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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.
This course qualifies for 3 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.
Innovations come in many sizes and shapes from every industry touching every part of our lives. But some new concepts are more creative than others. As you learn and practice the SIT method, you want to generate ideas that have one or more of these five characteristics: mobility, adaptability, simplicity, specificity, and ideality. Let's look at each one of these. First is mobility. A product is more innovative when it helps us lead a more mobile lifestyle.
Smart phones are a great example of this. But mobility is not just about communications. Mobile products do something that makes moving around easier and more effective. For example, mobile products might have a way to sense your location and use that information to provide relevant information to you at that specific moment. Or perhaps the product changes the way it works, depending on where you are, how you got there, and what you do when you arrive. If you generate a new concept that helps people on the go, you probably have a winner on your hands.
Another thing to look for is adaptability. Great products adapt and morph, depending on how they're used. They become smart by changing their characteristics in a way that is most beneficial to the user at that particular moment. For example, in recent years, home builders have begun adding a special type of flooring with sensors that know when someone is in the room. The floor detects how many people are there and even knows who they are. It then changes something in the room, such as the lighting or the music, depending on who those people are.
Next is simplicity. Products and services that are simple tend to be easier to use. They have fewer moving parts, and they're less likely to break down. For example, imagine a bicycle that folds in half so that it's easier to store. A simple idea. Always remember that just adding a lot of bells and whistles to your product can overwhelm the consumer, so keep it simple. You'll attract more with less.
Unique products are those that use parts of the problem to become the solution. It's called specificity. For example, researchers are creating a vehicle-based system called Eye Tracker that monitors a driver's face for signs of drowsiness. It signals an alarm when it detects patterns in the eye and facial movements that indicate a lack of awareness. The problem of drowsiness triggers the solution. As you create new concepts, don't overlook the elements of the problem you were solving.
The solution may be right under your nose. And finally, look for the characteristic known as ideality. Innovative products have this characteristic when the solution to a problem only appears when it's needed. Think of it this way. The product or its main benefit is invisible but then appears when the problem appears. Transition sunglasses have this characteristic. They get darker as the light outside gets brighter. But indoors, the sunglasses look like regular glasses.
Keep in mind that as you develop your innovations, not every new concept will have these characteristics. But as a general rule, you should strive to look for concepts with one or more of these characteristics. Think of these as a set of criteria that can help you evaluate the innovativeness of your product or service. After all, that's the point of innovation, to create and unlock new value for the marketplace.
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