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The principle of function follows form

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: The principle of function follows form

Innovation is the process of taking an idea and putting it into practice. Creativity, on the other hand, is what you do in your head to generate the idea, an idea that meets three criteria: An innovative idea must be new, useful, and surprising. New means that no one else has done it before. Useful means that it delivers some new value for you or your customers. And surprising, it means that the market will be delighted with your latest innovation.

The principle of function follows form

Innovation is the process of taking an idea and putting it into practice. Creativity, on the other hand, is what you do in your head to generate the idea, an idea that meets three criteria: An innovative idea must be new, useful, and surprising. New means that no one else has done it before. Useful means that it delivers some new value for you or your customers. And surprising, it means that the market will be delighted with your latest innovation.

Most people think the way you create an idea is to start with a well-formed problem and then brainstorm a solution to it. What if you turned that around 180 degrees? It sounds counterintuitive, but you really can innovate by starting with the solution and then work backwards to the problem. In the systematic inventive thinking method, we call it the Function Follows Form Principle. Here's how it works. First, you start with an existing situation.

That situation can be a product, it can be a service, or perhaps a process. You take that item, and you make a list of its components and attributes. Then you apply one of the five thinking tools. They're called subtraction, division, multiplication, task unification, and attribute dependency. I know some of these sound mathematical, but they're really not, as you'll see when you start applying them. When you apply one of the five tools to the existing situation, you artificially change it.

It morphs into something that, at first, might seem really weird or absurd. That's perfectly normal. In fact, as you get more comfortable with this method, you'll come to expect it. We consider the strange thing a virtual product. It doesn't really exist except in one place, right up here in your mind. This step is really important. Take your time. You have to mentally define and visualize the virtual product.

I like to close my eyes and mentally see an image of the item once it's been manipulated. As you practice the method more, this will get a lot easier. At this stage, you ask yourself two questions, and you do it in this specific order. The first question is, "Should we do it?" Does this new configuration create any advantage or solve some problem? Is there a target audience who would find this beneficial? Does it deliver an unmet need? We call this step the market filter.

It's a filter because if you cannot identify even the tiniest benefit at this step, you throw the concept out the window. You don't waste any more time on it. This is very different than other ideation techniques like brainstorming, where there is no bad idea. Trust me, there are plenty of bad ideas, and if you realize one here, you eject it and go back and reapply the tool to generate a different concept. If you do identify some benefit, then and only then do you ask yourself the second question, "Can we do it?" Do we have the technical know-how to make this concept? Is it feasible? Do we have the intellectual property? Are there regulatory or legal barriers? This step is the implementation filter because once again, if you have a great idea in theory but no way to make it, don't waste any more time on it.

If you pass through both filters, you move on to the adaptation step, where you allow yourself some degree of freedom to modify the concept to make it even stronger and deliver even more value. You may have to iterate through these steps several times before you end up with what I would consider an idea. With each of the five techniques taught in this course, you will apply the principle of function follows form.

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 3277 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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