Category Archives: Attribute Dependency

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and The Total Eclipse of the Sun

Total eclipse stamp imageThe United States Postal Service has just released a “first-of-its-kind” stamp that changes appearance when you touch it. What has inspired this small nugget of innovation? The August 21 total eclipse of the sun. It will be the first total eclipse to be seen in the U.S. mainland since 1979. Even more, a total eclipse has not traveled the entire span of the United States since 1918. Since millions of people hope to witness this historic event, the
USPS decided to commemorate it with a Forever Stamp.

It just so happens that this newly issued stamp is a great example of the Attribute Dependency technique - one of the five innovation methods that make up Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). Attribute Dependency works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of a product or its environment. The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever Stamp works in this way as the picture on the stamp changes when one rubs their thumb over it.

According to the United States Postal Service:

The stamp image is a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ, that shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006.

In the first U.S. stamp application of thermochromic ink, the Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. 

The stamp is a great example of how SIT methods can be applied to any product, great or small. And, anyone can learn to create by utilizing these innovative methods, including you! If you would like to get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

  1. List internal/external variables.
  2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)
  • Internal/internal
  • Internal/external
  1. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.
  2. Visualize the resulting virtual product.
  3. Identify potential user needs.
  4. Modify the product to improve it.

 

 

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and High Heels

High Heel Blog ImageA great example of the Attribute Dependency Technique can be found at My Place Café & Bar at the Hilton Osaka hotel in Japan. Attribute Dependency is one of the five innovation methods called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of a product or its environment. And this technique is helping My Place increase their customer base in a surprising way by offering female customers a discount on their food and drink orders based on the height of their high heels. The higher the heel the greater the discount.

According to Fox News:

To qualify for the promotion, heels must be at least five centimeters (two inches) tall. But the higher the heel, the greater the discount on the bar’s select dining options, craft beer, organic wine and cocktails.

Discounts start at 10 percent off your order, with each additional two centimeters of heel height receiving a better deal.

Heels from seven to nine centimeters get 15 percent off, nine to 11 centimeters 20 percent, 11 to 13 centimeters 25 percent and 13 to 15 centimeters 30 percent. Anyone wearing heels above 15 centimeters (almost 6 inches!) will 40 percent off their bill.

My Place is running its “High Heels Ladies Night Discount” on Thursday nights starting June 15 and it lasts from 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

It’s true that anyone can learn to create by utilizing the SIT methods. If you would like to get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

  1. List internal/external variables.
  2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)
  • Internal/internal
  • Internal/external
  1. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.
  2. Visualize the resulting virtual product.
  3. Identify potential user needs.
  4. Modify the product to improve it.

The SIT Patterns in Thanksgiving Cooking Gadgets

by Darla Wilkinson (darla@drewboyd.com)

 

For many people this week’s Thanksgiving celebration will mean endless shopping, prepping, and cooking in anticipation of the big feast. The hours of slaving away in the kitchen usually seem worth it all once you sit and savor the joy shared by family and friends. And though every dish sprinkled with a pinch of love is the tastiest, none of us would slight a little help in the kitchen in order to make this one-day-a-year dinner a little less stressful for the chef.

So in the spirit of lending a helping hand, I’ve found 5 kitchen gadgets that can easily assist you this Thanksgiving holiday. And it just so happens they demonstrate the five patterns of the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

