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On favorite innovation experiences

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: On favorite innovation experiences

I think one of my favorite experiences with innovation teams came when we were working with a large global company that made big capital equipment. I won't tell you the name of the company but just say it's a complex piece of capital equipment. What the company was trying to do was take data that came out of this piece of equipment and they were trying to feed it to their customers in a way that would help them maintain the equipment better, and service it.

On favorite innovation experiences

I think one of my favorite experiences with innovation teams came when we were working with a large global company that made big capital equipment. I won't tell you the name of the company but just say it's a complex piece of capital equipment. What the company was trying to do was take data that came out of this piece of equipment and they were trying to feed it to their customers in a way that would help them maintain the equipment better, and service it.

We got a team of people together, a cross functional team, and we started to apply systematic methods to the problem. What was happening is the team had it set in their mind, it's a condition we call fixedness. The fixedness in this situation is what blocks you from seeing configurations that you're not used to. Fixedness means we have a difficult time imagining different configurations than what we're used to.

In this team's mind it was you've got this machine, you've got these sensors on it, the sensors transmit into an iPhone app or into a computer and then you display the information and voila. That fixedness is what was holding us back, and we had to apply, in this case it's a technique called the subtraction technique. To use subtraction you take aspects of the problem and you remove an essential one. Well guess what we removed? When we made the list of components I forced the team to subtract the data that comes off the piece of capital equipment.

You should have seen the looks on their faces. These engineers are looking at us like, "You have to be kidding. That's the whole point. "How can you remove the data from the piece of equipment? "That's why we're doing this project." You've got to stay true to the process when you use these tools. What the team then had to do is say, "We subtracted the data coming off this machine. "Now what are we going to do? "Now how can we cobble together data, "perhaps from other sources.

"What else is going along with this data? "What's going on around it, or in different venues, "or in different systems that is different data "than just the sensor data coming off the machine?" As they started to work on it step-by-step what they started to realize was, my God, there's tons of other kinds of data. There's weather data. There are data about the people who use the equipment. There are maintenance records. There are government data.

There are things that they can all of a sudden pull into the problem. Now take the sensor data from the equipment back into the middle and the whole exercise became clear to them. Now what the project was about was not getting the data from here and putting it there but rather taking this data off the equipment and correlating it to the other kinds of information that they now can see, because the fixedness is broken, now they can see that what they're taking as data and turning in to information, turning it in to insights.

That is really where they unlocked the value and man, the energy in the room just changed like that. (snap) All of a sudden it became so clear to them. They just got on it. You could see the energy level rise. I recognize it because I can see in their minds they're starting to build it. That's when I know we've hit a real gem of an idea. It was a really defining moment for that team and for me.

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 2522 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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