The Multiplication tool is one of the five powerful thinking tools taught to me by the folks at Systematic Inventive Thinking. I like this tool because it is simple and yields great results. Even children can learn it.
Multiplication works by taking a component of the product, service, strategy, etc, and then making one or several copies of it. But the copy must be changed in some way from the original component. The original component is still intact, unchanged. Now using Function Follows Form, we work backwards to take this hypothetical solution and find a problem that it solves.
Can you innovate a mature product? Consider the fishing pole which dates back to the ancient Egyptians - it certainly qualifies as a mature product. This month's LAB will innovate it by using the systematic innovation methodl called Multiplication.
Fishing is the largest sporting activity in the U.S. with 40 million participants, far more than golf or tennis combined, the next two on the list. Recreational fishing generates more than $125 billion in economic output and more than one million American jobs. If sportfishing were a corporation, it would rank above Bank of America or IBM on the Fortune 100 list of largest American companies. The pathway to growth for any large, mature industry is: innovation!
Teaching people how to innovate is rewarding. It empowers them. It unlocks their minds to believe that innovation can happen "on command." People realize there is no excuse for not having enough ideas or being innovative once they have been trained.
This month's LAB features the output of one of my students, Michael Sanders, in my class, "Applied Marketing Innovation." For the final exam, students were assigned a product at random. They had three hours to apply all five templates in the Systematic Inventive Thinking method to come up with true new-to-the-world innovations. They were graded on how correctly they applied each template as well as the novelty of their inventions. Michael's assignment: Garage Door Opener. Here is what he did.
Credit card companies must innovate to overcome the financial and public relations consequences of recent government legislation. The Credit Card Reform Act of 2009 is a "bill to protect consumers, and especially young consumers, from skyrocketing credit card debt, unfair credit card practices, and deceptive credit offers." These changes go into effect in 2010, and they will undoubtedly reduce the financial performance of card issuers.
“We put the ‘no’ in innovation!” The good people at Post Cereal have a new twist on innovation…NOT innovating as a statement of the products ubiquity and staying power. “Some things just weren’t meant to be innovated." How could I resist? It was just too tempting to use systematic innovation on this simple product, especially in light of the perception that it should not be innovated. Though the ad campaign is a spoof, I wonder just how much the people at Post really believe this. What if shredded wheat could be innovated to create new growth potential for this sixty year old product?
Here is an example of the Multiplication Template, one of five in the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. It is from the Taylor Guitars, one of the leading companies in the category and one of the most innovative. The Multiplication Template makes copies of components but changes the copies in some way from the original. Taylor has multiplied the pickguard of their electric guitar series, but changed the configuration with different styles of magnetic pickups (the part that translates the sound from the strings). It is a clever idea because guitar owners can re-configure their guitar for different playing situations. It helps Taylor Guitar extend their product reach into the aftermarket for guitar parts and maintain a more loyal following of customers.
Health Care Reform, as the U.S. government sees it, promises lower costs, better access, and improved quality for all. Let's apply a structured innovation method to health care to see if we can achieve some of these goals. For this month's LAB, we will apply Systematic Inventive Thinking to the hospital discharge process.
Innovation puts cash in your wallet. But what about the wallet itself? For this month's LAB, we will apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new and useful concepts for the wallet.
Wallets are the most personal items we own. They carry our money, credit cards, identification, licenses, photographs, and other memorabilia. Your wallet says a lot about you. As with food, we try to stuff more inside while staying thin. Wallets have been around a long time. Today, the wallet industry is a multi-billion dollar market fueled by new designs and innovation. Here are six unique wallet concepts invented using the five templates in the S.I.T. method. They were created by graduate students at the University of Cincinnati as part of their course requirements in "Applied Marketing Innovation."
People are fascinated with the idea of human cloning after researchers cloned a sheep in 1997. The debate about the risks and benefits of human cloning rages on. What if you could clone yourself in a virtual sense? Even better, imagine cloning yourself into another person's body? What would you feel? What would you learn? How would your life be better?
Dr. Henrik Ehrsson, a neuroscientist from Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has pioneered a method of allowing us to get out of our bodies and into the body of someone else...virtually...so that you sense whatever the other person senses. We "clone" ourselves everyday with simple technologies like a mirror or camera. But this is different. This technique clones you into another form so you can experience life from that point-of-view.
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.