# Subtraction in action

## Video: Subtraction in action

Let's try our hand at the subtraction technique. For this exercise, you're going to practice on a product that you're familiar with, a household refrigerator. In fact, we'll use this same product throughout the course on all five techniques so you can see how they differ. To use subtraction, you start by listing the components of the refrigerator. With the subtraction technique, remember that you list only the internal components, and by internal, I mean any component that is directly connected to or a part of the refrigerator, those things under the manufacturer's control.

## Subtraction in action

Let's try our hand at the subtraction technique. For this exercise, you're going to practice on a product that you're familiar with, a household refrigerator. In fact, we'll use this same product throughout the course on all five techniques so you can see how they differ. To use subtraction, you start by listing the components of the refrigerator. With the subtraction technique, remember that you list only the internal components, and by internal, I mean any component that is directly connected to or a part of the refrigerator, those things under the manufacturer's control.

The components would include the compressor, the door, door handle, shelves, drawers, ice maker, light bulb, and temperature control. Notice that we just list the big components, not every little tiny one. Write these on a flip chart or white board if you're working with a team of colleagues. So what about things like food? That's part of the refrigerator, isn't it? We would consider that an external component, and you'll see how some of the techniques use both internal and external components, but for now, let's leave it off your list.

Now, using the function follows form process, let's go to the next step and apply subtraction. You can pick a component randomly, or you can pick an essential one, the compressor, for example. The compressor, as you may know, is responsible for cooling the air in the refrigerator, so it's pretty essential. If you're like most people, your mind is already rushing ahead to imagine a refrigerator without a compressor, and it seems absurd, like a totally useless idea.

But hold on. Be true to the process. You must let the process work the way it was designed to get a good result. All you do at this stage is imagine this as a virtual product. Try to avoid rushing to judgment. Also avoid trying to think of things that would replace the compressor. All you do is visualize it and give it a name, something like a compressor-less refrigerator. Now ask yourself two questions.

First question is should we do it? What would be the benefit of a refrigerator without a compressor? Who would want this, and why? Well, it would certainly be cheaper. You'd have a lot less noise and heat in the kitchen. You'd also have a lot more room at the bottom of the refrigerator. Since we identified some benefits, you ask yourself the second question, can we do it? Is it feasible to make a compressor-less refrigerator? Yes, it could certainly be manufactured.

Perhaps the unit is for cool weather climates only, and it's kept outside. But what about the cooling aspect? Once you complete this first round, the subtraction technique allows you to replace the function of the missing component. Remember, always try to replace it with something from the closed world, something in the immediate vicinity of where the consumer uses the product. If you're not able to, you can think of how to import some technology or other component from outside the closed world.

In this case, what if you replaced the compressor function with the air conditioning unit of the house? It has a compressor too. What if you used your neighbor's compressor inside their refrigerator? If you're a leading maker of refrigerators looking for new markets, perhaps a communal approach to food storage and refrigeration might be a great idea. Such a unit could be ideal for apartments or temporary housing.

After we've explored one idea, like this compressor-less refrigeration, the next step is to go back and apply the subtraction technique again using a different component.

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#### This video is part of

58 video lessons · 2241 viewers

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1. ### Introduction

1m 41s
1. Welcome
1m 22s
2. Using the exercise files
19s
2. ### 1. Understanding How Innovation Occurs

21m 37s
1. What is innovation? Introducing Systematic Inventive Thinking
3m 21s
2. The principle of function follows form
4m 8s
3. The closed-world principle
4m 16s
4. Characteristics of innovative products and services
3m 51s
5. Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box
3m 11s
6. Challenging the myth of serendipity
2m 50s
3. ### 2. Using the Subtraction Technique

11m 55s
1. Functional fixedeness
2m 26s
2. The subtraction technique
2m 59s
3. Subtraction in action
4m 8s
2m 22s
4. ### 3. Using the Division Technique

10m 35s
1. Structural fixedness
2m 32s
2. The division technique
2m 43s
3. Division in action
3m 3s
2m 17s
5. ### 4. Using the Multiplication Technique

16m 25s
1. The multiplication technique
4m 24s
2. Multiplication in action
4m 39s
3. Zooming in and zooming out
4m 51s
2m 31s

15m 45s
4m 19s
4m 14s
4m 27s
2m 45s
7. ### 6. Using the Attribute Dependency Technique

17m 49s
1. The attribute dependency technique
3m 32s
2. Creating an attribute dependency matrix
3m 37s
3. Types of dependencies
4m 12s
4. Attribute dependency in action
4m 31s
1m 57s
8. ### 7. Innovating at Work

27m 7s
1. Running ideation workshops
4m 13s
2. Which technique to use
3m 26s
3. Creating new services and processes
3m 17s
4. Creating digital innovations
5m 12s
5. Involving customers
5m 49s
6. Evaluating ideas
5m 10s
9. ### 8. Mastering Innovation

14m 48s
1. Mastering innovative thinking
3m 42s
2. Building a pilot program
3m 56s
3. Addressing organizational challenges with innovation
4m 3s
4. Next steps
3m 7s
10. ### Bonus: Interview with Drew Boyd

52m 41s
2m 9s
2. What is innovation?
51s
3. What got Drew started in innovation?
2m 15s
4. On innovation as a skill
1m 53s
1m 58s
6. On resistance to innovation
3m 31s
7. On innovation's tainted image
2m 34s
8. Where do you apply innovation strategies?
2m 31s
9. Who should lead an innovation effort?
3m 6s
10. On favorite innovation experiences
3m 51s
11. On innovation vs. strategy
3m 36s
12. On working with innovation consultants
3m 20s
13. On trends in innovation
3m 26s
14. On innovation as competition
2m 32s
15. On innovative companies
2m 43s
16. On generating vs. executing ideas
3m 2s
17. Can you overdo innovation?
2m 1s
18. How do you start innovating?
3m 44s
19. On the most innovative products
3m 38s

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