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Zooming in and zooming out

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: Zooming in and zooming out

White-haired man: One of the most important principles in the SIT method is the closed-world principle that we covered in chapter 1. It states that there is an inverse relationship between the distance from the problem and the creativity of the solution. The farther away you have to go to find a solution, the less creative it will be. So it's important where you set the boundaries of the closed world as you apply the SIT method. Let's explore our options. Think of the closed world as an imaginary space and time around your problem.

Zooming in and zooming out

White-haired man: One of the most important principles in the SIT method is the closed-world principle that we covered in chapter 1. It states that there is an inverse relationship between the distance from the problem and the creativity of the solution. The farther away you have to go to find a solution, the less creative it will be. So it's important where you set the boundaries of the closed world as you apply the SIT method. Let's explore our options. Think of the closed world as an imaginary space and time around your problem.

It's like drawing a circle around where the product or service is being used. The circle forms a boundary. Anything that is outside the circle, you don't have access to. If you wanted something from outside the circle, you'd have to figure out a way to import it back in. But everything inside the circle is a resource that you can recruit into how your product or service is used. Therefore, every time you change the size of that boundary, larger or smaller, you change a lot about the resources you have access to.

That changes a lot about how the SIT method will work. It's a process I call zooming in and zooming out. Think of it like the lens on a camera. The photographer sees a completely different view of the subject when the lens is changed by zooming closer in or by zooming far away. With each new position of the lens, the photographer sees a different set of components in the picture. Changing the view triggers new insights on how best to take that shot.

You can do the exact same thing when trying to generate new ideas for your problem. Here's an example. Imagine you're trying to come up with ideas on how to improve a refrigerator. You would start the ideation process by making a list of the major components, like the shelves, ice maker, the light bub, door, and so on. You would also include components that are not attached to the refrigerator but are in the immediate vicinity, such as food items and family members who use the refrigerator.

In this case, our closed world is a fairly tight circle right around the refrigerator. But now, you want to zoom in. Do this by focusing on just one component, such as the door. To use the SIT method here in this case, you make a new list of just those components of the door:the handle, the edges, the rubber seal, and so on. By zooming in and making the closed world even tighter, you'll see the problem very differently.

Using the SIT techniques here will produce entirely different ideas than the previous example. You can also zoom out and give yourself a completely new closed world definition. You do this by imagining the refrigerator as just one component of a larger system, which, in this case, is the kitchen. Your new component list starts with the refrigerator, then you add in all the other components around it, like the oven, the pantry, the kitchen floor, family members, and so on.

Just as before, each SIT technique used in this closed world definition will yield a whole new class of ideas. To make sure this is clear, try applying the multiplication technique to each of these 3 closed world definitions: the door, the refrigerator and its immediate vicinity, and the kitchen. Make your component lists side-by-side, just as we discussed. Then select a component from each list and imagine making a copy and changing it in some way.

You should see right away how zooming in and zooming out completely changes the way you apply this technique. Which closed world do you start with? A good rule of thumb is to start with the main product and its immediate vicinity. Use the SIT techniques at this level until you start to run out of ideas. Then try zooming in on a component, especially` especially a component that is most important to the product.

Finally, I like to try zooming out when I want to explore how the product interacts with its environment. Zooming in and out helps you discover a breakthrough idea to a new problem you didn't even know you had.

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This video is part of

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 2481 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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