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Innovation propels companies forward. It's an unlimited source of new growth and can give businesses a distinct competitive advantage. Learn how to innovate at your own business using Systematic Inventive Thinking, a method based on five techniques that allow you to innovate on demand. In this course, author and business school professor Drew Boyd shares the techniques he's taught Fortune 500 companies to innovate new services and products. Drew provides real-world examples of innovation in practice and suggests places to find your own opportunities to innovate.
In the bonus chapter, Drew shares insights from his own career and answers tough questions on resistance to innovation, innovation and leadership, and the difference between generating vs. executing innovative ideas.
Let's now apply the division technique to a common household appliance, a refrigerator. You begin by listing the product's internal components. Then you divide one of the components in one of three ways: Functional, where you divide along any functional roles. Physical, where you cut the product or component on any physical aspect. And preserving, where each part preserves the characteristics of the whole. Here's our component list: Compressor, the door, door handles, shelves, drawers, ice maker, light bulb and temperature control.
Let's try a few examples. Let's try dividing the light bulb into many smaller bulbs. What would they do? Perhaps they light up separate compartments. This might help you see what's inside better to know if the food is still fresh. Maybe it would reduce power consumption. Or perhaps the bulbs in each section have different properties that enhance or interact with the food in that section. Imagine, for example, one of them is an ultraviolet light that reduces bacterial growth.
Let's try another. Divide the temperature control out of the box entirely. Perhaps tie it into the home's main thermostat. This would allow the unit to optimize the temperature inside the refrigerator with the temperature and humidity inside your home. How about the door? Divide the door into several sections, each controlling access to a different part. We have that now with a separate freezer door so the idea would be to extend it to multiple little doors.
This might help you control the temperature in each section. You avoid losing cooling air like you do today when you open up the main door. What about the compressor? Let's divide the compressor out of the main unit and place it somewhere else, like outside the home. With the compressor out of the main unit you'd have a lot more space for food, it would generate less heat in the kitchen and it'd be a lot easier to service the compressor if it's located outside. Perhaps the compressor could be used to cool other things.
Let's try using the preserving approach. Let's divide the entire refrigerator into many small boxes that are placed through the kitchen. Perhaps you could put one of these in your pantry to keep items cold. Perhaps you have many small cooling drawers all around the kitchen that could hold items like eggs, vegetables, beverages and so on. You could store food where it's most likely to be used in the kitchen. Instead of one big cooling box you have many smaller ones that are integrated with other appliances.
You could completely customize how you store food in your kitchen. I would consider this last idea as disruptive, one that could completely redefine the category as we know it.
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