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 […]
February 10, 2008

Innovation Follows Strategy

How do you tie innovation to strategy? Professor Christie Nordhielm from the University of Michigan has developed what I consider the best single contribution to marketing thought since the 4P's. Her Big Picture framework of the marketing management process provides the context for innovating across the entire business model. Applying systematic innovation tools to each aspect of her Big Picture model can yield amazing insights at both the strategic and tactical levels of the business. It is the intersection of these two ideas...Big Picture Strategy and Systematic Inventive Thinking...that will yield consistent, profitable results. Innovation follows strategy...not the other way around.
October 17, 2011

Are You More Innovative Than You Think?

DnaYou may be surprised to find many of your products and services conform to the five innovation patterns of Systematic Inventive Thinking. If so, it means your employees are predisposed to use innovation patterns when developing new products. Like many innovators, they are using patterns probably without realizing it. Given this predisposition to using innovation templates, a company can realize huge gains in innovation effectiveness by taking the next step.
January 9, 2012

Redeploying Your Core Competencies

Read this partial list of core competencies for a particular firm and try to guess what industry it is in: 1. Consumer insights: understanding what consumer want 2. Design: making things easy to use 3. Innovation: coming up with new ideas routinely 4. Systems integration: making things work together 5. Customer relationships: forming and maintaining customer loyalty From this list alone, you could imagine this firm being part of virtually any industry. In fact, the firm with these core competencies would likely be the leader of that industry. Which company owns these skills? In 2008, managers at Kodak cited these skills as their core competencies. Less than four years later, Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy, ending the reign of a once proud and legenday 120 year old brand. It is now forced to sell its massive patent estate to raise operating cash. What happened? Many will cite the familiar reasons: failure to innovate, slow to move into digital photography, poor execution of digital photography, and so on. Yet none of these reasons are correct. Kodak was a highly innovative firm. It invented digital photography long before it wiped out its paper film business. Kodak was a marketing powerhouse. It could execute marketing campaigns and brand building with the best of them.
February 13, 2012

The Hidden Cost of Poor Innovation Execution

Executing and launching new products takes financial and human resources. But there is a hidden cost, one which often goes unnoticed, when the project is delayed. Poor execution postpones the revenue stream from a new innovation. Given the time value of money, that financial loss can be staggering. Consider one of the most famous innovative product - the Post-it® Note.
July 15, 2013

Inside the Box: “Oh, This Is Going to Be Addictive”

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?
September 16, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Bookless Public Library

The Subtraction Technique is amazing because of its simplicity and power. It is one of five techniques that form the core of Systematic Inventive Thinking, a method of innovating new products and services. Here is a classic example of how it can completely reframe how we see one of the most familiar of institutions - the Library.
November 5, 2013

Can Blackberry Dig Themselves Out of the Hole?

As Albert Einstein noted, one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. That seems to be Blackberry’s predicament as it faces another drop in its stock value. However, with a fresh investment by Fairfax Holdings and a new CEO, Blackberry may have time to reinvent its business model. The new leadership team will need to think differently. It is a perfect time to apply systematic innovation tools to create a new future.
November 7, 2013

Now, Twitter Must Grow

It's official. Twitter is a publicly traded company, and it will face constant pressure to innovate and grow. Let's look at how innovation methods can be applied to Twitter to find new opportunitues. We'll apply the five techniques of Systematic Inventive Thinking to Twitter. Our goal will be to create new features and innovations with the main Twitter platform as well as to create completely new applications related to Twitter.
December 30, 2013

The Top 10 Most Underappreciated Inventions

The end of the year is a popular time to publish lists of all sorts. A quick glance at CNN, for example, revealed lists such as "75 Amazing Sports Moments," "The 50 Best Android Apps," "8 Very Old Sites in the New World," and many more. Here is The Top 10 Most Underappreciated Inventions. The criteria for making this list are: 1. the invention has to be of high value, 2. we take it for granted; we just expect it to be there, and 3. it would be hard to imagine life without it; the substitute for the invention would be unacceptable.
January 13, 2014

Systematic Innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show

One way to develop your expertise in SIT techniques is with pattern spotting. A key premise of SIT is that for thousands of years, innovators have used patterns in their inventions, usually without even realizing it. Those patterns are now embedded into the products and services you see around you, almost like the DNA of a product. You want to develop your ability to see these patterns as a way to improve your use of them. There's probably no better place to practice pattern spotting than at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In last week's CES in Las Vegas, "manufacturers demonstrated a range of previously mundane but now smart, web-connected products destined to become part of daily domestic existence, from kitchen appliances to baby monitors to sports equipment," as reported in The Independent.