Innovation in Practice Blog

October 22, 2018

Attribute Dependency in Bifocal Glasses

Bifocal users must no longer battle their strange, new lenses, thanks to the technology of Mitsui Chemicals of Japan. This spring, Mitsui launched their TouchFocus line, […]
October 15, 2018

Running Effective Innovation Workshops

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that innovation is a team sport. The strongest teams are characterized by functional, gender, and cultural diversity among its members. And, […]
October 3, 2018

Training Your Team to Innovate

To drive innovation across your company, you must train your employees how to innovate. Innovation is a skill, not a gift, and it can be learned […]
September 24, 2018

Motivating Innovative Behavior

Innovators are at their best when they feel a sense of purpose. As a marketing leader you play a key role in that dynamic. Innovators have […]
September 17, 2018

Creating a Culture of Innovation

There have been times I sat down with a client and I told them, “your organization is very innovative”, but they don’t believe me. I tell […]
September 11, 2018

3 Ways to Improve Team Innovation

The most powerful innovation comes when teams work together. Driving innovation means getting individual employees to be more innovative, but it also means getting high performance […]
September 10, 2018

Now Live: Value Proposition Surgical Robotics Simulation on Harvard Business Publishing Website

This valuable simulation was recently published by my friend and colleague, Marta Dapena-Baron, of The Big Picture Partners. This multiplayer training simulation brings to life the […]
August 31, 2018

Keeping Your Innovation Momentum

At some point in your journey to drive innovation, you’ll want to take a deep breath and ask – what happened here? What have we achieved? […]
July 23, 2018

Swiping the Blank Slate: Accelerate Your Career Success by Jumpstarting Innovative Thinking

By Nurit Shmilovitz-Vardi We’ve all been there. Your manager assigns your next project, handing you the relevant materials along with the following demand: “This needs to […]
July 9, 2018

Breaking Fixedness: Saving the Boys of the Thai Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave

News of a boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand brought back memories of the Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground in August 2010. […]
January 31, 2010

The LAB: Innovating the iPad with Attribute Dependency (January 2010)

Apple's iPad creates a new category of consumer electronic somewhere between smart phones and notebook computers. Success depends on how well it embeds into our everyday routines at work, home, and elsewhere. Success also depends on how well it creates new routines. A great innovation tool for this is the Attribute Dependency template of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. This template creates (or breaks) dependencies between attributes of the product and the external environment. The iPad already has many of these. My favorite, for example, is the ability to show the correct display no matter how you hold the device. There is no up or down. It is an example of breaking a dependency between screen orientation and device orientation.
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 22, 2010

The LAB: Innovating a Party with P.I.G. (March 2010)

Here is a new iPhone application that uses the structured innovation method, S.I.T., to create ideas for your next party. The Party Idea Generator, P.I.G., leads you through a series of steps to trigger original party ideas. It has ten different ways to start inventing, and you can add more. It also has over 150 pre-generated triggers and ideas to get you moving. My favorite feature is the special "Huh?" button organizer in case you get stuck. If you want to learn the essence of structured innovation, try this app. It is both fun and useful.
April 26, 2010

The LAB: Innovating the Wedding Invitation with S.I.T. (April 2010)

Over 2 million couples marry every year in the U.S.. This fuels the $50 billion dollar wedding industry. In an industry that prides itself in tradition, companies must innovate new products and services within those traditions if they want to grow and prosper. For this month's LAB, we will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T. to create new-to-the-world ideas for wedding invitations. Here are five unique ideas from graduate students* at the University of Cincinnati taking the course, "Systematic Innovation Tools." They constructed a hypothetical "Dream Catalog" of these ideas for a local start-up design company. Listed with each innovation is the specific innovation template the team used to create the idea. You can download this and the other Dream Catalogs here.
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.
July 31, 2010

The LAB: Innovating a Service Delivery Model with S.I.T. (July 2010)

A common question about structured innovation is can it be used on services. The answer is yes. A service is the same as a product in many ways, and the approach to using an innovation method like S.I.T. is the same. Let's consider a service example for this month's LAB. Imagine your company was a leading uniform and apparel rental service. You own a fleet of trucks and drivers as well as uniform design and fitting services. Your company delivers custom fitted uniforms to the client's location, picks up worn uniforms for cleaning, inspection, and repair, and returns them on schedule. In this highly competitive industry, the key to survival is to exceed customer expectations. The key to growth, on the other hand, is innovation. Let's use the Subtraction tool on this service to create new opportunities.
August 30, 2010

The LAB: Innovating Website Design with Attribute Dependency (August 2010)

Imagine a website that changes depending on the visitor. Researchers at M.I.T. describe such a website that learns a person's thinking style based on preliminary clicks so it can present information in an optimal way. Purchase intentions increased 20%! This is an example of the Attribute Dependency tool of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T.. It's great for creating "smart" products and services - those that adapt to user preferences or environmental conditions. For this month's LAB, let's apply Attribute Dependency to other aspects of websites to create new, innovative designs or features.
September 27, 2010

The LAB: Innovating Retail Selling with Task Unification (September 2010)

Task Unification is a great tool when you have a general idea of the direction you want to go or business challenge you are dealing with. It is one of five templates in the Systematic Inventive Thinking method. Like all the templates, it helps regulate and channel the ideation process while creating unique and useful innovation possibilities. It works by taking a component list of the product, process, or service, and then assigning an additional "job" to that component. It helps break "fixedness" in how we see components and their traditional role, thus opening up potential growth opportunities. For this month's LAB, we will use this template to innovate new ways of in-store retailing.
October 11, 2010

The LAB: Innovating Baseball with Attribute Dependency (October 2010)

Baseball has a density problem. The ratio of "minutes of action" over "total minutes played" is low. Consider for example, the "no-hitter" pitched by Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. Not a single opposing player was able to reach first base because of his performance. Baseball is essentially a duel between pitcher and batter. If there was a way to trade out some of the pitching duel for more field play, baseball would be less boring. For this month's LAB, let's apply the corporate innovation method, SIT, to find potential improvements to the game of baseball. The method is based on five patterns inherent in many innovative products. By extracting and applying those patterns, we can innovate anything. For baseball, we will apply Attribute Dependency tool. Here is how it works.