SIT

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The 2nd of 5 Dominant Patterns in Innovation – Task Unification

Defy the Voice of the Customer, the traditional cornerstone of Marketing and Innovation, and consider the power of the Voice of the Product instead.

In Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) we turn traditional customer-centric thinking upside down and we focus on the existing product. We center our thinking around the existing situation and systematically manipulate it to generate new ideas. Only after we have found an idea, we look for potential customer demand. With a possible solution in hand, we research patterns of customer behavior, tension points or unmet needs. We start with a solution and then identify the problem.

When we talk about the existing situation, we not only consider products, but also services, processes and business models. For simplicity sake, we will use the term “product” in our examples.

The existing situation is considered in its immediate environment, the imaginary box, or, as the founders of the method call it, the Closed World. A product only becomes meaningful and adds value in the context in which it is used. To illustrate this, imagine a simple product: a screwdriver. In the immediate environment of the screwdriver we could find a picture frame that needs hanging, a wall, screws, a toolbox with other tools, and a person. This is what we consider the Closed World of the screwdriver. We will talk more about this in upcoming posts, but the basic concept will suffice for now.

The pattern that we will discuss today is called Task Unification. In this approach, an existing resource of a product gets an additional task that was previously carried out by something else. Let’s have a look at a few examples.

 

Have you ever noticed how much waste is left behind in the park after a picnic? This makes parks look unattractive, it can cause health issues and it is a general concern for park management. CleanPicnic has created a picnic blanket that people can pick up for free at the entrance of the park. It not only serves as a nice picnic blanket, but it is designed in such a way that it can also be used as a waste bag to collect all waste after the picnic. The picnic blanket has been given the additional task of collecting waste.

 

Another great example of Task Unification is the Defender 24/7. This is a new personal protection system that not only takes down the attacker with […]

By |October 21st, 2016|2016, Blog|0 Comments

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

Recognizing proven innovation patterns in Netflix

Netflix fundamentally changes the way we watch movies and shows. We now have a vast number of shows available that we can watch at any time we like, anywhere, on any device. We can play and pause at will and create favorite lists. Start binging ladies and gentlemen!

Netflix (NFLX) is one of the most successful dot-com ventures ever with a current market capitalization of around 27 Billion dollars. In just over a year after its introduction in the Netherlands in September 2013, the national Netflix subscriber base has reached the 700,000 mark.

netflix

The conditions in The Netherlands are very favorable for Netflix. The fast growth in the Netflix customer base is in part fueled by the widespread availability of broadband internet and high-speed 4G/LTE mobile networks. Moreover, smartphone penetration in the country is expected to pass 50% in the near future.

And there are other factors that make Netflix successful. In their book Inside the Box, Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg describe five underlying patterns that account for the majority of successful highly innovative products. They have called the method: Systematic Inventive Thinking, or SIT.

All five SIT patterns can be recognized in the Netflix service and business model when we compare it to traditional television. We will briefly look at a few of those patterns.

Let’s start with the Subtraction pattern, the pattern in which is a component that was formerly thought of as being essential has been removed. Notice that there are no commercial breaks anymore? Commercials have been taken out of the business model, they are no longer needed and the absence of it creates new benefits. We can now enjoy an uninterrupted program.

Let’s build on that: an uninterrupted program that can be paused and resumed at will. Something that wasn’t possible with traditional television in the past. The SIT pattern that you can see at work here is called Division. The viewer has the ability to divide the service over time. He can now decide himself when it’s time to get a cup of coffee instead of having to wait for the commercial break. That’s a great benefit.

The last pattern we will discuss here is Attribute Dependency. In this pattern, a dependency between two variables is created or removed. Consider the location where you needed to be in order […]

By |February 10th, 2015|2015, Blog|0 Comments