Innovation in Practice Blog

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 […]
October 6, 2020

The Multiplication Technique: A Simple Tool with Many Creative Surprises Inside

Procter & Gamble was able to take an air freshener product that was lagging at 4th place in terms of market share – to 1st place, […]
September 29, 2020

How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program

Individuals and organizations need to learn at a rate faster than the rate of change. And innovation pilot programs help you do that.  But how do […]
September 22, 2020

Fixedness: Your Main Barrier to Creative Thinking

How do you develop your creativity? As much as you want to or need to be creative, sometimes, there’s something that seems to block it. And […]
September 15, 2020

Process Innovation: Unlocking New Value in What You Do Everyday

The Systematic Inventive Thinking or SIT method is not only applicable to products, it’s also highly valuable in innovating services and processes.  Here are two ways […]
September 8, 2020

Innovation Dream Teams: The Secret Formula to Drive Team Success

When you’re talking about innovation, a traditional brainstorming approach doesn’t work. If you want to generate better ideas, you have to be able to create your […]
September 1, 2020

Why People Resist Our Innovative Ideas and How To Overcome It

With innovation comes resistance. They define each other. An idea simply cannot be innovative unless it’s met with resistance. Because of this, we should see resistance […]
August 25, 2020

How to Use the Closed World Principle of Creativity

Creative thinking can be systematic and routine. All you have to do is learn how to use your brain and learn a new way to generate […]
August 18, 2020

Divide and Conquer – How to Use the Division Technique

A common misconception is that creativity is a gift you are born with. People believe that if they don’t have it right from birth, they have […]
August 11, 2020

A Path to More Creative Thinking

Innovation is a skill. It’s not a gift. It’s not something you’re born with. But you can actually learn to be creative like you could learn […]
January 7, 2013

The Fabulous Five

Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance. More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
February 11, 2013

Marketing Innovation: The Metaphor Tool Using the Division Pattern

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. 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. The tools are:
March 11, 2013

Marketing’s Seat at the Innovation Table

Where does your marketing department fit when it comes to innovation? In an article1 titled, "Improving Marketing's Contribution to New Product Development," these author's offer a dismal view: "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that. "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that.
March 18, 2013

Marketing Innovation: Avocados and the Unification Tool

The Unification Tool is a tricky but effective advertising tool. Unification recruits an existing resource and forces it to carry the advertising message. That resource can come from within the medium itself or within the environment of the medium. In other words, the tool uses an existing component of the medium or of its environment in a way that demonstrates the problem or the promise to be delivered. 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. The tools are:
April 8, 2013

Innovation Sighting: The Attribute Dependency Technique in Pricing

While not popular, it is a classic example of the Attribute Dependency technique. Attribute Dependency is one of five techniques of the innovation method called SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking). It differs from the other techniques in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a matrix of these, pairing each against the others. Each cell represents a potential dependency (or potential break in an existing dependency) that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves.
May 20, 2013

Marketing Innovation: The Subtraction Tool in Saint Gobain Commercials

The Subtraction tool works by removing elements generally considered essential to the situation. The tool can be used in any marketing communications medium (television, print, and so on). The tool works by drwawing your attention to the missing component. As a result, the ad is more memorable. Subtraction 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.
December 23, 2013

How to Target Your Innovation

Companies get better results from innovation by targeting initiatives at the right places. Here are six areas to focus on:
January 20, 2014

The Partial Subtraction Technique: Betty Crocker’s Egg

In the 1950s, General Mills launched a line of cake mixes under the famous Betty Crocker brand. The cake mixes included all the dry ingredients in the package, plus milk and eggs in powdered form. All you needed was to add water, mix it all together, and stick the pan in the oven. For busy homemakers, it saved time and effort, and the recipe was virtually error free. General Mills had a sure winner on its hands. Or so it thought. Despite the many benefits of the new product, it did not sell well. Even the iconic and trusted Betty Crocker brand could not convince homemakers to adopt the new product.
July 21, 2014

Fusion: Linking Your Product to the Message to Create Great Packaging

Creative marketers use a clever little tool called fusion. Fusion links a product to a message in a creative way that communicates the value inherent in the product. Fusion creates a visual connection between the product and a symbol representing the value. When a customer sees that connection, they instantly understand the message and appreciate the value delivered by the product in a more powerful and subtle way.
March 16, 2015

Marketing Innovation: The Unification Technique in Outdoor Advertising

The Unification Tool is a tricky but effective tool for outdoor advertising. Unification recruits an existing resource and forces it to carry the advertising message. That resource can come from within the medium itself or within the environment of the medium. In other words, the tool uses an existing component of the medium or of its environment in a way that demonstrates the problem or the promise to be delivered.