Innovation in Practice Blog

January 16, 2017

Registration Open: Design Your Innovation Blueprint

I am pleased to announce that Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) – has opened registration for their upcoming flagship executive program, “Design Your Innovation Blueprint.” The event […]
January 10, 2017

Breaking the Barriers to Creative Thinking

What holds people back from being creative? Is it a lack of time? Do you not have a budget for doing creative work? Perhaps you work […]
January 2, 2017

2017 New Year’s Resolution: Be More Creative

Many people believe they’re not creative. So a natural question may be: why bother trying to be more creative? Well, there are lots of reasons – […]
December 13, 2016

Van Gogh Air BnB: 2016 Epica Gold Winner for Innovation

Established in 1987, Epica is the only prize in the area of creativity judged and awarded by journalists who work for marketing and communications magazines worldwide. […]
December 6, 2016

Innovation Sighting: The Subtraction Technique in Amazon Go

by Darla Wilkinson Amazon: it’s practically a household name in today’s world of online shopping. And their innovation efforts don’t stop short of brick-and-mortar retail. This […]
November 28, 2016

Innovation Sighting: Pearl RearVision Backup Camera and Alert System

Backing up your car in those cramped, hard-to-see spaces just got safer and easier, thanks to Pearl Automation’s innovative use of the Task Unification Technique. Task […]
November 21, 2016

The SIT Patterns in Thanksgiving Cooking Gadgets

by Darla Wilkinson (darla@drewboyd.com) For many people this week’s Thanksgiving celebration will mean endless shopping, prepping, and cooking in anticipation of the big feast. The hours […]
November 9, 2016

Practical Points on Critical Thinking

What exactly is critical thinking? Do we know how to define it, or better yet, to foster it in those we are teaching? In her article, […]
October 31, 2016

Innovation Sighting: Samsung’s Activewash Keeps It Clean Using Task Unification

The washing machine is a vital component to every modern-day household. And top-loaders often get lost in today’s sea of front-loading appliances. Using the Task Unification […]
October 24, 2016

Ways to Learn Creativity

Becoming more creative, even just a tiny bit, will enhance what you do every day, at work, at home, or anywhere. Let’s look at how you […]
February 6, 2012

The Patterns in Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl commercials capture our attention because they tend to be highly creative and well-produced. At $3.5 million dollars for a thirty second spot, Super Bowl advertisers need to create the best, most innovative commercials possible. To do that, they use patterns. Professor Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues discovered that 89% of 200 award winning ads fall into a few simple, well-defined design structures. Their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," defines eight of these structures and provides a step-by-step approach to use them. Here are the eight tools: 1. Unification 2. Activation 3. Metaphor 4. Subtraction 5. Extreme Consequence 6. Absurd Alternative 7. Inversion 8. Extreme Effort Let's see how yesterday's 2012 Super Bowl ads fit these patterns.
December 5, 2011

Marketing Innovation: Pants on Fire and the Metaphor Tool

Insurance companies continue to battle it out as the industry emerges from the global financial crisis. They are spending huge sums on national advertising to establish brand loyalty and earn trust. But consumers have a hard time distinguishing between the many undifferentiated insurance products. They tend to shop on price as a result. So insurance advertisers have to walk a fine line acknowledging the importance of price while slipping in their value propositions around service and other features. Here is an example from the long-running Progressive campaign featuring the lovable character, Flo. It uses the metaphor tool. The Metaphor is the most commonly used tool in marketing communications because it is a great way to attach meaning to a newly-launched product or brand. The Metaphor Tool takes a well-recognized and accepted cultural symbol and manipulates it to connect to the product, brand, or message.
November 28, 2011

The Remaking of Netflix

Netflix needs urgent change to stop the bleeding and rebuild its business model. It is running out of cash and losing support from customers and shareholders. Management must re-establish its credibility with bold moves. Here is a series of steps and techniques to do that.
November 21, 2011

The Voice of the Brand

Most people are surprised to hear that five simple patterns explain the majority of innovative products and services. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues discovered this surprising insight. It is similar to the notion of TRIZ which is a set of patterns for solving problems. Innovative products share common patterns because their inventors unknowingly followed them when generating new product ideas. These patterns become the DNA of products. You can extract the DNA and implant it into other products and services to create new innovations. We call it The Voice of the Product.
October 24, 2011

Academic Focus: John Hauser and the MIT Team

This month's Academic Focus features Professor John Hauser and the highly-regarded team at MIT. Perhaps no other university in the world stands for innovation as much as this one. MIT is an innovation powerhouse because of the way the faculty looks at innovation through multiple lens and collaborative approaches. MIT is great blend of innovation research, technology research, and commercialization research.
October 3, 2011

Marketing Innovation: Sharks to the Extreme

Great television commercials convey the right message in a creative way. They are memorable. The longer customers remember your commercial, the more cost effective the campaign. One way to make ads memorable is to make them funny and vivid. The Vividness Effect causes people to recall experiences and images that stand out in their minds. For example, sharks are scary, so they tend to be good choices to create vividness. But just showing sharks in a commercial is not enough. They have to be fused to the core marketing message - the value proposition. That is where you need a structured innovation process to channel the creativity process and regulate your thinking. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe eight such tools in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them. The tools are 1. Unification 2. Activation 3. Metaphor 4. Subtraction 5. Extreme Consequence 6. Absurd Alternative 7. Inversion and 8.Extreme Effort.
September 26, 2011

The LAB: Innovating a New Product Launch Campaign (September 2011)

Innovation methods are not just for inventing new products. Savvy marketers also apply structured innovation methods to the “big event” – the product launch campaign. Companies spend millions of dollars to get a product off to the right start. The launch of a new product can make or break it. Some companies excel at this. Memorable campaigns include Apple's launch of the iPhone, Microsoft's launch of Windows 95, and my all time favorite - Tickle Me Elmo - by Fisher Price. But a lot can go wrong with product launch, so marketers need ways to stand out from the crowd. Whether you have a big budget or small one, the use of a structured innovation method can take those dollars further and perhaps make the difference between success and failure. For this month’s LAB, we will demonstrate the use of Systematic Inventive Thinking to this critical aspect of marketing: the product launch.
September 12, 2011

Marketing Innovation: The Activation Tool Using Smartphones

The Activation Tool is one of the most effective but underused tools in advertising. Commercials based on this tool work well because they make your marketing message stand out in the sea of advertising. They engage the viewer to participate in the advertisement, either mentally or physically. Instead of just reading, watching, or listening to the message, the viewer is required to take an active part. This causes a dynamic sensory experience so memorable that the viewer is more likely to remember the commercial's main message. The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them.
August 8, 2011

Innovation and Brand Coherence

A quick and effective way to sort ideas generated during an innovation workshop is to apply brand coherence. This means grouping ideas around relevant themes that support new or existing brands. Ideation sessions can overwhelm you with hundreds of opportunities. Teams struggle with evaluating and selecting the best ideas if they do not apply this simple step first. Here is a suggested way to do it.
June 20, 2011

Marketing Innovation: Red Tape and The Inversion Tool

"Red tape" is defined as the collection or sequence of forms and procedures required to gain bureaucratic approval for something, especially when oppressively complex and time-consuming. That's how Southwest Airlines describes other airlines' frequent flyer programs versus its new Rapid Rewards program which has none of the traditional limitations like blackouts and point expiration. In a series of highly innovative commercials, Southwest demonstrates not one but two of the eight advertising tools described by Professor Jacob Goldenberg in "Cracking the Ad Code." These ads are flawlessly executed, funny, and memorable.