Imagine pulling out of the driveway for your regular jaunt to the grocery store. While turning the corner to exit your neighborhood the car console screen lights up with an ad for the latest laundry detergent. Perhaps the concept seems foreign, but software companies, such as Telenav Inc., are in the process of developing strategies to maximize wireless capabilities in vehicles for advertising purposes.
Telenav’s strategy of developing software which utilizes the dashboard console for marketing purposes is a great example of the innovation template known as Task Unification. Task Unification is defined as assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it’s taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job. In this instance, Telenav has taken the console screen and assigned it the additional task of sending ads to the driver which match their lifestyle as documented via their online activity.
As Bloomberg states,
Automakers have been installing wireless connections in vehicles and collecting data for decades. But the sheer volume of software and sensors in new vehicles, combined with artificial intelligence that can sift through data at ever-quickening speeds, means new services and revenue streams are quickly emerging.
You can also utilize this technique to innovate helpful products. To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:
- List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
- Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
- Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
- Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
- Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function
- Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
- What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
- If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?
Innovation opportunities of this type also create the context for broader discussions. In this case, those discussions are related to the customer and privacy issues. For those interested, Bloomberg provides a good start to those conversations.