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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.
The division technique works by dividing a product or its components functionally or physically and then rearranging them back into the product. Division is a powerful technique because it forces you to break fixedness especially structural fixedness. Division forces you to create configurations by rearranging components in ways you are not likely to have done on your own. To apply the division technique you start by listing the product's internal components. Next you divide the product or one of the components.
There are three ways you can do this. First is functionally where you rearrange along some functional role. Look at this example. A water sport company took the controls of the speedboat and then functionally divided them off and placed them into the handle of the water ski tow rope. Now the water skier controls the movements of the boat without having a separate driver. Next is physically where you are cutting the product or component along any physical line.
Physical division is different than functional in that we are actually making a cut along some physical line of the product itself or a component. Take a look at this car radio. In this example the faceplate has been physically cut away from the main radio. When you leave your car, you grab the faceplate by pulling it away from the main radio and taking it with you. That makes the main radio completely worthless so thieves won't break into your car to steal it.
The third type is called preserving. That means you divide the product into smaller versions of itself. Each smaller unit preserves the characteristics of the whole. A real simple example of this is what you see here. Cupcakes are essentially smaller versions of a normal size cake. Here's another example of preserving division. Many food manufacturers use this technique by taking a normal full-size product, and then cutting it down into smaller individual portions.
These smaller units have just the right amount of food needed by the consumer. This saves them money. The product is easier to store. There's less wasted food, and it gives the manufacturer more ways to sell its products. Once you've rearranged the components, this now becomes your virtual product. Using function follows form you visualize the virtual product, then you identify potential benefits in target markets. Finally, you modify and adapt the concept to improve it.
The division technique cuts your biggest challenges down to size so you can see new innovative opportunities.
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