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Day 2 Report: First International Conference on Systematic Innovation

Day 2 Report: First International Conference on Systematic Innovation

| On 24, Jan 2010

Ellen Domb

The tutorial speaker for day 2 at the Systematic Innovation Conference  is Professor Jay Lee, whose primary work is at the U. of Cincinnati in the US and Shanghai Jia Tong University in China.   His talk on “Dominant Design for Product and Service Innovation” introduced the audience to a very organized system of methods for integrating product and service offerings.   “Dominant” refers to your market position if you do this!  Examples from John Deere, GE Aviation and GE Medical, and GM, all  adding information and service components to well-established hardware products were quite persuasive. His Cargill example (matching a US farmer who grows very specialized corn products with a Japanese chicken farmer to produce branded low-cholesterol eggs) was a great example of moving from product (Cargill doesn’t sell the corn or the eggs) to an information-mediated service. 

Key attributes of service innovation in Lee’s model are:

  1. Be Customer Intensive

  2. Use System Instrumentation (smart agent)

  3. Work through Smart Operation Analytics

  4. Incorporate Knowledge Management in Business

  5. Avoid Potential Issues for Customers

His primary tool is a matrix (no surprise to this audience) that maps the customers’ raw needs, both visible and invisible, against the market opportunities.  His stories about moving from industry to the university consortia then back to industry as an academic were both illustrative and entertaining!  (Picture of Prof. Lee)

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The featured talks after lunch were “real world” success stories from Samsung and Hyundai.   Mr. SeHo Cheong from Samsung told his personal story of TRIZ learning mixed with the Samsung company story in a very effective way, starting with his trip to Russia in 1999 to hire TRIZ experts.   (Picture of Mr. Cheong) 

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He showed us a great variety of case studies, starting in 2001, with washing machines, refrigerator door design, and the whole developement cycle of the OLED product family.   Some early case studies were considered significant because they persuaded senior management to support TRIZ, and some are significant because they gave Samsung early market dominance in their fields.   Now in all product development reviews, engineers are asked if they use resources, if they focus on major contradictions, if they have a concept for future super systems and sub-systems, and other TRIZ-based questions.   Since they know the questions will be asked, they use TRIZ extensively in development.   In SMD (Samsung Mobile Device) only 9% of projects were defect improvement projects; the majority were new products, or processes for creating the new products.   Mr. Cheong offered serveral lessons from experience:

  1. Verification is important.   Verify new ideas immediately.  Waiting kills creativity

  2. Top-down project selection is very important.  This protects projects from getting cancelled early.

  3. Select people for the “Creative elite” (internal TRIZ promotion and education team) who have both the technical ability and the personality to help other people succeed.   

  4. Use a task force for big projects , with the project team and the TRIZ team as partners, dividing the work.

The Samsung teams use a very basic flowchart, with many tools of TRIZ/ARIZ/OTSM used where appropriate for the specific project.  There was considerable interest by the audience in the training system, and particularly in the note that the CEO had graduated from the basic level class!   The TRIZ training is accompanied by a support system of consultants and patent writing advisors.  A TRIZ Festival is held annually–last year the 12 best of 62 projects were selected, and 7 awards were given, to promote TRIZ.  Samsung has an internal “webzine” and a conference for their own TRIZ association (6 of the Samsung companies share their experiences.)   Future plans are to develop a broad base of projects (not just top-down), to increase the number of people with higher-level tools, to modify tools and methods for business problems, and to continuously improve the effectiveness of the education and support systems.  

The second paper in this remarkable session was from the TRIZ organizer at Hyundai, and formerly at LS Cable, Mr.  Young-Ju Kang, who personally has more than 52 patents from his work in the automotive industry, using TRIZ with Value Engineering and Axiomatic Design.   (Picture of Mr. Kang, holding the plaque showing the conference picture.)  

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He echoed Mr. Cheong in the rejection of benchmarking, choosing instead to create new paradigms to win in the market.    TRIZ is used in multiple areas:  patent circumvention, system improvement, cost reduction, process innovation, technical forecasting, and general creativity improvement.  History:  1995 -2005 TRIZ in the LS and LG companies, with more than 60 patents, and an internal TRIZ Association started to support all the related companies.   In Hyundai, 2007-9 there have been more than 40 projects and the development of internal training and support systems.   In contrast to Samsung, at Hyundai  the TRIZ team selects the projects.

Mr. Kang also discussed the problems of TRIZ propagation, especially the difficulty of assessing the return on investment, and the difficulty of overcoming ignorance and psychological resistance (what can you do if people are convinced that the system cannot be changed, or that all problems can be cured by spending more money?)   An equally important problem was selecting easy, unimportant problems as case studies–then the results were not They are now very disciplined about finding the right question before starting work on the solutions.   He reminded the audience that early pilot projects were published in The TRIZ Journal in 2005, and that this helped draw attention to the work.  

He had a very nice analogy between the complete technical system for a product and the complete technical system for a TRIZ implementation (Picture of Mr. Kang’s slide). 

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Both LS and Hyundai use cash awards and public honor as motivational rewards, and have internal TRIZ conferences to show project results and reward the participants.   Similarly to the Samsung efforts, they are now modifying methods to use for business problems, and reaching out to universities and other companies to develop a network of resources.  

Mr. Kang concluded with a case study of a wheel system improvement that simplified the brake system, reducing cost and improving energy efficiency, and a patent circumvention case of waterproof optical cable–both cases emphasized trimming in very different ways.   His conclusions were somewhat different from Mr. Cheong’s, particularly starting bottom-up, then going to top-down in the organization–the audience reacted very positively to his step 4:  be ambitious and confident.

Mr. K. Lee then joined Mr. Kang invited us all to the Korean TRIZCON 2010 in March.

The technical progam concluded with parallel sessions in 6 classrooms on a wide variety of subjects related to innovation, and the social program concluded with the banquet