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When using the multiplication technique, I want you to be aware of a few common challenges. First, avoid the temptation of just adding something to the product or service. Addition is not one of the five techniques of the systematic inventive thinking method. Remember the example of the razor blade? Adding blades that don't do anything new is not using the multiplication technique. Just adding new features or components causes feature creep. New features seem to be creeping into your product.
It adds cost and more complexity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, adding bells and whistles to your product usually in reaction to a competitor's product is not necessarily a good idea. Next, when you multiply a component be sure to change it in some nonobvious way. To do that look at the attributes of the component as possible ways to change it. For example, you might change the component's size, or its location, or perhaps its function.
To stay organized it's a good idea to create a table listing each component and its attributes. Some people struggle with the difference between a component and an attribute. Think of a component as a part of the whole. It's usually something that you can see or touch, but it doesn't have to be. An alarm clock's ringing sound is a component even if you can't see it. The smell of food is a component in a restaurant, but that's also invisible.
An attribute is a characteristic of the component or something that can vary. Thus the ringing of the alarm clock is a component while its decibel level is an attribute of the ringing. Type of smell and strength of smell are attributes of the restaurant's smell of food component. When you make a copy of a component, people tend to play it safe by making only a single copy of a component. As you get more familiar with this powerful technique, try to get a little bit bolder.
Don't just make one copy, make multiple copies perhaps 3, or 16, or maybe even 22. Select the number arbitrarily. Make it weird. Creating these additional copies each of which you've changed in a nonobvious way expands your thinking and opens up new possibilities.
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