Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Innovation Toolkit

IIT Institute of Design put together a really comprehensive matrix of methodologies that can be used in various phases of the design process.
Click the image to link to the PDF document. If you haven't applied some of these methods, this is a good place to start knowing what's out there and try them out in your program. Also the chart below explains some of these methods and how it can be effective for managing innovation. (Source: Innovation Process Management Web site)


Tools for - Idea Generation, Product Improvements

Common TitleDescriptionEffective For
TRIZ - Inventive Problem Solving
The theory of inventive problem solving is based upon extensive research into real inventions. The research focused on the most significant of those inventions - where the solution to the problem was not entirely obvious and required no trade-offs. The results of which revealed that inventors worldwide sub-consciously applied a common technique - TRIZ brings together these techniques and combines them with very practical methods.
Scientific approach to new solutions to engineering problems.
Brainstorming (Osborne)
This is a classic tool recognised by many, but it is not that successful at generating new ideas. As a method it is not efficient at generating new ideas - Life is just too short! Limited to smaller groups - can create problems with group dynamics.
Generating new associations.
Brainstorming - Catalogue Techniques
Participants Use pictorial matter (Catalogues, photos, etc.) as triggers. More structure than the classic - slightly more efficient as well.
Competitive analysis, new features.
Card / Post-it Systems
Participants Use slips to write ideas down - requires little management intervention or leadership skills - It can be used successfully on large groups. A variation of this technique is 'pass it on' where participants pass on a single card adding ideas to the list.
Idea generation for large groups
Brain writing - Trigger / Cascade
Similar to classic brainstorming - without the disadvantages. More efficient at generating new ideas. Participants use post-it pads to provide triggers for discussion.
Ideal for new teams.
Generating new associations.
Knowledge Trees
Structured brainstorming and reference technique for generation of new products. Highly effective when used by cross functional teams. Can be applied to virtually all aspects in the product design phase. The method was developed by IPM and is used on a regular basis.
Generating specifications. Sharing product knowledge and general understanding.
Parametric Analysis
Parameter based analysis - Quantitative, Qualitative, Categorical. An existing (or competitor) product is used as a benchmark with particular attention being paid to specific parameters. It is then indicated how these parameters would have to be different to enhance satisfaction.
Developing an existing product or product portfolio.
Semantic Processes - Random Matching
Random word-to-word to trigger new associations
General purpose tool
Semantic Processes - Idea Search Matrix
Checklists of questions to trigger new thoughts and ideas
General purpose tool
Excursion Technique
Using words and situations to lead away from the problem and reality. Switching back when a new idea or association is seen. Often closes on one idea
General purpose tool
Problem Abstraction - Why?Why?....
Problem Abstraction or Semantic Processes (redefinition) attempts to reduce problems to their most basic level - problem goals and boundaries are then set. The procedure then follows a series of Why? questions followed by a subsequent Alternative? Good Team exercise.
Developing existing portfolio. Identifying market opportunities for new products.
Ideas Book
Simple technique but can reap good results - Ideas are entered into a dedicated book from anyone who wishes (and at any time) - a relaxed approach to new ideas and suggestions. Can fall quickly into disrepute if not part of an evaluations procedure.
Good when no time limit is present. Ongoing suggestions.
Orthographic Analysis
Orthographic analysis is a way of arranging several attributes of a problem in a graphical representation of corresponding dimensions. A general purpose version of orthographic analysis takes a product and represents its Material, Manufacturing Processes and its Market along three orthographic axes.
Portfolio enhancement. Specific solutions to known market requirements.
SCAMPER - Stretch Matrix
Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify ( or Minify), Put to other uses, Eliminate, Re-arrange (or Reverse) - Together they make up a checklist of possible product modifications.
Product improvements and enhancements.
Analogies
A particular form of thinking or reasoning in which the properties of one object are thought of in terms of a second object which is different but does have elements in common with the former. Ideas may come from nature or other similar products.
New product features.
Evaluation - PIPS
Phases of Integrated Problem Solving - Is a numerical scoring tool that divides the problem (or opportunity) and processes into individual stages and evaluates individually.
Products and Processes
Clichés and Proverbs
A technique to jog the mind out of conventional thinking (out of a rut). Armed with a list of common Clichés and Proverbs ask how each one may apply or be applied to the subject or problem.
General Use


