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Top Innovation Methodologies?

Top Innovation Methodologies?

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 1455
Posted by: Mike
Posted on: Wednesday, 22nd October 2008

What is usually considered the top innovation methodologies?

For example, Strategyn’s outcome driven innovation ?? Some others great ones would be?


Message: 1457
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Wednesday, 22nd October 2008

As with all such questions, the answer is “it depends.”   I like the Strategyn method because it starts with the customer, and understanding the customers' needs and evaluation criteria, then getting innovative (and there are some TRIZ elements built into their method now, since I've been collaborating with them for a year or so.)   BUT if you have a strong DFSS system, it can accomplish the same thing, with different tools and methods.  AND if you have excellent customer knowledge, but don't know how to take the next steps to satisfying customer needs, TRIZ is extraordinarily productive, and (contrary to mythology) easy to get started with.   You'll have to make your own choice of TRIZ methods (but as editor I can say without violating our non-commercial policy for this column, check out our authors, editors, and advertisers.)

Message: 1459
Posted by: Robert Jacobson
Posted on: Thursday, 23rd October 2008

A fascinating topic, Ellen. I just attended Innovation Immersion in Phoenix and neither Outcome Driven Innovation nor DFSS came up. Perhaps this was because almost all of the speakers were CEOs and VPs, actual innovators rather than innovation consultants (who had to sit and listen to others for once).

The general conclusion was that innovation methodologies are less important, if important at all, than the prevailing corporate culture — for innovation or against it. Determining if there is indeed an “innovation culture” within an organization is difficult to determine. Often managements go to a great deal of trouble making their firms look more “innovative,” but honoring innovation more in the breach than in the barrel. The other determining factor: leadership. The ability to inspire others to be creative.

Returning to methodology: many speakers briefly alluded to methods and tools they used to brainstorm and keep track of ideas, etc., but not one about how such methods and tools are themselves more than supplements to the central task, which is to find value in unexpected or undetected places. For this, unembellished, rigorous application of an innovator's IIQ — Innovative Intelligence Quotient, to coin a phrase — seems the only sure way to come to an acceptable solution. The rest is just mechanical.

Message: 1460
Posted by: Claude Meylan
Posted on: Friday, 24th October 2008

There are many questions around here. The first one about the role of corporate culture and leadership, the second about creative thinking and the last about innovation methodologies. That’s probably a bit too much to be dealt effectively in such a forum. But let me try to give some hints to facilitate this discussion. If we start with Ã’why do we need methods to innovate?Ó and Ã’why CEOs should care for it?Ó, a part of the answer may be: we need methods to understand where we have to focus our efforts, formulate problems properly and find value ideas. A contrario, no method leads to corporate administration and poor innovations. Why? Because creative thinking is not just a gift, it’s also a process. Not just a mindset, but part of the business, which we can identify as the essence of corporate culture. If you want to address the right problems to be solved, you also need to know Ã’how?Ó. There is an efficient way to do it and there is no special magic in it: Kepner Tregoe, Ulwick or Ellen of course!, to name a few, brought some very useful directions (none is exclusive or perfect, for sure) to go throughout this vital step. Fortunately, there are some other tools that help to identify innovation patterns, analogies or heuristics to accelerate and diversify your understanding of how to design a breakthrough product. If you think you don’t need them your whole life long, it’s your choice. But if you expect these methods, like TRIZ, would only be useful once, you should better start to understand how! É. By the way, help people to reach a higher performance is also a good way to enforce leadershipÉ

Message: 1461
Posted by: Pentti Sšderlin
Posted on: Friday, 24th October 2008

“Succesful people posses different problem solving methods, of which they apply those fit for the problem in hand.”

Message: 1464
Posted by: albert
Posted on: Tuesday, 28th October 2008

Thanks for bringing up this interesting discussion. Here is my contribution.

The book of Roger Martin: “The opposable mind” sums a lot of good examples concerning succesful business people, that is related to the subject in this forum I think. He describes the triad of stance (processed by for example culture), tools (for example innovation tools to make changes for the better) and experience (results in behavior, processes..etc…). From in to out to act and vica versa to learn. Cyclic evolution (step by step) of processes, designs and information (knowledge).

