Innovation is a many faceted thing, isn’t it?
Definitions vary, as do outcomes, and our very feelings about Innovation.
It’s hard to have a conversation, much less a thought about Innovation without including Apple, Space X, Uber or Amazon Prime these days.
Aside from the amazing innovations we enjoy by these brands in durables, new consumer products, services, and beyond, just how do we arrive at these ideas?
After all, an innovation is an idea first.
Let’s dwell on this for a moment.
In our field of research, we are a simple and very meaningful component of the innovation lifecycle. But we aren’t just researchers, we are also creators; creators of ideas, and possibilities.
All great creations, like innovation, require a little bit of magic, and a good bit of logic, too. So how do we define innovation? Truly, where do great ideas come from?
We start by defining innovation as something new or different that is successfully brought into the world, creating a positive impact. Business growth and improved goodwill are among our favorite measuring sticks of success.
Great ideas and innovations are by nature something new, adaptive, or different, because innovation is about renewal at its’ very core. It’s about taking a fresh look at existing inventions or existing capabilities, to create anew.
As an innovation philosophy, we are fond of Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), developed in Israel in the mid 1990’s as a practical approach to creativity, innovation, and problem solving. Innovative professors Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, authors of Inside the Box, whom we openly and gratefully acknowledge, have adapted SIT. We’ll focus on this awesome adaptation from here forward.
At its’ core, SIT fosters two main areas of creativity, which are the very baseline of Innovation: Ideation of new ideas and Problem Solving. There are five simple tools for Systematic Inventive Thinking that we invite you to learn and embrace, as a means of approaching innovation at work, life or anywhere for that matter!
SIT is so magical and logical, that it’s hard to resist; we hope you’ll agree.
The five innovative approaches of Systematic Inventive Thinking:
- Subtraction: Elimination of the most essential component or attribute of an idea or product, potentially replaced by a contextual feature/benefit.
In other words, by removing a portion of an idea, product, or service, we can actually make it more relevant and differentiated for the consumer.
For example, consider the touch-less water faucet. By removing the faucet handles we now experience a faster, cleaner, hand-washing experience. That’s a benefit to smile about! If only we all had them in our homes, not just at work or the airport.
- Multiplication: Adding multiple copies of a component or benefit, varying or altering them for greater consumer benefit.
For example, consider razors and blades. Gillette Fusion ProGlide is a multiplication of blades that evokes the benefit of “gliding” instead of just shaving. Who doesn’t want a gliding razor?
- Division: The breaking down of a product or service into its’ component parts. This often manifests a reconfiguration of parts in a new and different way that creates a new benefit for the consumer.
An example is Apple TV. How did we make it this far without highlighting Apple?! It’s all the entertainment you choose and enjoy in a single, compact location. Movies, TV, Sports, News, in addition to your iTunes, iPhotos and more. It’s all available on your very own HD TV with Apple TV.
- Task Unification (or Addition): The unification or addition of two tasks or benefits within a single component or product. Or, by assigning a new task to an existing task, feature, or contextual element, a new product with more benefits is born!
An example is Square. Everyone carries a smart device, and everyone shops. Paying at a cash register and receiving the cumbersome receipt is an extra step, when it’s easy enough to just pay with a phone. By plugging in the Square device and downloading the app, the experience had at a cash register is quickly converted to a single swipe, with tree saving included, as a digital receipt goes directly to your phone as a text or email. The unification of seemingly different jobs into one single source is so sweet!
- Attribute Dependency: As one thing changes, another thing changes, yes? In other words, as a consumer demand or unmet need evolves, we must modify the existing relationship between a product attribute and the immediate environment to appease the consumer. Conversely, we can create a new link between a component/benefit and its context to create a better consumer experience.
This is the toughest one to define, we’ll agree and admit. The example though, is quite simple.
Consider Heinz Tomato Ketchup Dip & Squeeze. Ketchup is great. The ketchup sachet is a bit messy, tired, sticky, and limited. It never seems to open right, and it just doesn’t hold enough ketchup, causing more open and messy ketchup packets to wreak havoc on a child and parent alike, quite literally.
The Heinz Dip & Squeeze is the culmination of a tired delivery vehicle, (the sachet) and the need to present more benefits (dipping for starters, or squeezing with less mess) with the product itself.
Busy parents are prone to a drive-through for the kiddos every now and then.
Ketchup explosions are an accepted consumer belief when delivered in a sachet. The desire to dip or squeeze is alleviated by this new industrial ketchup design. The benefits are greater, as is the experience for the consumer and parent who are quite tired of cleaning up ketchup stains. Fan-favorite for our family, to the point that our children only want to eat at fast-food joints that carry the Dip & Squeeze!
These five tools are a go-to source of creativity and innovation know-how that we are happy to cultivate and measure with our various overnight tools. Ideas Overnight, and now Concepts Overnight are simply awaiting your innovative idea inputs!
“You see things and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were and I say, “Why Not?” – George Bernard Shaw.
We couldn’t agree more. Onward, Innovators!