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Voiceover:Take a look at these four items and tell me what do they have in common. Here you see an exercise bicycle, a package of powdered soup, a contact lens, and a child's highchair. The kind that slips over the edge of the table. Do you see it? Most people would answer that they're all consumer goods or that they all provide convenience to the consumer. And while that's true, that's not what I'm looking for. Take a look at how they were constructed. Compare them to an earlier form of the product.
Now do you see it? Each of these items has had something subtracted from an original form of a product. The exercise bicycle has had the rear wheel removed. The powdered soup has had the water removed. What about the contact lens? It's had the frame removed. And the child's highchair has had the legs removed. Man with gray hair: All four of these products are examples of what can created using the subtraction technique. Let me show you how to use it.
First we define subtraction as the elimination of an essential component rather than the addition of new systems and functions. To use the technique, follow the steps of the function follows form principle. First, list the internal components. The internal components are those that are directly on or connected to the product. Then apply subtraction by removing a component. Don't be bashful here. Pick something that you think as essential to the product or service.
Next you visualize the resulting virtual product. Remember that the virtual product is an abstract configuration at this point and it may seem rather odd and even absurd. At this next stage you ask yourself two questions and you do it in this specific order. 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? If you identify some benefit then 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? Once you complete this first round the subtraction technique allows you to replace the function of the missing component.
We first try to replace it from something from the closed world. Something in the immediate vicinity of where the consumer uses the product. If not we think of how we could import some technology or other component from outside the closed world. Subtraction is a powerful technique because it breaks fixedness, enforces you to mentally imagine all the remaining components delivering some new benefit.
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