Tools are interfacing with the external – processing materials, energy and information – and at the same time interfacing with the user, closing the loop. I have the feeling that the latter is mostly disregarded in todays business, resulting in unneeded fails – blaming tools for not working properly and not learning to picking the right tools depending on needs and user(s).

I personally value the WHY question most because it relates system resources and intended system functionality. Bringing the brain into play. However there should be a ballance between LEARN and ACT to evolve.

Based on the above I have to conclude that 'Top Innovation Methodolgies' do not really exist due to the abbundance of variations/settings. Variations in users and variations of changing physical systems.

Message: 1465
Posted by: Paul Hobcraft
Posted on: Tuesday, 28th October 2008

I share the view that Strategyn's methodology is a very sound one for sorting out product ideas and discovering unmet and over served needs but it is only a part of the total value chain needed for innovation. I believe knowing the climate for innovation is critical. Ekvalls nine dimensions have a lot of value here for exploring climate and culture. Also Larry Keeley of Doblin fame with his “ten types of innovation” allow for that broader thinking through of where to explore innovation and well suited to the service side. A further need and often one that lets innovators badly down is to have a methodical business case structure to reduce down emotion and build up the argument for the innovation activity. There are plenty more but these three add to the discussion I feel.

Message: 1478
Posted by: Craig Libby
Posted on: Thursday, 13th November 2008

Excellent discussion thread, everyone. I have been trained and used just about every method mentioned. I attended Strategyn's class this summer for ODI. I have used and use DFSS quite a bit and I am using a variant of TRIZ, creative triggers. At this point, I find that I need to storyboard out the phases, steps and methods I plan on using (thogught process mapping) in advance of a potential project so I have an actionable roadmap to start from. I would agree that all have value and that there is no ultimate best method. I can't recall when I used just one method on an innovation and development project.

Message: 1479
Posted by: Dave Verduyn
Posted on: Thursday, 13th November 2008

Great question:  Here is my short answerÓ:  IT DEPENDS ON THE REASON.  Here is a further explanation.  About 7 years ago I was teaching about 25 methods for Innovation and had a client with an urgent project ask me if I could just teach them the best methods.  It was a great request, but I didn’t immediately have an answer, I told them to let me think about it and I’d get back with them shortly.  To make a long story short I ended up developing a matrix with typical Ã’reasons to innovateÓ on the left side and Ã’Systematic Innovation MethodologiesÓ on the top.  The center Ã’cellsÓ mapped the power of each of the tool to the reasons.  For example, if your reason to innovate is Cost Reduction, effective Ã’toolsÓ would be The Trimming Technique, Scientific Effects, Lateral Benchmarking, Resources, and Function Analysis.  If your reason to Innovate was to differentiate your offering from the competitors with a Ã’WOWÓ feature or characteristic, effective Innovation Methods might be the TRIZ 9 windows, Patterns of Evolution, Ethnographic tools such as Painstorming, Trend Analysis, Morphological Tables, Customer Modifications, etc.  If your reason to innovate was because of a contradiction, of course you want to consider the TRIZ 40 inventive principles as well as the 4 Separation Principles.  To sum it up Ð there are several reasons to innovate and several Ã’Innovation MethodsÓ Ð Pick the right tool for the job. 

Message: 1488
Posted by: Richard Platt
Posted on: Monday, 24th November 2008

I totally concur with David's conclusions, excellent advice from someone who has had to answer the tough questions that oh so many in the innovation domain have yet to realize.

In fact I suggest taking a page from a true competitor Bruce Lee, who advocated a no form form of martial arts. Study all of the martial arts and then adapt and use them as necessary.

Spot on advice Dave, keep your other competitors guessing I always say.

Message: 1491
Posted by: Jack Hipple
Posted on: Tuesday, 25th November 2008

Some input to the “matrix” suggested by Dave. TRIZ is a complex tool kit and it's not the cure for everything. Darrell Mann did a similar matrix that I use in my courses. It's on p177 of his book “Hands On Systematic Innovation. Very useful as a screening process for which TRIZ tool to use in what order of priority.