  1. Infrared thermometerSUBTRACTION: The Subtraction Technique works by removing a component, preferably an essential one, then working backwards to imagine what benefits are created by just the remaining components. By removing the standard probe from the thermometer and adding an infrared device, this tool will allow you to see if your turkey is, in fact, ready while keeping your fingertips unburned and agile for other culinary tasks. The thermometer featured is the ThermoHAWK 420 Touchless thermometer.
  1. Triple timerMULTIPLICATION: The Multiplication Technique works by taking a component of the system, copying it, but changing it in some qualitative way. Like Subtraction, you take this new configuration and imagine benefits that it could deliver. The OXO Good Grips Triple Timer has multiplied the time-keeping feature by displaying not one but three timers on the screen. Each timer works independently from the other enabling you to make sure the turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie all finish right on time.
  1. Fat separatorTASK UNIFICATION: The Task Unification Technique works by taking an existing component and assigning it an additional job (that of another component or some new task). Holiday gravy demands only the best turkey broth. And thanks to the fat separator a standard liquid measuring cup has been turned into so much more. By adding a stopper to the spout and a filter to the top of the cup, turkey drippings are not only measured, but the fat and skin are filtered, leaving only the luscious broth to be poured out. The OXO Good Grips Fat Separator is featured.
  1. Divided rackDIVISION: The Division Technique works by taking a component of the product or the product itself, then dividing it physically or functionally. You re-arrange the parts to seek new benefits. Nothing spells disaster quite like seeing the Thanksgiving bird tumble to the ground when transferring it from your roasting pan to the cutting board. Thanks to the application of the division technique to the roasting rack, such tragedy can be avoided. By dividing the roasting rack in half lengthwise and attaching them with a pin, a chef can now pull the pen and slip both halves out from under the bird. The rack featured is the Cuisipro Roasting Rack.
  1. Voice activiated listATTRIBUTE DEPENDENCY: The Attribute Dependency Technique works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of the product or its environment. As one thing changes, another thing changes. This kitchen gadget can put an end to forgetting that one essential ingredient you remembered while washing the dishes. By pressing the button and speaking into your wall-mounted Smart Shopper, the gadget records each item on the display screen for you. You can later print out a list in a simple receipt form, saving you time from stopping to write down items or typing them in your phone.

Holiday meals will always be a labor of love. But thanks to the timeless templates used by innovators, these gadgets can be handy companions to preparing the best Thanksgiving feast yet.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers!

 

 

Using Systematic Innovation on Digital Assets

Cyt-screen-960x630The SIT method is great for creating exciting new products and services. Now I want to show you how to apply these techniques to digital assets. For example, let’s apply the Attribute Dependency technique to a website. You start by listing the internal and external attributes of the site like the one here. 

Internal:
1. color
2. design
3. graphics
4. information
5. link locations
6. page loading speed
7. contact information
8. length of text

External:
a. number of visitors
b. type of visitors
c. location of visitor
d. SEO page rank
e. search requests
f. type of browser
g. type of computer

Next, randomly pair an external attribute with an internal one. and imagine a relationship between the two attributes. For example, “location of visitor” and “graphics,” meaning how the information is displayed on your website. As the location of the visitor changes, the information and graphics that you display on your website changes. Why would that be valuable? In what situations would it make sense to have that relationship in place?

Think about it. Imagine if your customer is browsing your website right inside one of your retail stores. Perhaps you would change the kind of information and graphics you would use to show your products. What if they were browsing your website from one of your competitor’s stores? Could that change how you display competitive pricing information? What if your customer is browsing within a healthcare facility, or from an airport, or inside a restaurant? Would it change the products, the prices, or other service elements that you display? It just might. Applying attribute dependency can make your website responsive and adaptable. It services your clients better by understanding more about them.

Facebook_like_logo_1Let’s apply this same approach to a social media application. For this example, let’s use Facebook. Here are the internal and external attributes of a Facebook Page.

Internal
1.number of friends
2.wall postings (by you)
3.pokes
4.status
5.years on Facebook
6.gender of friends
7.degree of friendship
8.emotional state
9.nature of friendship
10.age
11.current location
12.current activity
13.photos with other people

External
a.time
b.likes
c.size of friends’ network
d.wall postings (by others)
e.status of friends
f.friend's demographics (age, gender, etc)

Let’s imagine a relationship between “likes” and “wall postings.” There is no relationship there now, so let’s imagine one. For example, as the number of “likes” increases over a particular period of time, your wall postings change. Why would that be beneficial? Perhaps you would put different products or special promotions there once you reach a certain level of likes. In other words, you change how you engage with your customers who visit your Facebook page based on how they engage. A relationship between these two attributes would give you a cue to know when it's appropriate to do something different on your page.

