Most people think innovation starts with a well-defined problem, and then you brainstorm a solution. Try the opposite: Work backwards by taking an abstract, conceptual solution and finding a problem it can solve. By constraining and channeling our brains, we can make them work both harder and smarter to find creative solutions—on demand.
The Task Unification Technique is one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. It is defined as "assiging an additional task to an existing resource." It is such a powerful technique because it often leads to Closed World solutions, or what we like to call "thinking inside the box." It yields innovations that tend to leverage some resource in the immediate vicinity in a clever way. It also tends to yield innovations that have a characteristic known as Ideality - the solution to a problem only appears when needed. When the problem arises, the solution is also there.
Pinterest has joined the elite group of social apps along with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google Plus. "Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." How popular is it? It is the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. A report by Shareaholic claims, “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.” As of May 2013, Pinterest was valued at $2.5 billion. There are many creative ways to use Pinterest. New apps are emerging around it much like what happened with Twitter. But to maintain growth, Pinterest needs innovation. Let's apply Attribute Dependency, one of five techniques of Systematic Inventive Thinking, to Pinterest.
In June, Jacob Goldenberg and I released our new book, Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results. It has since been featured on the front page of Wall Street Journal and numerous other publications and media outlets.
Recently, we each did live webinars talking about the project. Take a look at both webinars so you can learn why I am called "The Street Rat" and Jacob is called "The Lab Rat."
Both titles are well deserved! We hope you find these useful.
The University of Cincinnati's first Massive Open Online Course begins next week, October 7th. The course is free and open to all.
In this course, participants will master the tools necessary to generate new ideas and quickly transform those concepts into a viable pipeline of new products and services. They will learn a highly effective method of idea generation called Systematic Inventive Thinking used by many global firms across a wide variety of industries. They will also learn a suite of design thinking tools to take new concepts and put “life” into them. Generating ideas is not enough. Design thinking takes new ideas and sculpts them into market-winning products and services. Participants will learn the mechanics of each S.I.T. tool, and practice the use of each on a real product or service. Additionally, they will learn from a panel of seasoned practitioners and experts in the fields of innovation, new product development, and venture start-up.
The new Innovate Inside the Box app facilitates the use of the creativity method, Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It explains each of the five techniques (Subtraction, Division, Task Unification, Multiplication, and Attribute Dependency) and allows users to generate creative ideas and innovations. This app is ideal for readers of “Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results.”
The app is available for iPad 2 or 3. Learn more about it at the Apple iTunes Preview.
Here's how to Use the App:
October brings the start of the U.S. baseball championship called the World Series. Baseball, like innovation, is a team sport, and success demands best practices out of the players and team managers. We thought it might be useful compare innovation and baseball given this week’s focus on teams.
Baseball is a diverse sport played in many countries The U.S professional league (called Major League Baseball) has 1200 players from 19 countries. Innovation also requires diversity. A best practice is to make innovation teams diverse in several ways: cross-functional, gender, experience, and cultural. Diverse teams harness the unique perspectives of the team members when applying the innovation and design thinking tools taught in this course.
By the way, how does this MOOC compare to Major League Baseball? We have over 2100 participants from 55 countries! Evidently, diversity is also a driver of learning.
Authors Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg today announced the launch of a new app that supports the innovation/creativity system outlined in their groundbreaking work: Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results (Simon & Schuster, 2013).
Innovate! Inside the Box enables users of Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) to employ the method more productively. The new app places SIT’s five innovation techniques – Subtraction, Division, Task Unification, Multiplication and Attribute Dependency – at the user’s fingertips to quickly generate creative ideas and new-to-the-world innovations. In addition, users can document their projects as they build their pipeline of ideas and inventions.