Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads. This new product has three different features using the Attribute Dependency Tool of the corporate innovation method, SIT.
Attribute Dependency differs from the other templates in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a 2 x 2 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. The Tour de France Indoor Cycle creates dependencies between rider preference, bicycle route, road elevation, and wind profile.
What caught my eye is the similarity of these ideas with those of my graduate students in my “Innovation Tools” course. Using Systematic Inventive Thinking, they have to take a product category and apply the method to create completely new-to-the-world innovations. For example, a group in my last class tackled the exercise equipment category with a focus on treadmills (see The LAB May 2011).
Compare these student’s ideas for treadmills with Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle. Well done!