Let’s go further with digital innovation and look at mobile apps and how to apply SIT techniques. For these, I like to use the Task Unification technique. We create a virtual product by saying: the App has the additional job of addressing this business issue. The trick is to pick an app that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue now. That’s where you find some surprising innovations.

Let’s do an example. Imagine your company makes a household product that helps get rid of odors in your home. It’s a spray product that you would use to get rid of odors from your cat or dog. Imagine you're the marketing manager for this product and you want to find creative ways to promote its benefits.

First, find a list of mobile apps. Pick one of these randomly and plug it into the phrase: "the app has the additional job of promoting my product."

Here is an app called Micello, a provider of comprehensive indoor venue mapping. It’s like Google maps only for in indoor spaces like shopping malls or airports. You imagine this app has the additional job of promoting your spray for pet odors. What would be the benefit? How it would work, and how would it increase brand awareness of your product? Suppose this technology is used to create an internal map of your home. What if it could also track where your pet spends its time as it moves from room to room. Perhaps the app creates an odor heat map of where the pet has been so that you know exactly where to spray the product. I love this idea because it’s both functional and it reinforces the brand promise.

Task Unification can help find new uses for existing apps, and it can help you create completely new apps.

Your digital assets are just as important as your products and services. Using the SIT Method will unlock more value for your customers and find new ways to engage them more effectively through digital channels.

 

 

10 Valentine’s Day Surprises Created With S.I.T.

Valentines-dayToday is Valentine's Day, and to celebrate, here are ten creative ways to show how much you love your partner. I generated some of these for a TV interview yesterday on FOX19-WXIX morning news is Cincinnati. They wanted me to share how to use S.I.T. to be more creative on this special day. So here is my extended list:

1. Flowers are very common on Valentine's Day, with the most common gift being a dozen long-stem red roses. So to be more creative, apply the Division Technique. Divide the 12 roses into single versions, each in their own vase. Place them throughout your home. That way, you get twelve little surprises instead of one big one.  

2. Building on the first idea, place eleven of the roses throughout your home, but hide or hold on to the 12th rose (the Subtraction Technique). When your partner realizes there are only eleven, he or she will wonder where the 12th rose is. That's the time to place it somewhere strategically (hint: pillow) or give it to your partner directly. Nice touch!

3. I love the Task Unification Technique for challenges like this. I like to pick a component in the home randomly and force it to take on an additional job. These ideas that leverage a resource in the immediate environment (Closed World) tend to create surprising, forehead-slapping ideas that make you utter, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" For example, take the garage door. Imagine taking your traditional Valentine's Day card and taping it to the bottom of the garage door so that when she opens it, the card will dangle invitingly from the bottom. Clever!

4. Here's another example of Task Unification. Take shaving cream and draw a big heart with the words, "I love you" somewhere fun like the inside of your shower (make sure it's on the inside or you'll be in big trouble.)

5. Food is another way to inspire love. Instead of making a plain old salad, try taking tomato and mozzarella cheese slices and make a heart shape on the plate. Easy, cheap, and one of those little touches your partner will appreciate.

6. I found this idea on the Internet, but I love it anyway because it demonstrates the Multiplication Technique so well. Take a bunch of different size envelopes or perhaps boxes and place them inside one another (like Russian nested figures). In the last one, place your favorite love poem. Maybe corny, but it works!

7. We have a computer in our kitchen, and I love to use the screensaver function to surprise my wife with fun and loving things (especially if I'm in trouble from something!!). Try this by placing a big heart shape on the screen, perhaps with an image of the two of you together (wedding photo?). It's a winner every time.

