According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus is a global emergency. To fight it, humans have to find a way to kill the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Two marketing agencies in Brazil have designed a novel way to do just that. They call it The Mosquito Killer Billboard. It's a great example of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. Here's how their innovation works:
Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job.
On any given day, it’s estimated that 1 in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes pneumonia; gastrointestinal illness; or infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream or surgical site.
Sadly, despite enormous resources aimed at preventing the problem, HAIs continue to result in infection and even death. Moreover, HAIs cost the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $35 billion annually, making it one of the biggest challenges facing hospital chief executive officers. Clearly, a new way of thinking about HAIs is needed.
Could creativity be as simple as following templates? In 1914 psychologist Wolfgang Köhler embarked on a series of studies about chimpanzees and their ability to solve problems. He documented the research in his book The Mentality of Apes. In one experiment, he took a newborn chimp and placed it in an isolated cage, before the newborn saw or made contact with other chimps. He named her Nueva.
Creativity is what you do in your head to generate an idea, while innovation is the process of putting it into practice. You need both to succeed, which may be why the number of new books on these topics seems to grow every year. Yet despite the popularity of this category and the steady stream of new books, I continue to go back to the classics, those books that actually taught me how to do it versus those books that just talked about it. Caution – these are not “light reads,” but they’re the ones I’ve learned the most from.
A new study by Philip Hans Franses of the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands may suggest the point in time when we reach our creative peak.
Franses examined the lifespans of 221 famous painters between 1800 and 2004, and estimated the year they created their most creative work based on the artist's most expensive painting ever sold. "For each of these artists, the most expensive painting was identified and taken as an indicator of peak creativity," Franses said in the study.
Brain measuringCanadian researchers found that areas in the reward center of the brain became active when people hear a song for the first time. The more the listener enjoys what they are hear, the stronger the connections are in the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The study is published in the journal Science.
How we judge a creative idea is affected by how we perceive its inventor. Without realizing it, we may overvalue or undervalue a new concept and make poor choices in the product development process as a result.
The New York Times published a list of "32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow," an eclectic mix of concepts that range from the wild and wacky like SpeechJammer (#14) to more practical ideas like a blood test for depression (#25).
I analyzed each of the 32 concepts to see which ones could be explained by the five patterns of Systematic Inventive Thinking. These patterns are the "DNA" of products that can be extracted and applied to any product or service to create new-to-the-world innovations. Dr. Jacob Goldenberg found in his research that the majority of successful innovations conform to one or more of these patterns. Conversely, the majority of unsuccessful innovations (those that failed in the marketplace) do not conform to a pattern.