Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and World Population

by | Feb 16, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

What if countries were sized proportional to their population? What would the world look like? Take a look at this map (reported by

It’s a nice example of the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It’s a great tool to make products and services that are “smart.” They adjust and learn, then adapt their performance to suit the needs of the user. Attribute Dependency accounts for the majority of innovative products and services, according to research conducted by my co-author, Dr. Jacob Goldenberg.

Reddit user TeaDranks created this cartogram by creating a dependency between a country’s size and population. Each square represents 500,000 people.

To see more examples of Attribute Dependency with world maps, visit the website Worldmapper. It has “hundreds of cartograms, showing countries sized by everything from the number of books published or tractors working to condom use by men or woman.”

To get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

1. List internal/external variables.

2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)


3. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.

4. Visualize the resulting virtual product.

5. Identify potential user needs.

6. Modify the product to improve it.