8. Building on that idea, change her screensaver or background photo on her smartphone to show an old, nostalgic photo of the two of you. (Be sure you have a way to get her previous image on there, though, or you'll have a problem).

9. Attribute Dependency is a great pattern seen in the majority of innovative products and services. As one thing changes, another thing changes. Here's how to use it. Create a special smartphone playlist of all love songs. Put it in her library (when she's not looking). Show it to her after she gets out of the shower where you placed the big shaving cream heart shape. Play it for her. You're gonna have a good day!

10. Perhaps because I use dry erase markers so often in my work (teaching, speaking, facilitating), that I just love them. You can use them to write on lots of surfaces, and they can be erased just like on a white board. So take a (red) marker, and place loving messages all around the house on glass surfaces - bathroom mirrors, microwave winder, car window - you get the idea.

Have fun and enjoy the day!

10 Valentine’s Day Surprises Created With S.I.T.

Valentines-dayToday is Valentine's Day, and to celebrate, here are ten creative ways to show how much you love your partner. I generated some of these for a TV interview yesterday on FOX19-WXIX morning news is Cincinnati. They wanted me to share how to use S.I.T. to be more creative on this special day. So here is my extended list:

1. Flowers are very common on Valentine's Day, with the most common gift being a dozen long-stem red roses. So to be more creative, apply the Division Technique. Divide the 12 roses into single versions, each in their own vase. Place them throughout your home. That way, you get twelve little surprises instead of one big one.  

2. Building on the first idea, place eleven of the roses throughout your home, but hide or hold on to the 12th rose (the Subtraction Technique). When your partner realizes there are only eleven, he or she will wonder where the 12th rose is. That's the time to place it somewhere strategically (hint: pillow) or give it to your partner directly. Nice touch!

3. I love the Task Unification Technique for challenges like this. I like to pick a component in the home randomly and force it to take on an additional job. These ideas that leverage a resource in the immediate environment (Closed World) tend to create surprising, forehead-slapping ideas that make you utter, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" For example, take the garage door. Imagine taking your traditional Valentine's Day card and taping it to the bottom of the garage door so that when she opens it, the card will dangle invitingly from the bottom. Clever!

4. Here's another example of Task Unification. Take shaving cream and draw a big heart with the words, "I love you" somewhere fun like the inside of your shower (make sure it's on the inside or you'll be in big trouble.)

5. Food is another way to inspire love. Instead of making a plain old salad, try taking tomato and mozzarella cheese slices and make a heart shape on the plate. Easy, cheap, and one of those little touches your partner will appreciate.

6. I found this idea on the Internet, but I love it anyway because it demonstrates the Multiplication Technique so well. Take a bunch of different size envelopes or perhaps boxes and place them inside one another (like Russian nested figures). In the last one, place your favorite love poem. Maybe corny, but it works!

7. We have a computer in our kitchen, and I love to use the screensaver function to surprise my wife with fun and loving things (especially if I'm in trouble from something!!). Try this by placing a big heart shape on the screen, perhaps with an image of the two of you together (wedding photo?). It's a winner every time.

8. Building on that idea, change her screensaver or background photo on her smartphone to show an old, nostalgic photo of the two of you. (Be sure you have a way to get her previous image on there, though, or you'll have a problem).

9. Attribute Dependency is a great pattern seen in the majority of innovative products and services. As one thing changes, another thing changes. Here's how to use it. Create a special smartphone playlist of all love songs. Put it in her library (when she's not looking). Show it to her after she gets out of the shower where you placed the big shaving cream heart shape. Play it for her. You're gonna have a good day!

10. Perhaps because I use dry erase markers so often in my work (teaching, speaking, facilitating), that I just love them. You can use them to write on lots of surfaces, and they can be erased just like on a white board. So take a (red) marker, and place loving messages all around the house on glass surfaces - bathroom mirrors, microwave winder, car window - you get the idea.

