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Let's apply systematic inventive thinking to a service. Imagine you work for a large hotel chain. One of the most important services for any hotel is the hotel check-in process. Let's use the division technique to create some new innovative ways to better serve our customers. You begin the division technique by listing the components of the process. The components are the steps of the process. So be sure to list them in the same order as how the process actually works.
I suggest putting each step on a stickie note so you can move it around a lot easier. Here are the steps of the check-in process beginning with making a room reservation and ending all the way to where you unlock the door, walk in and inspect the room. Notice the level of detail of these steps. I find that somewhere between eight and 15 steps in a particular process is about the right level of granularity for this exercise. Not too detailed but not too broad either.
Now pick a component, any step in the process and then arbitrarily rearrange it somewhere back into the process. For example, let's select step number seven, where you give the credit card to the front desk receptionist. Then, rearrange it randomly. Let's put it here, right after step 10. This now becomes our virtual product. When you do this, don't be surprised if it feels a bit odd like the example here. That's perfectly normal when using the division technique.
It would seem more appropriate to give your credit card at the front desk. But now you're going to force yourself to imagine a hotel check-in process where you go to the room and only then give your credit card to the hotel. So what would this look like? What would be the benefit? Let's imagine why a hotel guest would go to the room without having given the credit card at the front desk. Here's an idea, imagine a scenario where your credit card is also your room key.
When you go to your assigned room, you insert your credit card into the slot. It opens the door and it also charges your credit card. That would save you time at the front desk, you're probably less likely to loss your credit card. It's also more eco-friendly. This idea can be extended even further. Why go to the front desk at all? Why not have your room assigned to you? Perhaps sent to your cell phone before you arrive. When you go to your assigned room, you use your credit card. You're able to enter your room without waiting in line at the front lobby.
I'm willing to bet, hotel customers would love that. Remember that with the division technique you can rearrange the component in both space and time. That means the step can occur in a different location, a different time, or both. The division technique is ideal for any service or process such as a manufacturing process, a recruiting process, or a software development process. Like all the techniques, it forces you to create configurations you are not likely to have created on your own to unlock new benefits for you and your customers.
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