Here is a nice example of the Subtraction tool of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T.. Imagine painting a picture without the paint. From PSFK:
From metal to billboards, Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils is regarded for his work across a variety of mediums. However, his “Scratching the Surface” style (which we first noticed here) is particularly remarkable. Using decrepit city walls as his canvas, the artist carved faces from the concrete, unmasking the beauty inherent to even the most neglected spaces. The pictures below are taken from Moscow, London, and all over Italy.
To use Subtraction, start by listing the components of the situation, product, service, process, etc. (The method works with just about anything that can be conceptualized into components). In this case, the innovator (artist) would create a list something like this:
The moment I walked into the classroom, I could see that something was different. The students were excited, I could feel the anticipation in the air—and something about their faces made me think that they were planning something mischievous.
The Task Unification Technique is one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. It is defined as "assiging an additional task to an existing resource." It is such a powerful technique because it often leads to Closed World solutions, or what we like to call "thinking inside the box." It yields innovations that tend to leverage some resource in the immediate vicinity in a clever way. It also tends to yield innovations that have a characteristic known as Ideality - the solution to a problem only appears when needed. When the problem arises, the solution is also there.
When describing the SIT method, I sometimes say it’s like using the voice of the product. That’s because SIT is based on patterns that are embedded into the products and services you see around you. If products could talk to you, they would describe the five patterns of SIT.
But there’s another important voice in business innovation: the voice of the customer. After all, that’s why you do innovation - to create new value, directly or indirectly, for your customers. A good innovator understands their needs and wants. In this video, I’ll show you four different ways to gain new insights from your customers.
Who would use a cashless ATM (Automated Teller Machine)? It seems like a ridiculous idea, because that's the whole point of using an ATM - getting cash.
That will all change with the RTM (Retail-Teller-Machine). It works just like an ATM. Instead of dispensing cash, the RTM prints a secure ticket that is exchanged for cash. RTMs are located inside any store and provide a full range of Banking services.
The Task Unification Technique is great because it generates novel ideas that tend to be novel and resourceful. 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.
Here are two great examples, one about a very young person and the other about a new and nifty device for old people.
I love umbrellas and the many versions that demonstrate the five patterns of Systematic Inventive Thinking. Here's a new one that demonstrates the Task Unification pattern. 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.