The University of Cincinnati announced it will launch its first Massive Open Online Course (called MOOC) next fall. It will be the first MOOC to teach Systematic Inventive Thinking (S.I.T.), an innovation method based on templates.
Systematic Inventive Thinking is not only for inventing new products and services. You can apply it to a variety of functions and processes. SIT is based on the idea that mankind has used distinct patterns when creating new solutions or innovations. These patterns are embedded into the products and services you see around you. The SIT method structures your thinking and channels your ideation to take advantage of these patterns by re-applying them to something else.
Consider the human resources function of an organization. Here are suggestions of which SIT technique to apply in a variety of HR activities:
Signs are perhaps the most ancient yet still relevant tools of marketing. According to the International Sign Association, signage is the least expensive but most effective form of advertising and can account for half of your customers.
Can sign makers use systematic methods of creativity? Absolutely.
The Subtraction tool works by removing elements generally considered essential to the situation. The tool can be used in any marketing communications medium (television, print, and so on). The tool works by drwawing your attention to the missing component. As a result, the ad is more memorable.
Subtraction is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them.
The Wall Street Journal featured our new book, Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results (Simon & Schuster), on the front page of the weekend edition. Jacob and I contributed the feature article which is adapted from the book. Here are some excerpts.
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.
When you use Subtraction, you don’t always have to eliminate the component. There is also what we call “Partial Subtraction.” It is a valid technique as long as the product or service that remains delivers a new benefit. To deploy Partial Subtraction, you pick a component and then eliminate a specific feature of that component. Consider the case of Twitter, a microblogging application used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. By simply restricting each tweet to 140 characters, Twitter has become a vast digital conversation about what individuals around the globe are thinking and doing. A Partial Subtraction of the traditional blog down to 140 characters dramatically increased the volume of and participation in this Internet phenomenon. How did it happen?
Books about business innovation seem to arrive as quickly as ideas on a whiteboard in a brainstorming session. But Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results (Simon & Schuster, 2013), by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, jumps out for its counterintuitive take on creativity.