Tools for - Product Definition, Design and Planning

Common TitleDescriptionEffective For
QFD : Quality Function Deployment
Quality Function Deployment is a customer oriented approach to product development and innovation. It is a powerful tool for use by product managers and development teams. The methodology takes the design team through the concept, creation and realisation phases of a new product with absolute focus. QFD also defines what the end user is really looking for in the way of features and benefits.
Structured Product Specifications. Taking the 'Voice of the Customer' through all relevant areas of the Company.
Delphi Technique
The Delphi Technique pulls ideas from participants by means of a highly structured series of questionnaires gradually honing into problems or opportunities. Participants are chosen for their knowledge in their particular field. This technique is good for groups of participants who do not normally meet. The success or failure of this technique is only as good as the chosen participants.
Problem solving, Product definition.
Brainstorming - Catalogue Techniques
Participants Use pictorial matter (Catalogues, photos, etc.) as triggers. More structure than the classic - slightly more efficient as well.
Competitive analysis, new features.
Card / Post-it Systems
Participants Use slips to write ideas down - requires little management intervention or leadership skills - It can be used successfully on large groups. A variation of this technique is 'pass it on' where participants pass on a single card adding ideas to the list.
Idea generation for large groups
Market Needs Research
Market Needs Research is a technique for finding out what the Customer requires (and needs) from a product. It determines whether Users perceive a need which is not currently satisfied by existing products. Similar to elements of the QFD process it is essential to have direct access to the end user and to understand user requirements. The process defines subsequent questions that need to be handled by traditional research methods (Quantitative and or Qualitative).
New product specifications
Opportunity Specification
A concise specification document describing the market need for a proposed new product. It is a good tool for screening new ideas (products) against the companys' capabilities. It describes the business opportunity of the proposed product in terms of core benefits. It also justifies the business opportunity in terms of commercial viability.
Concise business justification, market opportunities, product identification
Knowledge Trees
Structured brainstorming and reference technique for generation of new products. Highly effective when used by cross functional teams. Can be applied to virtually all aspects in the product design phase. The method was developed by IPM and is used on a regular basis.

Generating specifications. Sharing product knowledge and general understanding.

A team builder.

Visual Mapping
Series of matrices position product features and attributes in a visual way - Simple but powerful technique to share new product features with a multi disciplinary team
Product definition - Aids in the communication between Development, Marketing, Industrial design.
Product Function Analysis or (FAST)
Function Analysis Systematic Technique is a method of systematically analysing the functions performed by a product. Once again intimate knowledge of the customers needs and wants with regards to product features and functions. A function tree answers the questions of How and Why functions are required.
Good for analysing both new and existing products, the results of which being used in methodologies like QFD, VAVE, FMEA etc.
Function and feature analysis
Design Specification - Technical Screening Program
Describes what the product Must achieve and sets the criteria by which the product is allowed to continue on its development or is killed off for not achieving the required functionality.
Product screening, Risk assessment.
FMEA

Failure Mode Effect Analysis - Highlights the problem areas (safety related) of a design - Severity and Probability analysis.
Screening for potential problems (safety or reliability related) with new products.
VAVE

Value Analysis Value Engineered - Primarily an engineering / manufacturing tool to optimise design features in the most cost effective way
Optimised cost effective design prior to manufacture.




Tools for - Effective Decision Making

Common TitleDescriptionEffective For
Paired Elimination Analysis (PEA)
Is a fast and simple method to find a single solution. Ideal when a single solution is needed fast - or when many new options are being presented on a continuous basis.
Quick and simple decision making
Risk Analysis Matrix
Analysis and prioritises any risks effecting implementation - Identifies and evaluates the risks in any solution and the circumstances that effects implementation of the solution. For each option a Success rating is given together with a Probability of success. The result or decision is provided in a numeric form.

Simple method that evaluates the For's and Against's or the Pro's and Con's of a range of options.


Quick and simple decision making

Priorities Analysis Matrix
A method to contain and evaluate tasks and priorities - Often used in time management activities. Priority planning helps sort out the old problem of prioritising the Must do's from the can wait's.
Time Management, Priority setting
SWOT Analysis
Situation analysis in the form of:- Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. When used as part of a decision making process each attribute (or observation) stated within the above categories are given a rating of importance. The sum of the Strengths and Opportunities represents favourable attributes whereas the sum of the Weaknesses and Threats represent a negative. The former must heavily out-weight the latter for the solution to have any chance of success.
Strategic decision making