Have fun and enjoy the day!

10 Valentine’s Day Surprises Created With S.I.T.

Valentines-dayToday is Valentine's Day, and to celebrate, here are ten creative ways to show how much you love your partner. I generated some of these for a TV interview yesterday on FOX19-WXIX morning news is Cincinnati. They wanted me to share how to use S.I.T. to be more creative on this special day. So here is my extended list:

1. Flowers are very common on Valentine's Day, with the most common gift being a dozen long-stem red roses. So to be more creative, apply the Division Technique. Divide the 12 roses into single versions, each in their own vase. Place them throughout your home. That way, you get twelve little surprises instead of one big one.  

2. Building on the first idea, place eleven of the roses throughout your home, but hide or hold on to the 12th rose (the Subtraction Technique). When your partner realizes there are only eleven, he or she will wonder where the 12th rose is. That's the time to place it somewhere strategically (hint: pillow) or give it to your partner directly. Nice touch!

3. I love the Task Unification Technique for challenges like this. I like to pick a component in the home randomly and force it to take on an additional job. These ideas that leverage a resource in the immediate environment (Closed World) tend to create surprising, forehead-slapping ideas that make you utter, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" For example, take the garage door. Imagine taking your traditional Valentine's Day card and taping it to the bottom of the garage door so that when she opens it, the card will dangle invitingly from the bottom. Clever!

4. Here's another example of Task Unification. Take shaving cream and draw a big heart with the words, "I love you" somewhere fun like the inside of your shower (make sure it's on the inside or you'll be in big trouble.)

5. Food is another way to inspire love. Instead of making a plain old salad, try taking tomato and mozzarella cheese slices and make a heart shape on the plate. Easy, cheap, and one of those little touches your partner will appreciate.

6. I found this idea on the Internet, but I love it anyway because it demonstrates the Multiplication Technique so well. Take a bunch of different size envelopes or perhaps boxes and place them inside one another (like Russian nested figures). In the last one, place your favorite love poem. Maybe corny, but it works!

7. We have a computer in our kitchen, and I love to use the screensaver function to surprise my wife with fun and loving things (especially if I'm in trouble from something!!). Try this by placing a big heart shape on the screen, perhaps with an image of the two of you together (wedding photo?). It's a winner every time.

8. Building on that idea, change her screensaver or background photo on her smartphone to show an old, nostalgic photo of the two of you. (Be sure you have a way to get her previous image on there, though, or you'll have a problem).

9. Attribute Dependency is a great pattern seen in the majority of innovative products and services. As one thing changes, another thing changes. Here's how to use it. Create a special smartphone playlist of all love songs. Put it in her library (when she's not looking). Show it to her after she gets out of the shower where you placed the big shaving cream heart shape. Play it for her. You're gonna have a good day!

10. Perhaps because I use dry erase markers so often in my work (teaching, speaking, facilitating), that I just love them. You can use them to write on lots of surfaces, and they can be erased just like on a white board. So take a (red) marker, and place loving messages all around the house on glass surfaces - bathroom mirrors, microwave winder, car window - you get the idea.

Have fun and enjoy the day!

The Three Faces of Attribute Dependency

Mixing bowlsWhen using the Attribute Dependency technique, you’ll reach a point in the function follows form process where it’s time to make adaptations to your concept. That’s where you try to improve the concept and put more definition around it.

One way to make adaptations with Attribute Dependency is to change the type of dependency. There are three ways to do it: passive, active and automatic. Think of these as what has to happen within the product or service for the dependency to take place. Let’s look at each type.

Passive dependencies, just as the name implies, are passive. Nothing has to happen for the dependency to take place. There doesn't need to be an intervening element to cause the dependency.

Look around and you will see that many products and services are examples of passive dependency. Here is a simple example of mixing bowls that come in different sizes.

