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Using task unification for business issues

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: Using task unification for business issues

White-haired man: I like the task unification technique, especially in situations where you already have a particular problem that you're trying to address. When you use it this way, the technique will take a specific resource and point it at specific aspects of the problem you're trying to solve. Let's go back to our refrigerator example and see how this works. Imagine going out and asking people what kinds of problems or frustrations they have with their refrigerator. In other words, what are their pet peeves about what's put inside the fridge, or anything else about how it's used.

Using task unification for business issues

White-haired man: I like the task unification technique, especially in situations where you already have a particular problem that you're trying to address. When you use it this way, the technique will take a specific resource and point it at specific aspects of the problem you're trying to solve. Let's go back to our refrigerator example and see how this works. Imagine going out and asking people what kinds of problems or frustrations they have with their refrigerator. In other words, what are their pet peeves about what's put inside the fridge, or anything else about how it's used.

We might get feedback from consumers that sounds like this. It's hard to know what food is still fresh and what need to be thrown out. I waste a lot of food because of that. Refrigerators are difficult to keep clean. You have to go in there, take the food out, and wipe the shelves off. It's a hassle. It's hard to know what food I need to buy at the store because I can't remember what's in the refrigerator. That means I have to run back to the store if I forgot something. Certain family members leave empty food packages in the refrigerator.

It drives me crazy, especially when they leave empty ice cream cartons. Yuk! When I'm trying to lose weight, the refrigerator becomes my biggest enemy. I wish it could me in some way. So how do we use task unification? Let's pick just one of these to work on. The last one is interesting, losing weight. Everyone thinks about their weight at some point. To use task unification to address this issue, we first have to unpack the issue and break it down into its smaller components.

It's almost like making a component list for a product or service. Instead, we make a component list of all the things that involve losing weight. For example, to lose weight people have to measure the calories they consume each day, manage the portion size of what they eat at each meal, eat quality foods, resist bad foods, manage the timing of meals so they don't eat too often or, even worse, skip meals, and monitor the progress of how much weight is lost.

Next, you go back to your component list for the refrigerator: compressor, door, door handle, shelves, drawers, ice maker, light bulb, and temperature control. With these 2 lists, you create a 2-dimensional matrix, like a spreadsheet. You put the components of the refrigerator down the first column. You put the components of the issue across the first row.

What you end up with are combinations in each cell that might give you an idea on how to solve a problem. You pick any cell and you ask yourself 2 key questions. First, what benefit does that deliver? And the second is, how would it work? Let's try it. Let's look at cell E6 for example. Resist bad food and shelves. Let's imagine shelves that help you resist bad food.

Sounds a bit strange, but in fact, research shows that shifting the food around in your fridge can retrain our brain to lose weight. Putting certain foods on certain shelves can help you crave healthy food instead of bad food. Perhaps you could design shelves that help consumers know where to put the healthy stuff and where to put the bad stuff. Let's try another example. How about cell H3, the door and monitor progress.

That seems pretty useful. It might help to remind a person how much they weigh immediately before they open the fridge door. Today's new refrigerator models have LCD screens on the door. Hey, if these could be linked with weight scales, you might create a way to deliver this new benefit. At first, it might seem a bit odd to have a component take one of these jobs, but that's the point of systematic inventive thinking, to force combinations that you were not likely to think of on your own.

The task unification technique can lead you to ideas that will delight your customers in completely new ways.

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This video is part of

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 2802 viewers

Drew Boyd
Author

 
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      19s
  2. 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. 11m 55s
    1. Functional fixedeness
      2m 26s
    2. The subtraction technique
      2m 59s
    3. Subtraction in action
      4m 8s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 22s
  4. 10m 35s
    1. Structural fixedness
      2m 32s
    2. The division technique
      2m 43s
    3. Division in action
      3m 3s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 17s
  5. 16m 25s
    1. The multiplication technique
      4m 24s
    2. Multiplication in action
      4m 39s
    3. Zooming in and zooming out
      4m 51s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 31s
  6. 15m 45s
    1. The task-unification technique
      4m 19s
    2. Task unification in action
      4m 14s
    3. Using task unification for business issues
      4m 27s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 45s
  7. 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
    5. Addressing common challenges
      1m 57s
  8. 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. 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. 52m 41s
    1. About Drew
      2m 9s
    2. What is innovation?
      51s
    3. What got Drew started in innovation?
      2m 15s
    4. On innovation as a skill
      1m 53s
    5. On innovation as part of your business
      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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