Innovation in Practice Blog

February 23, 2021

The Power of Combining Things: How to be Creative Anytime with Simple Unexpected Combinations

Think you’re the most uncreative person in the world?  Well, not anymore.  You can decide to become creative if you want to right in this very […]
February 16, 2021

Are You Sitting on The Next Big Thing?

Have you ever been in your car driving down the road or you’re at a friend’s house or in your house or at work, then all […]
February 9, 2021

Why Some People See Creative Ideas More Clearly Than Others

Are you one of those people that a company would choose to call to get feedback about their products or services?  Do you have the right […]
February 2, 2021

Creative Ways to Improve How People See You: Adding Prestige to Who You Are

What makes luxury brands and products so special? They’ve got the prestige or reputation that’s unparalleled. Now, what if you’re able to translate that into you […]
January 26, 2021

What’s In a Name?

Naming objects is very useful. We name things all the time because it makes things efficient. It helps us understand our world and it’s how we […]
January 19, 2021

Mastering Creative Thinking: Two Techniques to Make Creative Thinking Stick

Becoming even just a little bit more creative will enhance what you do every day – whether at work, at home, or just about anywhere.  But […]
January 12, 2021

The Creative Power of Thinking Big: How to Improve Your Ideas with One Simple Trick

Think big. You’ve probably heard that a lot of times.  As leaders, we need to be more aggressive, take more risks, and challenge ourselves to think […]
January 5, 2021

The Temptation of Creative Ideas: How We View Ideas Differently Depending on the Source

The next time you come up with a great idea, don’t share it with anyone! Sounds absurd, right? Here’s a better way of saying that: If […]
December 29, 2020

You’re Awesome! How Sarcasm Enhances Creativity

Sarcasm is the idea of using irony in a way to mock somebody or to insult them. While sarcasm can be insulting and hurtful to somebody, […]
December 22, 2020

The Golden Rule of Creativity

The golden rule says that you should treat others as you want them to treat you.  Now, the golden rule of creativity states that if you […]
November 22, 2010

Innovation Sighting: New World Order with Attribute Dependency

One way to develop stronger innovation skills is to practice pattern recognition...seeing an inherent pattern used to create innovative products and services. Pattern recognition "builds innovation muscle" and makes you more adept at applying patterns to other products and services. Here is an interesting example that uses the S.I.T. pattern called Attribute Dependency. This pattern creates new (or breaks existing) dependencies between attributes of a product or service. It can also create dependencies between attributes of the product or service and its external environment. Do you see the Attribute Dependency pattern in this map?
March 28, 2011

The LAB: Innovating Facebook with Attribute Dependency (March 2011)

Facebook innovated its way to become the dominate social network with 600 million users in just six years since launch. What will it do for an encore? More importantly, how will it continue to innovate? For this month's LAB, we will apply the Attribute Dependency tool to demonstrate how Facebook might continue re-inventing itself. To use Attribute Dependency, make two lists. The first is a list of internal attributes. The second is a list of external attributes - those factors that are not under your control, but that vary in the context of how the product or service is used. Then create a matrix with the internal and external attributes on one axis, and the internal attributes only on the other axis. The matrix creates combinations of internal-to-internal and internal-to-external attributes that we will use to innovate. We take these virtual combinations and envision them in two ways. If no dependency exists between the attributes, we create one. If a dependency exists, we break it. Using Function Follows Form, we envision what the benefit or potential value might be from the new (or broken) dependency between the two attributes. Here are attributes of the Facebook experience:
July 11, 2011

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency in an Exercise Bike

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.
October 31, 2011

The LAB: Innovating the Light Switch (October 2011)

How do you know which SIT tool to use on your product? That is one of the most common questions from my students and workshop participants. One way to decide is to analyze the current products in the category. You look for SIT patterns that tend to dominate how the product emerged and evolved over the years. I look at recent innovations in the category to spot trends. I also try to identify where the industry might have some "fixedness" about the products and how they are used. The type of fixedness (functional, structural, or relational) can lend insight about which SIT tool to start with.
January 23, 2012