Now you may ask, “Is this really an example of the attribute dependency pattern?” It certainly is. As one thing changes another thing changes. In this case, as the needs of the user change, the size of the bowl changes. It’s a passive dependency, though, because the bowls simply exist in various sizes and shapes. In fact, any product that comes in different sizes such as clothing, hardware items, even homes are examples of passive attribute dependency.

But some dependencies require an active, intervening element to cause them to occur. A very simple example is Happy Hour, when the price of drinks in a bar is reduced. But for this to happen, somebody has to do something. That active element, of course, is the bartender. At the appointed happy hour, let's say 5 o'clock, the bartender simply lowers the price of the drinks presumably for an hour. Then again at 6 o'clock, the bartender raises those prices back to their normal level. Because of the active intervention, we call this an active dependency.

TransitionAnd finally, we have automatic dependencies. These are unique because they happen, as the name implies, automatically. The product or service is designed so that as one thing changes, the product automatically changes by itself without some intervening third-party element to make that change.

Transition sunglasses are one of the best examples of an automatic dependency. As the brightness of the light changes, the lens automatically darkens in response to that change.

Products that have this type of dependency seem almost smart. They know when it's appropriate to change in response to some other variable, either an internal or external. The consumer doesn't have to do anything because the product does it all by itself.

How do you know which type of dependency to use? It depends on a lot of factors such as how much convenience you want to deliver to the customer. Is it technically feasible to create a particular dependency? For example, your engineers might be able to make a mixing bowl that automatically expands as you put more things in it. But that also adds a lot of cost and complexity. It’s probably a lot easier for the customer just to grab the right size bowl to make a cake.

It also depends on how much control you may need in a situation. Do you want the customer or another person making the change? Look back at the happy hour example. You could create a cash register that automatically adjusts the price of drinks based on the time of day. The bartender wouldn’t have to think about. You would have complete control over the prices throughout the day.

Passive, active, and automatic. That’s three ways to give your customers very cool products with the Attribute Dependency technique.

Innovation Sighting: Adjustable Airline Seats

Adjustable seatsHere's a nice example of the Attribute Dependency Technique, one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It's a great tool to make products and services that are "smart." They adjust and learn, then adapt their performance to suit the needs of the user. Attribute Dependency accounts for the majority of innovative products and services, according to research conducted by my co-author, Dr. Jacob Goldenberg.

From Fox News:

The airline legroom wars may finally be coming to an end.

Engineering firm B/E Aerospace has filed a patent for a “legroom adjustable” seat design that allows flight attendants to move a seat forward or back depending on the size of a passenger, reports the Telegraph.

The seats, which all have moveable wheels, sit on rail tracks lining the aircraft floor. If a taller man or woman is seated in front of a child, for example, the cabin crew will have the ability to move an occupant’s seat several inches back via smartphone or tablet, allowing for extra legroom.

“While passengers come in many sizes, children, adolescents, adults, men, women and with large height differentials within these categories, seat spacing in the main cabin of passenger aircraft is generally uniform except at exit rows,” the designers stated in their patent application, submitted in November.

“The one size fits all seating arrangement can cause discomfort for tall passengers, while a child or relatively small adult may be seated in an identical seat at the seat pitch, with more than ample leg room and in relative comfort.”

The legroom adjustable seat, however, leaves the final spatial arrangement to the discretion of crewmembers, not individual passengers.

“Even a relatively small incremental increase in seat spacing for the tall passengers can provide additional comfort with no loss of comfort to the much smaller passengers seated in front of the tall passengers,” B/E Aerospace said.

To get the most out of the Attribute Dependency Technique, follow these steps:

1. List internal/external variables.

2. Pair variables (using a 2 x 2 matrix)

  • Internal/internal
  • Internal/external

3. Create (or break) a dependency between the variables.

4. Visualize the resulting virtual product.

5. Identify potential user needs.

6. Modify the product to improve it.

Innovation Training and More From LinkedIn

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  •     What is innovation?
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