Innovation in Practice Blog

October 27, 2020

Learning the Powerful, Yet Abstract Method of Attribute Dependency

Attribute Dependency is one of the five techniques of the SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) method.  Just to give you an idea, think of your home thermostat […]
October 20, 2020

The Myth of Post-it Notes and Other Serendipitous Inventions: Why Pure Chance is Not Your Creative Friend

Chocolate chip cookies, penicillin, Velcro, microwave ovens, the game of basketball, and Post-It Notes. What do they have in common? Well, those products were invented completely […]
October 13, 2020

The Subtraction Technique: The Creative Power of Taking Elements Away

Subtraction is the removal of an essential core element rather than the addition of new systems or functions.  Like all the other techniques of the Systematic […]
October 6, 2020

The Multiplication Technique: A Simple Tool with Many Creative Surprises Inside

Procter & Gamble was able to take an air freshener product that was lagging at 4th place in terms of market share – to 1st place, […]
September 29, 2020

How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program

Individuals and organizations need to learn at a rate faster than the rate of change. And innovation pilot programs help you do that.  But how do […]
September 22, 2020

Fixedness: Your Main Barrier to Creative Thinking

How do you develop your creativity? As much as you want to or need to be creative, sometimes, there’s something that seems to block it. And […]
September 15, 2020

Process Innovation: Unlocking New Value in What You Do Everyday

The Systematic Inventive Thinking or SIT method is not only applicable to products, it’s also highly valuable in innovating services and processes.  Here are two ways […]
September 8, 2020

Innovation Dream Teams: The Secret Formula to Drive Team Success

When you’re talking about innovation, a traditional brainstorming approach doesn’t work. If you want to generate better ideas, you have to be able to create your […]
September 1, 2020

Why People Resist Our Innovative Ideas and How To Overcome It

With innovation comes resistance. They define each other. An idea simply cannot be innovative unless it’s met with resistance. Because of this, we should see resistance […]
August 25, 2020

How to Use the Closed World Principle of Creativity

Creative thinking can be systematic and routine. All you have to do is learn how to use your brain and learn a new way to generate […]
May 18, 2008

Innovation Muscle

The best Fortune 100 companies see innovation as an ongoing capabilty, not a one time event. These companies work hard to build muscle around this capability so they can deploy it when they need it, where they need it, tackling their hardest problems. Companies do this to keep up with the ever changing landscape both inside and outside the firm. What does it mean to build innovation muscle? I think of it as the number of people trained, the frequency of using an innovation method, and the percentage of internal departments that have an innovation capabilty. Call it an Innovation Muscle Index: N (number of trained employees) x F (number of formal ideation events per year using a method) x P (percent of company departments with at least one employee trained in an effective innovation method. IMI = N x F x P
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.
January 7, 2013

The Fabulous Five

Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance. More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
January 21, 2013

The Fabulous Five and the Scramble for Territory

Google, Apple, Facebook, Samsung, and Amazon are in a mad scramble to enter new territory and cover gaps in their strategies. The one that gets ahead and stays ahead will earn bragging rights in what may be the most significant business battle of all time. These companies are the Fabulous Five. Let's look at how each company is placed in the following domains: hardware design and manufacturing, software development and integration, consumer retailing, mobile, voice and digital communications, social, search, and entertainment. Why these? I believe the company that covers the biggest footprint across these domains and integrates them in a way that touches the most consumers will become the dominant lifestyle company. Notice I did not call it B2B, B2C, or even the dominant tech company. The battle being fought here is to become a part of the consumer's life in a way that allows the company to learn key insights that can be monetized. It is the battle for the consumer subconscious in a way.
January 28, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Apple’s Smart Shoe

A tell-tale sign of the Attribute Dependency Technique is the word "smart" in any product description. Apple's new patent for 'smart shoes' is a case in point. As reported by PSFK:
February 4, 2013

The Fabulous Five: Loyalty Factor

Loyalty is defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance. Companies fight for it because it correlates well to product sales. The Fabulous Five (Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Facebook) are waging a spectacular battle against each other to earn customer loyalty. A key to winning is to understand the types of loyalty. Professor Christie Nordhielm describes three types as part of her marketing strategy framework, The Big Picture:
May 14, 2013

The Stereotypy Trap

Struggling retailer JC Penny hired former Apple executive Ron Johnson as the CEO to save the company. Seventeen months later, he was ousted in what many consider a colossal failure. Why? Not because he failed to take action, but rather because he tried taking the same actions that worked for him at Apple. He was guilty of a managerial bias called stereotypy – the tendency to believe that what worked for you in the past will work for you in the future.