The LAB: Innovating the GPS with Attribute Dependency (January 2012)

GPS technology is great at getting you from Point A to Point B. What if you had a system that alerted you to risk of crime, weather, points of interest, and cost savings tips along the way? Microsoft seems headed this way given a newly-awarded patent that ties GPS location to useful information for pedestrians. Here is a description: "As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as traveling through an unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures. A route can be developed for a person taking into account factors that specifically affect a pedestrian. Moreover, the route can alter as a situation of a user changes; for instance, if a user wants to add a stop along a route." This is a classic example of the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in Systematic Inventive Thinking. It creates a correlation (dependency) between a person's location and the type of information that is sent to the device. Microsoft's new concept gathers data, analyzes the data and user requirements, then generates suggested routes. It considers the user's preferences such as avoiding neighborhoods that exceed a certain threshold of violent crime statistics. The system might direct you to "take the subway" rather than walk if rain was expected. It even considers cost factors such as parking, extra traffic, and other situations that might make you vary your path.
April 16, 2012

Innovation Sighting: Yahoo’s e-Book Advertising

Yahoo's recent patent filings suggest it is entering the e-Book market, a move that will pit it against Amazon, Apple, and other content providers. But given the nature of the patent filings, Yahoo seeks to leap over the competition with a potentially more innovative approach. Yahoo's concepts conform to the Attribute Dependency technique, one of five in the SIT Method. Research shows that new products that conform to one of the five SIT techniques tend to be more successful in the marketplace.
April 30, 2012

The LAB: Innovating a Membership Club with S.I.T. (April 2012)

How do you attract new customers while retaining current ones? For many categories, you attract new customers by showing high satisfaction with current customers. Put the current customer first and you will increase your appeal to new customers. The challenge is when you have to change your product to meet the different demands of new customers at the risk of alienating existing customers. For example, imagine you owned a prestigious, members-only dinner club with a strong following of older, traditional patrons. They are fiercely loyal and attached to the various details such as the glassware and the color of the table cloths. Any changes are seen with suspicion. You want to bring in new members, but need to change the club to appeal to younger potential members. Too much change will drive away current members. For this month's LAB, we will apply Systematic Inventive Thinking to address this apparent conundrum.
May 21, 2012

Innovation Sighting: Toyota’s Mood-Detecting Car

Toyota is designing a new technology that will react to the driver's mood. It will adjust how the car behaves depending on whether the driver is sad, happy, angry or neutral. The technology uses a camera to identify facial emotions by taking readings from 238 points on the driver’s face. A driver’s mood can affect performance on the road. Research has shown that people with negative (and sometimes positive) emotions are distracted even more than those using a cell phone while driving.
July 2, 2012

Innovation Sighting: Clothing to Keep You Cooler

The Columbia Sportswear Company is launching a new line of clothing that keeps you...cooler. The Omni-Freeze® is a specialized fabric weave that increases the surface area of the fabric that contacts your bare skin. This transmits heat faster and feels cooler to the touch. This is a great example of the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in the S.I.T. innovation method. 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 that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves. In the case of Omni-Freeze®, the dependency is created between body temperature and layers of clothing.
July 30, 2012

The LAB: Innovating Toilet Paper with Attribute Dependency (July 2012)

When Joseph Gayetty invented commercially available toilet paper in 1857, he called it "The greatest necessity of the age!" Of course, he wasn't exaggerating. The use of paper for toileting dates back to the 6th century AD. Gayetty's Medicated Paper was sold in packages of flat sheets, watermarked with the inventor's name. Since then, many companies have tried to innovate this product. Many innovations are simple gag gifts while others are quite useful. For this month's LAB, let's apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new concepts for toilet paper. S.I.T. is a collection of thinking tools, principles, facilitation methods, and organizational structures to help companies innovate products, processes, and services. We will use the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in S.I.T..