Innovation in Practice Blog

December 15, 2020

Where There’s Hope, There’s Creativity: The 5 Modes of Hoping

Do you feel like you’re never going to get any creative stuff going?  Well, never lose hope – because hope is a prerequisite to be creative. […]
December 8, 2020

What Makes Something Creative? The Characteristics of Highly Innovative Ideas

What is it about some products and services that make them more innovative and more creative than other products?  What is their secret ingredient? Well, it […]
December 1, 2020

Have You Reached Your Creative Peak?

Do you feel you’ve reached your optimum level of creativity? If not, when is that going to happen? And if yes, how do maintain that level […]
November 24, 2020

Finding Your Creative Sweet Spot: How to Make an Idea More Appealing

Not all ideas are equal. Some are okay, some are great. But don’t just throw those okay ideas away. The key is to find that creative […]
November 17, 2020

Six Best Books on Creativity: The Classics that Teach the How and Not the Why

If you like creativity and innovation, there are a lot of great books out there that cover just a wide range of topics. So how do […]
November 10, 2020

The Myth of Outside the Box Thinking: Why Brainstorming and Other Such Techniques Are Your Worst Enemy

How many brainstorming sessions have you been in? What really came out of it? What was the process like for you? How did you feel about […]
November 3, 2020

Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Be More Creative

If you think innovation is only for adults, well, you’re wrong – because kids can just be as innovative as adults are, even more sometimes.  Here […]
October 27, 2020

Learning the Powerful, Yet Abstract Method of Attribute Dependency

Attribute Dependency is one of the five techniques of the SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) method.  Just to give you an idea, think of your home thermostat […]
October 20, 2020

The Myth of Post-it Notes and Other Serendipitous Inventions: Why Pure Chance is Not Your Creative Friend

Chocolate chip cookies, penicillin, Velcro, microwave ovens, the game of basketball, and Post-It Notes. What do they have in common? Well, those products were invented completely […]
October 13, 2020

The Subtraction Technique: The Creative Power of Taking Elements Away

Subtraction is the removal of an essential core element rather than the addition of new systems or functions.  Like all the other techniques of the Systematic […]
February 20, 2010

The LAB: Innovating an Aquarium Using S.I.T. (February 2010)

There are a 183 million pet fish in the United States, more than double the number of dogs. Fourteen million U.S. households have fish. During the past decade, the pet fish category grew by more than 20% making it one of the fastest growing in the industry. For this month's LAB, we will apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to the mainstay of fish keeping - the aquarium. Here are five unique aquarium concepts invented by one of my graduate students, Janette Douglas, at the University of Cincinnati as part of her final exam in "Applied Marketing Innovation." For the this exam, each student was given a product randomly. They had three hours to create new-to-the-world concepts and demonstrate proficiency using each of the templates.
March 8, 2010

Innovation Sighting: The Division Template on a Cell Phone

LG Electronics is getting ready to announce their third annual Design the Future Competition. Last year, more than 800 entries were submitted by consumers with their take on the future of mobile communications. The winning entry is the focus of this month's Innovation Sighting.
May 24, 2010

The LAB: Innovating Water Access in Developing Countries (May 2010)

Shortage of water may become a more catastrophic problem than food or energy shortage according to experts. The problem affects developing as well as developed countries including the U.S.. For this month's LAB, we will look at how the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., can be used to address such a serious issue. The following ideas were developed by students at the University of Cincinnati working on the PUR water filtration system from Procter & Gamble. They are excellent examples of purpose-driven innovation. You can download the team's complete portfolio here.
June 21, 2010

The LAB: Innovating the Lego with S.I.T. (June 2010)

I just had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Seren Lund present at the PharmaBrand Summit in Monaco. He is the Senior Marketing Director of Product and Marketing Development at the Lego Group. He told the amazing story about how Lego markets their product and leverages the power of their user community to create innovation and growth. It prompted me to search the blogosphere for other stories about Lego, and I can see that the company is quite popular. Blogging Innovation, Endless Innovation, Stefan Lindgard, and various others have written useful blog posts about Lego.. Rather than talk about Lego and its innovation, I decided to apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to the basic Lego product – the 2x6 brick. I created these new embodiments during the two hour break following Seren’s presentation. With a bit of research, I learned there are some 24,000 SKU’s. While I have some general knowledge about the product (having purchased it for my son), I must admit I do not know a great deal. So it would not surprise me to find that I created ideas that already exist.
October 25, 2010

Innovation Sighting: Innovating Political Elections with Division

The Division template of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., works by listing the components of the product or service, then dividing out a component either physically, functionally, or by preserving the characteristics of the whole. Here is a unique example of the Division template with political elections. This idea comes from innovation consultant, Lauchlan Mackinnon, in his blog, Think Differently!!.
January 10, 2011

The LAB: Innovating the Book with S.I.T. (January 2011)

Book publishing faces turbulent times. While the market is growing, key parts of the business model are coming apart at the seams. Market segments are fragmenting, price points are changing, channel power is shifting, and barriers to entry are lowering. Even the definition of "a book" is in question. Is it the medium (printed pages between two pieces of cardboard, electronic, online)? Or is it the message (the story, the characters, the themes)? When an industry faces turmoil, there is only one thing to do - innovate! For this month's LAB, lets innovate the plain old, everyday book, an idea that goes back 5000 years. We will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T.. It is based on five patterns. We use the patterns to create hypothetical, abstract "solutions." Then we work backwards from the solution to try and identify potential problems that it solves. This works well because there is an asymmetry in people's thought process effectiveness when it comes to creativity. People are more fluent and easier with searching for benefits for given configurations than finding the best configuration for a given benefit or function. The term for it is called Function Follows Form.
February 21, 2011

Innovation Sighting: The Division Template on Music

The power of the SIT method lies in the fact that inventors, for thousands of years, have embedded five simple patterns into their inventions, usually without knowing it. 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. Here is an example of an innovator working diligently to create a new innovation in the field of music - called "Music for Shuffle." The inventor, Matthew Irvine Brown, is using the Divison technique to create musical phrases that can be played together in any random order. The phrases interlock with each other to create a continuous stream of music - a song. Listen:
February 28, 2011

The LAB: Innovating Inflight Services with S.I.T. (February 2011)

Airline service innovation seems like an oxymoron considering the industry's reputation for low quality. But the industry is fighting back to improve its image. Companies that specialize in inflight entertainment as well as airframe manufacturers are accelerating the use of new technologies to deliver more value in the air. That's good news for an industry that has focused way too long on cost-cutting. The next battle for supremacy will be won by airlines and aviation companies that innovate services across the experiential "journey" in a sustained way. For this month's LAB, we will create new-to-the-world concepts for the inflight service experience using the S.I.T. tool set. We begin by creating a list of the components of the product or service. We select a component and we further break it down to its sub-components or attributes that we can focus on. We then apply a tool to that component to change it in some way. Working backwards ("Function Follows Form"), we envision potential benefits of the modified service to both the customer and the company. Here is a list of components:
March 7, 2011

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation was one of many hot topics at Innovation Suite 2011. The conference hosted thirty two invitees from nine countries and a variety of companies including GE, Bayer, Kraft, and SAP. On the minds of many was how to create new business models to transform a company and move to higher ground. Business Model Innovation is defined as follows (from Wikipedia): Business model innovation results in an entirely different type of company that competes not only on the value proposition of its offerings, but aligns its profit formula, resources and processes to enhance that value proposition, capture new market segments and alienate competitors. Here are four ways to conceptualize a new business model:
April 25, 2011

The LAB: Innovating Cosmetics with S.I.T. (April 2011)

The cosmetic industry thrives on innovation and fashion design especially in the areas of product development and retail merchandising. It generates nearly US$200 billion worldwide and is growing. For this month's LAB, we will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new innovations for lipstick, a product that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. S.I.T. works by taking one of the five patterns (subtraction, task unification, division, multiplication, and attribute dependency) and applying it to an existing product or service. This morphs it into a "virtual product," which is an abstract, ambiguous notion with no clear purpose. We then work backwards (Function Follows Form) to find new and useful benefits or markets for the virtual product. Here are five innovations created by *students at the University of Cincinnati as part of the innovation tools course.