time you get your team together to come up with new ideas for your products, resist the temptation to add something to the product. Instead, systematically remove essential components and ask yourself the following question over and over again: “what new benefits could potentially be created by eliminating this element?”. You will be surprised by the great number of creative ideas that are generated and that may lead to discovering new opportunities.

 

© Ernst-Jan van Batenburg, FlyWheel Business


Please check out www.flywheelbusiness.com for more information on our innovation & consulting services. […]

By |May 20th, 2015|2015, Blog|0 Comments