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What do these items have in common? Here is a traffic stop light. The kind that changes color as the car pulls up to the light. Next, is a crescendo alarm clock. It starts off ringing very softly and then gradually gets louder until you finally wake up. Next, are transition sunglasses. The kind that get darker as it gets brighter outside. And finally, happy hour. Do you see the pattern? In each case, one item is changing in response to something else.
In the case of the traffic light, it turns green in response to the presence of a car at the intersection. The loudness of the crescendo alarm clock changes in response to time. The darkness of the lens changes in response to the brightness of the external light. And happy hour? Well, the price you pay for drinks in a bar changes in response to the time of day. In each case, you should see that as one thing changes another thing changes and that is the hallmark of the Attribute Dependency Technique.
Attribute dependency is defined as the creation or removal of dependencies between existing product properties. Those product properties could be attributes to the product or service itself. Or they can be attributes of things in the immediate vicinity within the closed world. When you use attribute dependency, you can create dependencies that don't already exist. Or you can remove or break a dependency if one is already there. Let's look at the steps of using the Attribute Dependency Technique.
You begin by listing the products internal and external attributes. Notice that this is the first time where you don't use components as you did the first four techniques. Attributes are different than components. Where a component is usually a physical or tangible thing that you can see or touch, an attribute is a characteristic of the product or service. For example, the screen of a T.V. is a component. While the size of screen would be an attribute.
Once you list the internal and external attributes, you create a two dimensional matrix with these attributes. The matrix creates pairings of the internal and external attributes. For each pair in the matrix, ask the following Does a dependency already exist between the two attributes? In other words, given the way the product or service work today, does one attribute change in response to the other? If not, you imagine creating one.
You imagine one attribute changes when the other changes. If a dependency does exist between those two attributes, you imagine breaking it. Either way that becomes your virtual product. Using function follows form, you identify potential benefits and target markets. And finally, you modify and adapt the concept to improve it. Research shows that this technique is the most powerful of the five within systematic, inventive thinking, accounting for the majority of innovative products and services.
If you want a more competitive and innovative organization, the Attribute Dependency Technique helps you create those clever correlations that unlock new value for your customers.
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