Tools for - Problem Solving

Common TitleDescriptionEffective For
TRIZ - Inventive Problem Solving
The theory of inventive problem solving is based upon extensive research into real inventions. The research focused on the most significant of those inventions - where the solution to the problem was not entirely obvious and required no trade-offs. The results of which revealed that inventors worldwide sub-consciously applied a common technique - TRIZ brings together these techniques and combines them with very practical methods.
Scientific approach to new solutions to engineering problems.
Brainstorming (Osborne)
This is a classic tool recognised by many, but it is not that successful at generating new ideas. As a method it is not efficient at generating new ideas - Life is just too short! Limited to smaller groups - can create problems with group dynamics.
Generating new associations.
Fishbone
A technique to systematically identify a wide variety of potential causes of a problem and to show relationships among the causes. Used to: - list as many potential causes of the problem, show systematic relationships among the causes, create team understanding, help prioritise efforts
General problem solving
Force Field Analysis
A technique used to determine whether a particular solution or goal is practical or not. By analysing the Driving Forces (positive) against Restraining Forces (negative), and evaluating the relative ratio or intensity of the force field a decision can be made for or against. Can be used by individuals but works equally well in teams.
General problem solving - Visual and easy to understand.
Pareto Chart
A method of organising and analysing data by causes of variation. It is a series of bars where the height reflect the frequency or impact of causes of problems. Used to:- Organise and analyse data collected from problems area, depict the area of non conformance, direct a team to critical areas first.
General problem solving.
Problem Abstraction - Why? Why?....
Problem Abstraction or Semantic Processes (redefinition) attempts to reduce problems to their most basic level - problem goals and boundaries are then set. The procedure then follows a series of Why? questions followed by a subsequent Alternative? Good Team exercise.
Generating many varied and unusual problem statements.
Paradigms
Pattern or set of ideas that describe some aspect of the world.
General
Search and Re-Apply
A technique that asks the question - Have we had the same or similar problem? How did we solve it? Has anyone else had a similar problem? Use re-application techniques to search for ideas - Other Companies, Countries, People, Industry, History etc. - Technique works on the basis of ' If you have a problem that needs solving, somebody else has probably already solved it'.
General

Tools for - Strategic Management

Common TitleDescriptionEffective For
SWOT Analysis
Situation analysis in the form of:- Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats.
Strategic Risk analysis in general, Products and Services.
PEST Analysis
Political, Economic, Social and Technological features of the business environment which may influence or threaten the company. Hence the term PEST !. Despite the build up - the technique revolves around the four headings - using them to stimulate related thinking.
Fishing out aspects and issues that may have previously gone un-noticed.
Market Tracking Study
A continuous market research study which monitors changes in the customer perception of : The Company, its' Products and its' Brand Identity.
Market Research and Intelligence.
Technology Roadmaps
Technology Roadmaps is a process that maps the evolutionary path of a particular product technology. Roadmaps show the relationship between product evolution and technology over a given time period. Technology Roadmaps provide a clear strategy and direction route with respect to technology advancement. The related benefits comes from being in control and the ability to manage future technology with complete effectiveness.
Strategic Management, Innovation Management
Product Development Risk Analysis
A method of exploring different development options and evaluating against the companies development skills and historical track record. Conducted in two stages, first cost of failure is estimated in terms of its impact upon the companys' overall business. The more a product threatens the companys' business survival, the greater the product development capability needed to take the risk of embarking upon the development. Second is to assess the product development activity.
General and Strategic Management.
Knowledge Trees
Structured brainstorming and reference technique for generation of new products. Highly effective when used by cross functional teams. Can be applied to virtually all aspects in the product design phase. The method was developed by IPM and is used on a regular basis.
Generating specifications. Sharing product knowledge and general understanding.
Parametric Analysis
Parameter based analysis - Quantitative, Qualitative, Categorical. An existing (or competitor) product is used as a benchmark with particular attention being paid to specific parameters. It is then indicated how these parameters would have to be different to enhance satisfaction.
Developing an existing product or product portfolio.
Product Life Cycle Analysis
A classic marketing tool for mapping the projected life of a new product. Life cycle analysis maps the expected revenue (forecast) of each product within a portfolio and projects when sales are likely to decline. New products can then be planned to replace existing products. The main phases of a products life are Introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline. The Product Viability Model is an excellent tool for product managers - Dynamic 'Life Cycle' management can be undertaken with ease. Several products can be consolidated to represent a product group.
Product Management, Strategic Management.
Visual Mapping
Series of matrices position product features and attributes in a visual way - Simple but powerful technique to share new product features with a multi disciplinary team.
Strategic direction. Innovation Management.



Problem Abstraction - Why?Why?....
Problem Abstraction or Semantic Processes (redefinition) attempts to reduce problems to their most basic level - problem goals and boundaries are then set. The procedure then follows a series of Why? questions followed by a subsequent Alternative? Good Team exercise.
Developing existing portfolio. Identifying market opportunities for new products.
Risk Analysis Matrix
Analysis and prioritises any risks effecting implementation - Identifies and evaluates the risks in any solution and the circumstances that effects implementation of the solution. For each option a Success rating is given together with a Probability of success. The result or decision is provided in a numeric form.
General and Strategic Management.

No comments: