Here is an example of two innovation templates in one product. The Double Down sandwich from KFC removes the traditional bread slice (demonstrating the template, Subtraction), and it assigns the additional job of "sandwiching" to the two slices of fried chicken (demonstrating the template, Task Unification).
Cannes Lions, the International Advertising Festival, is the world's only truly global meeting place for professionals in the communications industry. It celebrates advertising winners each year in a variety of categories. The 57th festival was held last week.
The Young Lions Film Competition is held the same week. Two creatives have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a 30-second commercial. At the beginning of the week, the teams receive a brief from a charity chosen by the Festival. Forty-eight hours later, the teams' work is judged by the Film Lions jury. Here is a winning commercial from this year's Young Lions Film Competition:
Task Unification is a hard working innovation tool. Task Unification assigns an additional task to an existing resource or component of the product or service. Here is a clever example from Springwise. It is a service called "Itizen." It allows you to physically tag a special item such as a gift or heirloom that links to a website where the collective history of that gift or heirloom is recorded and kept forever. Suppose your grandfather gives your son a hammer, for example, that he used to build the Brooklyn Bridge. Suppose grandpa then records in his own words the complete story about that hammer, where he got it (from his grandfather), how it was used, what else it has been used to build...well you get the picture.
People can improve their innovation skills by mentally simulating the use of innovation tools. Chip and Dan Heath in their book, Made to Stick, talk of the importance of mental simulation with problem solving as well as skill-building.
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!!.
One way to develop stronger innovation skills is to practice pattern recognition...seeing an inherent pattern used to create innovative products and services. Pattern recognition "builds innovation muscle" and makes you more adept at applying patterns to other products and services. Here is an interesting example that uses the S.I.T. pattern called Attribute Dependency. This pattern creates new (or breaks existing) dependencies between attributes of a product or service. It can also create dependencies between attributes of the product or service and its external environment.
Do you see the Attribute Dependency pattern in this map?
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:
The Task Unification tool of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., works by assigning a new task to an existing resource. There are three ways to do it: 1. allocate an internal task to an external component, 2. allocate an external task to an internal component, or 3. an internal component peforms the task of another internal component. It is a great tool to use when you have a general idea of what you are trying to accomplish. It helps you find innovative ways to do it using non-obvious resources.
Here is a unique example of Task Unification from the world of surgery:
Here is a nice example of the Subtraction tool of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T.. Imagine painting a picture without the paint. From PSFK:
From metal to billboards, Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils is regarded for his work across a variety of mediums. However, his “Scratching the Surface” style (which we first noticed here) is particularly remarkable. Using decrepit city walls as his canvas, the artist carved faces from the concrete, unmasking the beauty inherent to even the most neglected spaces. The pictures below are taken from Moscow, London, and all over Italy.
To use Subtraction, start by listing the components of the situation, product, service, process, etc. (The method works with just about anything that can be conceptualized into components). In this case, the innovator (artist) would create a list something like this:
Pro-Form's Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads. This new product has three different features using the Attribute Dependency Tool of the corporate innovation method, SIT.